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posts tagged ‘south beach’

SOBEWFF 2013: Getting to Know Giada De Laurentiis

Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 10:02 PM - Posted by Megan - (3) comments

giada de laurentiisBeautiful, successful, talented, funny and down-to-earth. They say you can’t have it all, but Italian culinary icon Giada De Laurentiis sure seems to come close. And whether playing the role of wife, mom, chef, host, spokeswoman, mentor, cookbook author, TV star or pasta perfecter, the sexy Food Network starlet manages to make it all look effortless.

Last Friday during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, I had the pleasure of sitting down one-on-one with Giada at Miami’s Casa Tua restaurant, before her ‘Italian in Paradise’ dinner event. She candidly shared details of her incredibly busy life and dished about cooking at home with her family, embarrassing moments, common misconceptions and more.

I’ve seen you at at all these food festivals, in NY, LA, everywhere — what makes SOBEWFF so special?

It’s the first food festival I ever did. Lee Schrager, years ago, took a chance on me and brought me to the festival. He said “let’s try you out, do one demo, we’ll see what the crowd says and we’ll figure it out. I have a good feeling about this.” Oh, I was so nervous. And Alton Brown, who I am good friends with now, at the time had some sort of conflict and wasn’t able to attend. So, Lee had me cover for him and all of a sudden I went from having one demo to three demos. I was terrified! But I just remember having the best time ever even though nothing went right—I couldn’t even get my water to boil because of the crosswind on the beach, so I kinda just did a Q&A. Even though it was the scariest, it actually ended up being the best. I feel like it all started here, and I have a really close connection to South Beach because of it.

 
What do you cook at home, when the cameras are off?

I make a lot of things that my daughter and husband like to eat because they are my favorite people to cook for. My daughter is a big pasta fan, so lately we’ve been making stuffed pastas, a lot of homemade raviolis, and pizzas too. She’s into anything in a ball shape—meatballs, burgers… she’s been grilling a lot with my husband. And lately, mac ‘n’ cheese cupcakes. She is in love with cupcakes, so instead of sweet cupcakes, we’ve been doing savory ones. My daughter, Jade, eats depending on her mood. She knows what she wants and when she wants it.

 
Other than Italian food, what types of cuisines do you like to cook and eat?

I’ve been cooking a lot more Greek food, and have been playing with Indian food too. And Thai food! My husband, Todd, is a huge Thai fan. And I just went to Thailand in December to shoot my show, so I’ve sort of come up with all these new Thai recipes. I brought a bunch of spices back with me, things that I don’t usually cook with, so I’ve just been experimenting and trying out dishes. It’s been a lot of fun to explore these new flavors.

 
What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you on TV?

The first time I ever did live television was on The Today Show, maybe 10 years ago when my first cookbook came out, and I made a grilled chicken breast with spinach and basil pesto. I was on the air with Al and Matt and there was also a food stylist on set. So I’m having a conversation with Al, but out of the corner of my eye, I see Matt cut into a chicken breast and I thought to myself, “that chicken doesn’t look cooked.” It had grill marks on it, but the food stylist never finished cooking it! Matt put the chicken in his mouth and realized it was raw. He ran off set to spit it out in the trash, of course the cameras followed him, and he came back and said “Giada tried to poison me! She will never, ever work on TV again.” I almost died! I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not, since I wasn’t used to him or his humor. I was horrified.

But that appearance got me a correspondent role on the show and I’ve been there ever since. Sometimes when you think of a disaster, it actually ends up being the best thing in the world. You just never know in life.

 
If you could cook a dream meal for one person, who would it be and what would you make?

Marilyn Monroe. I find her fascinating. It’s amazing to me that someone who died so many years ago could still be such an icon. And I kinda just wanna know what her secret was, what was going on in her head. I’d probably make her a nice creamy vodka sauce since I know she liked her vodka, serve it with a good bottle of wine and probably some chocolatey, luscious strawberry dessert. Sexy, romantic, sumptuous and sensual, like Marilyn.

 
If you weren’t a celebrity chef, what career would you want?

I probably would work in politics somehow. Or maybe be a CIA agent or something, I’m fascinated by people that can live in such secrecy.

 
But since you are such a public figure, what’s something most people don’t know about you?

I think people think that I am just so perfect all the time. Ya know, I’m more spontaneous than people think I am. And something I’ve been working on for years is to not use my potty mouth so much. I tend to speak a certain kind of language that I probably should not. And people that know me well say to me, “how can those words come out of that face!? How is it possible?” Hey, I’m working on it.

 
If you had to be stuck in a kitchen with one of your Food Network Star co-mentors, Bobby or Alton, who would you choose and why?

First reaction — Bobby. But, truly, I’d pick each one of them for different reasons. Bobby would have my back and and he’s a great chef. Alton, on the other hand, would make me laugh. He has such a witty personality, so he’d probably be more entertaining in the kitchen, but I don’t think he has the skill set that Bobby has. Alton thinks he has the skill that Bobby has, but he doesn’t. So they both would bring very different things to the kitchen.

 
What would you want for your last meal?

My last meal would be a seven layer chocolate fudge cake. I am such a chocoholic and if I could just eat cakes and sugar and chocolate for the rest of my life, I would. It’s my first choice, always and forever.

 
Grazie, Giada! It was an absolute pleasure chatting with you.

Follow @GDeLaurentiis on Twitter to keep up with all things Giada, including exciting new projects and shows, two children’s storybooks she’s putting out in September and a new cookbook in December.

 
Image courtesy of Food Network

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SOBEWFF’s Salute to Swine & Wine at The Biltmore

Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 02:03 PM - Posted by Megan - (2) comments

On SOBEWFF‘s last day, a smokin’ hot new event made its mark on the weekend lineup. Hosted by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos from the Cooking Channel’s hit show Extra Virgin, the Festival’s first ever Swine & Wine took over The Biltmore Hotel‘s elegant outdoor courtyard. This swine-celebrating evening soiree brought together more than a dozen celebrated chefs who served their tastiest version of whole roasted pig.

Each pit master spent the day preparing all natural, farm-raised Duroc and Hampshire breed hogs using a variety of techniques. Whether smoked, stuffed, roasted, glazed or rubbed down, succulent pork was spotlighted and paired with a selection of sides, wines and heavy-handed mojitos.

  1. Cooking Channel\'s sassy married duo Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar shared their love of Miami\'s weather, food and culture. \"I\'m a Cuban wannabe at heart,\" Mazar exclaimed.
  2. The beautiful and historic Biltmore Hotel in the heart of Coral Gables, Florida
  3. SOBEWFF\'s first ever Swine & Wine event at the Biltmore\'s spacious outdoor courtyard
  4. Barbuto\'s Jonathan Waxman sliced up swine for his luscious blood orange & avocado pork tacos
  5. Chef Marc Murphy and his team served up succulent Southern-style stuffed porchetta
  6. Marc Murphy\'s tasty porchetta was bursting with flavorful cornbread & andouille stuffing
  7. Seamus Mullen kept it simple and let the swine shine—resulting of one the day\'s best dishes
  8. Seamus Mullen\'s incredibly juicy smoked Berkshire pork jowl & whole suckling pig plate
  9. Chef Michael White\'s savory porchetta tigelle with pesto di lardo and salsa verde
  10. Gabriele Corcos embraced his Italian roots with a Tuscan-style pig sandwich
  11. Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar\'s Tuscan porchetta sandwich with fresh arugula & tomatoes
  12. Aww...this little piggy got all dressed up for the party
  13. Slow-roasted cochinita pibil from Food Network\'s \"Mexican Made Easy\" host Marcela Valladolid
  14. Ingrid Hoffmann\'s pulled pork taco with guava salsa negra & pickled mustard seeds was the crowd\'s favorite dish. Simply delicioso!

Representing six of the fourteen tasting stations, New York chefs had a strong showing at the swine showdown. Nick Anderer dished out tender Maialino al Forno, Marc Murphy carved up Southern-style porchetta stuffed with cornbread and andouille, and Michael White presented porchetta tigelle with pesto di lardo and salsa verde. Seamus Mullen smoked juicy Berkshire pork jowl and whole suckling pig, while Yuhi Fujinaga paired suckling pig with heirloom bean casoullet, morcilla dip and chicharrón, and Jonathan Waxman rolled out tangy blood orange pig tacos with creamy avocado.

In between savory bites, the crowd enjoyed the Biltmore’s dessert buffet, puffed Padron and La Flor Dominicana cigars, danced to live Latin beats from the Chirino Sisters and voted for their favorite pork dish. In the end, celebrichef Ingrid HoffmannMiami restaurateur and host of Food Network’s Simply Delicioso—snagged the coveted crown for her savory-meets-sweet mini pulled pork tacos with guava salsa negra and pickled mustard seeds.

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2012 Burger Bash: Michael Symon for the Three-Peat!

Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 05:02 PM - Posted by Megan - (1) comment

“It’s all about the meat on meat, baby!” exclaimed Michael Symon as he proudly displayed his second People’s Choice Award trophy during last year’s 2011 SOBEWFF Burger Bash. A year later, his meat mixing mastery has paid off again.

On Friday, the B Spot chef was named crowd winner of the 2012 Amstel Light Burger Bash for the third year in a row—ultimately surprising guests, the judges, and especially friendly rival Bobby Flay.

“This year, we ground the bacon right into the burger meat,” said Symon of his winning Porky Burger — a bacon-speckled ground pork patty topped with pulled pork and slaw, with crispy pork cracklings on the side.

One of the most popular events of the Festival, the annual “best between the bun” throwdown hosted by Rachael Ray drew dozens of top name chefs and Food Network personalities from around the country to cook up their best burger creations. Thousands of attendees gathered into a massive Miami beachfront tent to nosh on a whopping amount of burgers and sides, sip Amstel Light and vote for their favorite patty. 

  1. 2012 Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Allen Brothers Steaks and Diet Pepsi
  2. Bacon cheeseburgers from NYC\'s The Little Owl topped with Guss\' Half Sour Pickles
  3. Thousands of burger fans swarmed into the warmly lit beachside Burger Bash tent
  4. Guy Fieri amps up the crowd to vote for his \"Straight‐Up with a Pig Patty\" burger
  5. Smokey BBQ burger with homemade sweet \'n\' spicy pickles from Rachael Ray
  6. Rachael Ray swings by the Amstel Light booth to greet Fatty \'Cue\'s chef Zak Pelaccio
  7. Frrrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3 provided a perfectly sweet post-meat treat
  8. Festival founder Lee Schrager and host Rachael Ray address the burger-loving crowd
  9. Heinz presented Triple D\'s Guy Fieri with the Best Dressed Burger Award. Off da hook!
  10. Whisk scored the Golden Grill Award for having the highest quality meat on the beach
  11. Whisk\'s delicious crispy shallot, bacon and swiss rendition scored judge\'s choice of the night
  12. Three-peat! A shocked Michael Symon is People\'s Choice Winner for the third year in a row
  13. Michael Symon\'s winning Porky burger with bacon, pulled pork and slaw (image via YumSugar)
  14. B Spot chef Michael Symon revels in sweet victory after his big Burger Bash win. Congrats!

There were 32 different burgers in all — more than enough to satisfy even the hungriest carnivores. Josh Capon (Burger & Barrel) put a sweet and savory spin on his with onion and bacon jam, shaved pickles and secret sauce, while Angelo Sosa (Social Eatz) spiced things up with his Korean-inspired bulgogi burger. The Meatball Shop guys impressed during their Bash debut with a chili-flavored cheddar and caramelized onion version, and the Amstel Light-sponsored Fatty ‘Cue patty from Zak Pelaccio was also a favorite—succulent lamb meat with salted chilis and rye barrel aged worcestershire.

Surprisingly, beloved burger joint Shake Shack switched up their classic Shack Burger for an American and applewood smoked bacon-topped beef patty slathered with pepper relish and Shack Sauce. Not surprisingly, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray drew the biggest fan mobs.

Event judges Gail Simmons, Emeril Lagasse, Marc Murphy and Susie Fogelson picked the crispy shallot, bacon and swiss burger from Whisk for the Golden Grill Award, and Guy Fieri snagged the Heinz Best Dressed Award for topping his bacon patty with thick tomato, onion rings and oozy “donkey sauce.” Many congrats to all the participants — this year’s Bash was juicier than ever!

Check out the complete 2012 Burger Bash menu here and additional Burger Bash coverage: 2011 SOBEWFF, 2011 NYCWFF

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