South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Miami's yearly bacchanal for food lovers, is an illustrious event sponsored by the Food Network and Food & Wine Magazine. On the glittery shores of South Beach, an all-star cast of celebrity chefs mix and mingle in a line-up of events that range from celebrity volleyball tournaments off bustling Ocean Drive to Moet-soaked cocktail galas at the likes of Soho Beach House and the Fountainebleau.
One of TLK's favorite events of SOBEWFF (as it's called by fans and Twitter followers alike), is the annual Swine & Wine event, a celebration of the holy pig in all its flavorful glory, sponsored by Goya Foods and Pat LaFrieda Meats. This year, the tasting took place at the majestic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, far away from the fray of SoBe's hectic atmosphere. The perfect cap to a weekend of (over) indulgence, guests at the swank Swine & Wine had the opportunity to sample the swine-centered creations of 17 chefs from around the country, including local darlings Michelle Bernstein (who hosted the event, Michy's) Ingrid Hoffman, Douglas Rodriguez (Cuba on Ocean), and José Mendín (Pubelly), NYC chef Seamus Mullen (Tertulia), Napa and NYC's Brad Farmerie (The Thomas, Public), and one hot Real Housewife of Miami (Ana Quincoces) who can definitely cook! Her rum guava glazed pork sliders with crunchy plaintain chips got us back to her station for seconds...and thirds!
Many of the chefs used the beloved La Caja China, a wooden box that roasts various kinds of meat to fall-off-the-bone tenderness, to cook their protein. The result: pork perfection all around. But it was winner Ryan Neilson of Bongos Cuban Cafe, owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, who took the crown for his traditional take on lechón asado topped with crispy Spanish onions, and stole the title from last year's winner Ingrid Hoffman, who made a killer tequila-chipotle pulled pork bun.
TLK went behind the scenes at Swine & Wine with Martin Amado, our resident Miami talent, to talk to participating chefs about all things pork. From dishing on favorite flavor combinations to their particular offering for the evening, this is one swine-soaked recap you don't want to miss!