The holiday season really is the most wonderful time of the year, and part of what makes it even more wonderful is the annual Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest. This past weekend was my second year attending and I’m already counting down the days until next year and vowing to go to even more of the events. It’s the sort of thing I almost don’t want to share because I love how intimate it is and tickets already sell out super fast. If you are looking for a festival that has bang for your buck, the coolest celeb chefs, and finger lickin’ food. keep reading. disclaimer: not all food is eaten off of bodies as pictured above.
When I went to the festival in 2015, I bought a 4-pack of events which allowed me to get 20% off. I thought this was a great deal, and I really regret only going to two events this year. Prices went up a bit this year and ranged from $75 to $175, but I really do think you get a good bang for your buck. Each event has free-flowing alcohol and tons of food. Last year I attended the Chef’s Welcome Party at the Breakers. If you have been to the Breakers, you know that there is no hotel that does holiday decorations better. This event was nice and stately, but a little subdued. I also went to Late Night Rock. Honestly wish I had a blog back then because that shiz was hilarious. It was celebrity chefs like Marc Murphy and Jeff Mauro tipsily belting out karaoke at a small, dark room at the Four Seasons–I can assure you it was just as weird and amazing as it sounds. It felt like there were only about 40 of us there, and my friend and I felt like we were the only ones not “in the biz” but we could not have had a better time. That event is less food-centric, but such a good time. Next up we had Street Foods, which was lively and so great because tons of chefs like George Mendes, Ken Oringer and Linsday Autry were cooking up their own version of Street Food and at the end a winner was announced based on audience votes. Lastly, we went to the Daniel and Friends brunch at the Brazilian Court-home to Daniel’s Cafe Boulud. This event is gorgeous. I really can’t recommend it enough. There is amazing charcuterie, the best drinks of the festival, an beautiful atmosphere and the legend himself, Mr. Boulud. When I went last year, Mike Lata was also serving up a great twist on some food from his Charleston restaurant, FIG.
Now on to this year. Our first event was at the Eau Palm Beach for the Rise N’ Dine Breakfast. The Eau is gorgeous, which is understandable since it used to be a Ritz Carlton.
Sadly the weather was not too cooperative, but it didn’t stop the chefs from braving the wind. I was really excited to see Georgio Rapicavoli and Jose Mendin, because I’ve been dying to try their restaurants in Miami. They both did their own twist on french toast: Georgio’s was like a riff on the Abuela Maria icecream from Azucar (get that if you haven’t yet) and Jose’s had foie gras and was one of the prettier things I have ever eaten.
The festival always has great sponsors. For example Stoli was sponsoring, so the vodka drinks, like this bloody mary were great.
I think its worth emphasizing that part of what makes this festival so great is how hands-on the chefs are. They aren’t just there to be a pretty face and are actually in their cooking up the food you eat! I know this shouldn’t be ground-breaking and I don’t have many other festivals to compare it to, but it’s my understanding that this is not how it goes down at others. The chefs are gracious and it’s clear they are doing what they love in the beautiful environment that is south Florida in the winter. I also think it’s telling that so many of the chefs and attendees say that the Palm Beach Food and Wine Fest is their favorite festival to attend.
Our second and last event, was a late night party at Imoto. It is sushi spot owned by local chef Clay Conley. You can thank them for the sushi girl pictured above. The feminist part of me was offended by how sexist this was, but shamefully I snapchatted her anyway. Damn you free-flowing alcohol! This event was super chill and seemed like a swank after party–and again the chefs were just mingling. I fangirled and got a photo with Adam Richman. I asked him his favorite dessert he’s ever eaten, which didn’t go over too well and started to wax poetic about life and what really matters. I wasn’t expecting this, but I really appreciated his realness and it’s a great reminder that everyone is just human. I mean duh, but you know what I mean. (also he ended up saying it was the peanut butter pie at Moonshine in Austin, TX just fyi)
Next year I can’t wait to try one of the sit down dinners, because that is the only style of event I haven’t tried yet and the food (based on my instagram stalking) looks insane. I also promise more high quality events..my camera died halfway through breakfast!
Til next year PBFWF!
- Have you ever been to a food festival you loved?