The festival returns to Miami Beach February 24-27 with 92 classes, tastings, dinners, parties, and brunches to choose from, including events hosted by Eva Longoria, Dwayne Wade, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and model Behati Prinsloo.
Once again, this year’s net proceeds benefit Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
Last year’s festival was pushed to May owing to the pandemic. And while SOBEWFF 2022 signals a return to business as usual, founder Lee Brian Schrager safety protocols will remain in place.
“I said it a million times: Safety will remain our number-one priority,” Schrager tells New Times. “We’re still following up on things we did last year.”
Safety protocols for 2022 include digital health screenings for all guests, talent, staff, students, and working personnel and attestation of either a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to the event or completed vaccination; digital ticket scanning, sanitizing of venues, and decreased guest capacity at events. Masks and social distancing will be encouraged. Safety protocols will be modified if state and city guidelines change. (A complete rundown of all COVID procedures can be found here.)
Last year’s SOBEWFF got generally good reviews for its COVID policies and smaller crowds. Some marquee events — like Burger Bash and the Grand Tasting Village — were segmented into two sessions. In 2022, Burger Bash (hosted by Rachael Ray and José Andrés) will have two sessions on Friday evening, February 25. The Grand Tasting, however, will go back to being an all-day event.
“People felt they were missing out on seeing the talent they wanted to see,” Schrager says, “so we changed it back to one session per day.”
Events sure to sell out quickly: Sunset Happy Hour at the Beach Club at 1 Hotel South Beach and a dinner at Como Como in Miami Beach hosted by Maroon 5 rocker Adam Levine and his wife, model Behati Prinsloo. Both events will showcase Calirosa Tequila, a brand co-owned by the famous duo.
Guy Fieri will host a new event based on his Food Network show. On February 24, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives Live will give guests a taste of Fieri’s favorite comfort foods showcased on the show.
Fieri will also be feted as the man of honor at the annual tribute dinner. At the February 25 dinner at the Loews Miami Beach hotel, master of ceremonies José Andrés will also pay tribute to Bill and Peter Deutsch of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. Schrager acknowledges that the $500-a-plate event is a splurge but predicts “it will be the most fun dinner we’ll ever have.” (The festival founding father offers a tip for those on a budget: Buy a ticket to the afterparty, hosted by Fieri and Rev Run. “The tickets are $95 and all the celebrity chefs will be there.”)
Other standout new events: an Asian Night Market on February 24, hosted by Jet Tila and Aarti Sequeira; a fashion show and lunch at Bal Harbour Shops hosted by Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian on February 25; and a cocktail-making class at Sweet Liberty on February 26.
With nearly 100 different events to choose from packed into only four days, not even Schrager will be able to make it to all of them. When asked which ones he doesn’t want to miss, he didn’t hesitate.
“I would go to Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives event on Thursday, and Tacos and Tequila on Saturday because I love tacos. Then I would go to the Southern Kitchen Sunday Brunch hosted by Trisha Yearwood, and the Carbone Sunday Supper. I think they’re going to be great.”
It’s always hard to choose, Schrager adds. “There’s literally something for everyone this year, from a sourdough-making class to a Shabbat dinner to intimate wine tastings.”
South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Thursday, February 24, through Sunday, February 27, 2022, at various locations. Tickets cost $15 to $500 at sobewff.org.