Thursday 9 April, 2020

South Beach Wine & Food Festival: Jamaica ready to shine in Miami

A number of Jamaicans are on the line-up for the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

A number of Jamaicans are on the line-up for the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

The mandate is simple – eat, drink, educate at the 2020 iteration of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival - which is slated to take place at the National Hotel, Miami Beach this weekend.

The annual food and drink inclusive gastronomic event kicked off yesterday with a private dinner at Steak 954 in Fort Lauderdale.

But in the line-up of international culinary personalities is a cadre of Jamaican regulars ready to showcase their skills for the #TasteJamaica event today (February 21) between 8 and 10.30 pm –a two-and-a-half-hour-long foodie affair dedicated to The Rock.

In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism’s Gastronomy Network, the Tourism Enhancement Fund aims to “position Jamaica as a gastronomy destination,” much like Peru, Miami, Thailand and all the places that people travel to for food globally.

Patrons are in for a treat, as 16 Jamaica-connected personalities get ready to “dish up a second taste of the islands at The National Hotel”.

The event will be hosted by award-winning chefs JJ Johnson and Andre Fowles.

JJ Johnson is a James Beard Award-winning chef of FieldTrip fame in Harlem, NY, while Fowles is the acclaimed Appleton Estate Premier Rums ‘Rumbassador’, current culinary ambassador for Jamaican Cuisine, and owner of Everything Food in New York.

Patrons should be prepared to enjoy “signature jerk preparations to saltfish, ackee, breadfruit, roti, and more!”

Let’s break down the numbers:

  • 65,000 - the number of guests SOBEWFF attracts annually
  • 100+ - the number of events held during SOBEWFF
  • 21 - the day the #TasteJamaica takes place
  • 19 - the number of times SOBEWFF has been held
  • 15 - the number of Jamaican culinary personalities on show
  • 8 - the time #TasteJamaica goes live at the National Hotel, Miami
  • 5 - the number of days spanning the weekend event, starting February 19 - 23

All the chefs on the line up are:

Charissa Henry-Skyers

Christina Simonitsch

Samantha Davis-Allonce

Cindy Hutson

Kalisa Martin

Oji Jaja

Geoff Lee

Delius Shirley

Hugh Sinclair

Andre Fowles

Joseph Johnson

Winston Grant

Dennis Kerr

Matthew McDonald

Wenford Patrick Simpson

“We happen to have a gem in our cuisine, maybe from our history and the mix of nations that make us out of many, one people.”

Wallace believes from cocoa to coffee and ginger, Jamaica is “well endowed with outstanding brands and products.”

“Even if we didn’t have beaches,” he stated, “we could use gastronomy as a tourism pull”.

With this in mind, the tourism ministry aims to “bombard the global culinary space with images of Jamaica’s gastronomy”.

SOBEWFF is one such iconic calendar gastronomic event.

According to the SOBEWFF’s info page, the SOBEWFF “features internationally renowned talent and leaders of the hospitality industry at uniquely crafted events showcasing world-class wine, spirits, food, and fun.”

The 19th annual edition of the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival is presented by Capital One (SOBEWFF).

SOBEWFF is a national, star-studded destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.

All proceeds from the Festival benefit the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

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