Tickets go on sale today for the new, event-packed Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival.
Now in its fifth year, the festival grows from a one-night affair with local restaurants at 150 Worth Avenue, to celebrity chefs with dinners and events planned around Palm Beach.
We caught up with David Sabin, organizer, to talk about the new, bigger fest.
Jan Norris: You’ve made a big leap, from a one-night festival to a five-day event.
David Sabin: Well, I haven’t slept in weeks.
I could have never told you in February this is what I planned to do. It’s definitely overwhelming to orchestrate an event this size.
We felt, though it was time for it to grow. It fell into a run-of-the-mill food and wine event and we wanted it to stand out. It’s a way to celebrate Palm Beach County’s culinary scene and take it to a national level.
JN: You had help from New York?
Sabin: I thought of working with the James Beard Foundation – I have friends there- to put together a program that would interest them.
The fact that we’re doing a series of events changes the dynamics.
JN: How hard is it to plan something this big, especially over the summer when it’s tough to get the restaurants and chefs to commit to something in December?
DS: Conversations i started in February, people are just now responding to. It’s really started to morph in the last month. We’ll have another chef’s throwdown – we’re simulating a version of (the cooking show) Chopped. Scott Conant and Ingrid Hoffman of the Food Network will judge and emcee the throwdown.
JN: A number of chefs are on board to participate in dinners and the grand tasting, too?
DS: There are several exciting elements – John Mariani will be the honorary chairman of the event, and the James Beard Award winners dinners – Daniel Boulud, David Burke, Steven Stryiewski, Michael Schwartz – he’s doing a ‘beach bash’ kickoff with Darryl Moiles at the Four Seasons – and Michelle Bernstein cooking at great venues around town – The Breakers is participating, the Four Seasons, Cafe Boulud and Clay Conley at Buccan.
It’s really exciting. It’s going to give people a number of options to participate and get to know some of our culinary stars.
JN: One of the complains we heard as the fest grew last year was the crazy crowds and flow at the tasting at 150 Worth. How are you handling that?
DS: We’re limiting the ticket sales this year. It’s still going to be a walk-around tasting. It’s a great food and wine-pairing event.
JN: How do you get tickets?
DS: We’ve partnered with giltcity.com – and they’ll sell our tickets exclusively online.
Chefs on schedule
Here’s a brief list of the events with advance/door ticket prices.
Friday, Dec. 9 – Beach Bash at the Four Seasons – Chefs Michael Schwartz (Miami) and Darryl Moiles (The Four Seasons Palm Beach); $150/$200 – tickets limited.
Saturday, Dec. 10 – An evening with John Mariani at The Breakers – Chefs David Burke (NY), Scott Conant (the Food Network), John Deluchi (NY), Michael Schwartz (Miami) and Jeff Simms (The Breakers); $250 – advance tickets only; tickets limited.
Sunday, Dec. 11 – Cocktail Culture with Daniel at Cafe Boulud – Chefs Daniel Boulud and Jim Leiken (Palm Beach and NYC); $175/$225 – tickets limited.
Monday, Dec. 12 – Beard Down South – Friends of James Beard Benefit at Buccan – Chefs Clay Conley (Palm Beach), Steven Stryjewski (New Orleans), Dean Max (South Florida, Ohio), James and Julie Petrakis (Orlando); $150/$200 – tickets limited.
Tuesday, Dec. 13 – Grand Tasting at 150 Worth – Numerous restaurants participating from around the area. Tickets $150/$200 VIP – 100 tickets available; $75/$125 general admission – 300 tickets available.