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Raise Your Glasses To The 2010 SoBe Food And Wine Festival

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University (FIU), the festival benefits FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. To date, the Festival has raised over $8 million for the School. In 2011, the Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary and will commemorate it with the release of Festival Director, Lee Brian Schrager’s book, Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, Fall 2010), in collaboration with Julie Mautner.
The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine began as a one-day festival known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus from 1997 to 2001. In 2002, Lee Brian Schrager, director of Special Events and Media Relations at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, took the reigns of the one-day festival and brought his vision for the festival to life by relocating it to South Beach. The renamed South Beach Wine & Food Festival attracted close to 7,000 guests to a series of dinners, seminars and a Grand Tasting and Live Auction in its first year. The following year, the festival grew, attracting close to 10,000 people and garnered extensive national media coverage. In 2004, with the addition of a number of events and a revamping of the program, the festival doubled in size and attracted more than 20,000 guests to the three-day event.
In 2006, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary and became one of the largest and most well-known festivals of its kind in the country. During the planning of the 2007 festival, Food Network entered into partnership with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to become its title sponsor. The resulting Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine combines the international appeal of top-quality libations from around the world, the national appeal of the Food Network and its celebrity chefs and hosts, and the appeal of Latin and Caribbean-inspired regional cuisine.
The 2009 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival attracted close to 50,000 guests over four days and garnered an unprecedented amount of media coverage. The Festival earned over 1.7 billion media impressions through its integrated marketing and public relations plan. Fall 2009 also marked the second annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure under the direction of Festival founder and director, Lee Brian Schrager who created the sister event in New York City.
The 2010 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine will take place Thursday, February 25 – Sunday, February 28. Some of the industry’s most recognized and respected principals will again converge on Miami Beach to entertain and educate thousands of guests while creating unique opportunities for the students of FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management to gain invaluable hands-on experience through their participation in the festival.

Culinary Profile – Marcus Samuelsson

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment


At the age of 38, Marcus Samuelsson has received more accolades than many chefs receive in a lifetime. A graduate of the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, Samuelsson apprenticed in Switzerland, Austria, France and the U.S. In 1995 he was hired as Aquavit’s Executive Chef. Just 3 months later, Aquavit received a three-star review from The New York Times. Samuelsson was honored with the James Beard Foundation Award for ‘Rising Star Chef’ in 1999 and ‘Best Chef, New York’ in 2003. He was also celebrated as one of “The Great Chefs of America” by The Culinary Institute of America.

Samuelsson has been featured in numerous national publications and television programs. Samuelsson is also the co-founder and chief creative director of Townhouse Restaurant Group, a restaurant management and consulting company with projects in the US and Europe, including New York City’s Riingo, AQ Kafé, August as well as Chicago’s C-House and Marc Burger. He is the author of four successful cookbooks, including Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine (2003), Aquavit c/o New York (2004), En Smakresa med Marcus Samuelsson (2002), and Street Food (2004). His cookbook, The Soul of a New Cuisine – A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa, was released in October 2006, and has received accolades from publications such as The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post, and winning ‘Best International Cookbook’ from the James Beard Foundation in 2007. In 2007, Samuelsson became the first chef to collaborate with Starbucks coffee, delivering bakery items and coffee blends.

Samuelsson serves on the Board of Directors of Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), and is an ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In 2005, Samuelsson was appointed Visiting Professor of International Culinary Science at the Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts, and received an honorary degree from Johnson & Wales University as Doctor of Culinary Arts in 2006.

My Fantasy Football Dilema Diva Style

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment


I interrupt my regular scheduled blog post, to bring to you the most self-serving victory speech, that I has ever seen published south of the equator since Cuba Gooding, Jr. accepted his Oscar years ago. I say this because, any guy who challenges me “the chosen one” – on anything humor and/or sports deserves an Oscar himself. And if my comment was not self-serving enough, this brings me to the point of why I am writing this blog post. If you are a “hater at heart”, then feel free to read aloud.

This blog post has long been overdue, due to my time restrictions these days, but finally, I have now managed to squeeze sometime between work, NBA season, winter games, golf and motherhood to pen this scribe. First and foremost, I must send shout outs to all my co-workers, who participated in the 2009 Fantasy Football League. From my prior blog post discussing a certain evil Fantasy Football owner, that same guy has managed to win out the regular season and playoff to become “the champion”. So the hater that I am, having suffered the worse loss in FFL ever , I donated the trophy to show some goodwill and wrote the speech to present the Champ, with his award for being Fantasy Football’s “Chosen One”. However, “Champ” had the audacity to rub our noses in the losses, eluding to my ultimate demise. So I raise him my demise and he topped it with the thank you speech that follows. So without further humiliation, I must reveal my name as “4/3Diva” and take this tongue lashing like a Diva:
ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:
Thank You guys! Thank you so much … we did it! And your superior recognition for true athleticism in an unbeatable franchise is greatly appreciated. I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to me and my players. We began this season as the underdogs and much to everyone’s surprise (except my own of course), we emerged victorious.
I must say guys; it was a long and winding road. However it got real exciting; especially approaching the bottleneck for playoffs. While others were scrambling to clinch wildcard positions, we were cruising through – gaining victory after victory with the wind in our sails and defeat in our rear view. My players – some tired, some injured; some took serious shots to their egos after making a number of bonehead plays; and others played exceptionally well from beginning to end. You know who you are … Nonetheless; they all stuck in there with me. In the end, our hard work, tireless efforts and of course my unique, uncontested and highly successful coaching techniques ultimately paid off … we emerged yet again an unstoppable winning force.
But all in all, it was a great season. Surprisingly though, the trash talks weren’t that much different in the locker than they were in the office. The level of competitiveness was amazing! It managed to erupt from the hearts and mouths of those that I first mistook as meek; nonetheless it remained healthy.
The 4/3 haters (… clears throat … Divas) undoubtedly helped to make this a memorable and unforgettable season. Perhaps it was mostly due to their threats and off-field antics as opposed to their demonstration of team leadership and effective coaching techniques. What they lacked in organization, calculation and field goal executions they definitely made up for with a horrible record and countless empty promises for next season. But much thanks to the 4/3 merely because they provided my guys with ample fuel to crush them with every opportunity. I’d also like to say … In the event there are any representatives of the 4/3 Divas sprinkled about in attendance, please … do blog about that.
The Miami Money Makers were straight shooters from the very beginning. I got nothing but love for that team. If there was a team and/or coach I was willing to take under my wing and mentor, this would be them – just filled with class and unprecedented potential. Their profound knowledge and interest for the game was astonishing. However, I’m convinced the off-field company they kept this year proved to be their downfall.
Stomp Ass … well; what can I say? I guess all I can say is thanks. I think those guys predicted their future even before the season began. They definitely got their a$$3$ stomped! All talk and no trousers those guys. See you next year.
Now if intimidation won games, these guys would be nothing short of champions. But since that’s not how it works on the field; I think Laces Out chances would’ve been a much better team had they played with their laces in; but that’s just my opinion. The good ol’ Land Sharks played like a team … like a team of Sea turtles swimming backward in a rabbit race. … Always bet on Boynton guys!
… the Fighting Lawn Ornaments? (Snicker) … yeah right. Come on guys!
Seriously though, there were plenty of good teams and a number of solid plays out there this season; we just played better and managed to come out on top. Again we want to thank you for this award and the honor that accompanies it … and we look forward to yet another fun and healthy season next year! Lace up guys! Thanks Again!

My Personal Note To Tiger Woods – In Light Of His Pending Statement

February 18, 2010 2 comments

Dear Tiger:

A little birdie told me that you will declare yourself transgression-free on Friday and speak out after your post-Thanksgiving ordeal. A fiasco you have crafted for yourself. But I must interrupt your little pity party for a quick public service announcement – preempting your pending controlled press release, news conference or self-serving news statement, media manipulation or whatever the hell you might call it.
If I must Mr. Woods, tell you about yourself before this news broadcast, I might as well tell you, while I am at this, that your philandering saga is the biggest public relations nightmare since Pete Rose was charged with gambling, since Magic announced he was infected with the AIDS virus, since Wilt opened his black book and since Roger Clemens took B12. You have been and are no longer afforded to control the media, decide what questions are asked, force people to think you are a saint, self-proclaim that you are private and give the “caddy steer” to annoying fans.
When this story went public and viral, I was enjoying my life having my post Thanksgiving dessert and left-overs. Can’t say that I thought that you would have ruin life for every married or single guy in the world with the unthinkable transgressions, sending men worldwide huddling to find a new hero and a novel theory on relationship for years to come.
So the audacity that you would have had, not to even consult with skilled and qualified professionals, who could have advised you not to pursue the “holier than thou” mode, but instead to apologize, admit and move on. You have hurt fans, your family and must I say your sponsors. Not that I care Tiger about your personal life, not that I care that you are always south on social issues, not that I care that you do not acknowledge your history and what you have done to young boys and girls, who you claim to support through your foundation. For god’s sake you are way above par on this one.
Your discretion and judgment off the field has nothing to do with my business, but if you, for one minute believe that this public scrutiny goes away with your carefully crafted and legally seared statements on your website or your robotic statements, then you are of the impression that golf fans are crazy or stupid.
So tomorrow, when you step to the podium, reach for your inner soul, that’s if you have one, speak from your heart, even Mike Vick managed to have done so. Admit that you are wrong, ask for continued privacy for your family, and say you will do something about the hurt you have caused. Look into the camera and speak the truth for once. Field questions from the press, because remember they helped you up and will break you down, be human, thank your wife even for her patience and apologize to your kids. Some dos and don’ts for you Mr. Woods, golf should not be at the fore front of this discussion, don’t forget about the word “healing”, ego should be eliminated from your persona, do try to smile and speak warm to your audience – millions will be watching and for god’s sake remember you are human so please show some remorse.

Joey Porter – Player Determined of Labba-Mouth

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Oh yes, I am a proud resident of the suburbs in Miami, I am believe that is an honor to live here. One may ask the billion dollar question though – am I a Miami Dolphins fan or even a Miami Heat fan? And to those who must know I am not. Somehow I find it in my heart to be a patriotic, flag carrying-buy-American activist, but for some reason, I am not digging the home teams. Maybe it’s that fact that the Dolphins treated a couple of my favorite players (like Mark Clayton, Mark Duper and Daunte Culpepper) with the cold gloves, and henceforth the commencement of my hateration.
So fast forward long after the Marks are gone, I still have no new love for the home NFL team. Of late they are like a thorn in the local fans’ side, as they have a bunch of “not so much” players sporting the Dolphins’ teal during the season. Which leads me to the “on again off again linebacker” Joey Porter. This specimen of a linebacker or so he thinks, is the most persistent loud-mouth and in your face player I have ever seen. He complains more than he needs to and even whines when he was benched during the season, for his less than stellar performance. Of late he has been demanding a trade or if he stays, he wants to be a starter. Tough luck buddy, word from the wise, Joey, there is no collective bargaining agreement in place and you are not so young yourself.
What the heck are you doing lobbying to every media person that will listen to your sad story, telling than that you only spoke to your head coach on Sundays and has not spoken to the Big Tuna (Bill Parcells) since November? Maybe you should do less talking and more listening to the noise all around you. The Dolphins, Joey did not make the playoff again for the one millionth time and you were on the bench during some of the wins and losses.
Porter who has been a solid player in Miami, stuck with them team through that unfortunate 2007 season and helped turn them around in 2008, but when all is said and done he might be remember more for what came out of his mouth than anything he did on the field.
In some respects I am sure fans would be sad to see Porter go, but it’s ugly to watch someone putting himself through such public ordeal, putting the “I” in TEAM, the fans, and the city the Dolphins represent. So Joey, take my advice, hire war room staff to do the mud slinging, heck get your agent to be the mouth piece, because that entire public outcry will get you nowhere fast in an uncapped year.

My Armchair Pre-Game Speech To The Colts

February 7, 2010 1 comment

After 17 weeks of blood sweat and tears, there have been injuries, questions, commentary and even wagers of why we should not have been here. My thanks to the team’s effort, gut checks, focus, brotherhood and even sisterhood (for moms, wives, girlfriends, personal assistants, trainers). We have proven to the nah-sayers that we are the only choice from the AFC.

So today, we must look at each other, play schemes together, fight together and build unity together. Today, we are here to win. This is a legacy, this going to be legendary and must be our course of action. As winner is a fighter, someone who has failed, someone who has lost, someone who overcame the odds. There are no losers here, there are only soldiers, survivors of injury, overcomers of doubt, believers and doers.
Failure is defeat, it’s a limit, incompleteness, procrastination, deferment, inability to sustain and falling without getting up. So today my team, my brothers, my family, my warriors and my friends, we mus execute under pressure, manage sixty minutes, rely on each other, sustain the blitz and wood-laying defense and capitalize on errors. Remain humble throughout, affect your purpose for being here and just win dam it.

NFL Hall Of Fame Called An Incomplete Pass For Shannon Sharpe

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Someone asked me yesterday to give my picks for the NFL Hall of Fame, I chose Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Russ Grimm, John Randall as my sure picks, and was still undecided about anyone else. When the selections were made late Saturday, Shannon Sharpe was not among the finalists.

While watching the post announcement coverage, I could not help but wonder – why not Shannon Sharpe. So I started to think back about Sharpe’s illustrious career. My thought was, if Sharpe was not selected in this year’s Hall of Fame then no other Tight End will before he goes in. After all Sharpe was an eight time probowler, a four-time Associated Press First-team All-Pro selection. Sharpe finished his career with over 200 games, 815 receptions, 62 TDs and 100,060 yards. If for no other reason he should have been selected for his thrash talking, leadership and courage. But I would love to say congratulations to Shannon Sharpe for his contribution to the National Football League and to sports in general. Maybe next year buddy. And so as a treat, I close out with a few famous quotes from the loud mouth one himself:

“I’ve got a better chance of winning the Kentucky Derby on the back of a donkey than they have of winning the Super Bowl with Kyle Boller.” “I’d put up with any distraction they could bring because of the upside. You can’t argue with the touchdowns. I’m sure a lot of GMs would say they wouldn’t want those guys because they might disrupt chemistry in the locker room. And those GMs would be lying.” –

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