Chef-lebrities Add Spice and Turn up the Heat

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On February - 19 - 2009


Alexis Mincolla and Pauly Shore at Bella Rose. Photo by

Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Well, it’s here, so bring out the fat pants and schedule that gastric bypass and liver transplant for next week. For the eighth year in a row, The Food Network (the Playboy channel for foodies) takes over South Beach with a lineup of events and stars to rival Super Bowl weekend 2008. And while this town is no stranger to celebrity sightings, the festival brings a whole different breed of stars to South Beach, chef-lebrities.

The events drawing the largest number of celebs for your buck are bound to be the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village on Saturday and Sunday, Ocean Drive magazine’s February issue release party and Amstel Light Burger Bash tonight (Thursday), the Pierre Jouet Bubble Q on Friday, the Tribute Dinner honoring Emeril Lagasse on Saturday and Sunday’s Oscar Night America SoBe Style.

Thursday, you can spot Indian model-turned-Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, superstar chef Emeril Lagasse, along with Top Chefs Micah Edelstein and Howie Kleinberg, at Ocean Drive magazine’s February issue release party hosted by Niche Media President Jerry Powers at Area 31. Also tonight, Rachael Ray, the adorable, pint-sized kitchen marvel, famous for her 30 Minute Meals and quirky sense of humor, will be hosting the Amstel Light Burger Bash at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach. Other chef-lebrities expected at Burger Bash include Bobby Flay, known for his boyish good looks and talent for cooking a steak to perfection, local fave Michelle Bernstein, Rick Bayless, Spike Mendelsohn, Katie Lee Joel, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Schwartz. Later on, Food Network hottie Tyler Florence will host the Modern Luxury after party.
Bring your Havaianas and a hearty appetite to Bubble Q on the sand behind the Delano on Friday night, where sexy, self-taught judge Tom Colicchio, the “top” chef, will revel in the bacchanal, along with special guests Marcus Samuelsson, Clay Conley, Howie Kleinberg, Ilan Hall, Hung Huynh and Al Roker, to name a few.

At the Grand Tasting Village on Saturday, you can spot Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Ingrid Hoffman, Rocco Dispirito, Michael Chiarello, Michael Symon, Rick Bayless and Masaharu Morimoto. On Sunday, participating chefs include Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Sandra Lee, Ingrid Hoffman, The Neelys, Rocco Dispirito, Jose Andres, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon and Sunny Anderson.

To celebrate crowd- and palate-pleaser Emeril Lagasse’s legacy, the Loews Hotel will host a tribute dinner emceed by Martha Stewart, the SBW&FF Festival’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and close friend of Lagasse. Boisterous, fun-loving, orange-croc-wearing Food Network star Mario Batali will also be in the house, along with Norman Van Aken, Bobby Flay, Eric Ripert and Charlie Trotter.

The ubiquitous Bobby Flay, along with his wife, Law & Order: SVU actress Stephanie March, will host the Oscar Night America SoBe Style party benefiting the Miami Beach Film Society and Cinematheque at the Paris Theater on Sunday.

Bear in mind that this is only a partial/biased list; for a full rundown of where the chef-lebrities will be this weekend, visit sobewineandfoodfest.com.

The Age of Aquarius

The moon was in the seventh house at the Forge last Wednesday for the annual Aquarian party, to celebrate the birthdays of owner Shareef Malnik and BFF Pauly Shore, along with several other local Aquarians, including renowned photographer Iran Issa Khan. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Shore toasted Malnik, and led the singing of Happy Birthday, after which the birthday boys blew out the candles on the 40-pound cake.

Shore continued his birthday celebration at the FRESH, Ink. /Bella Rose “Bella Donna” party late on Saturday night, where he was very friendly with the staff, posing for photos and hanging with hosts Nick D’Annunzio, Jochy Ortiz and Alexis Mincolla.

Wilmer Valderrama celebrated his birthday all over town last week, partying at Louis, Bella Rose, Mokai and LIV. At his official birthday party at LIV, Valderrama was joined by Damian Wayans. DJ Ross One played a special set in his honor.

Coming Up:

Friday night, the Dolce and Gabbana boutique in Bal Harbour will host DG SET, a late-night fashion event followed by a VIP after-party at Mokai. On the same night, at the Betsy Hotel, acclaimed restaurateur Laurent Tourondel of New York’s famed BLT, as in Bistro Laurent Tourondel, will premier the southeast outpost of the eatery.

This Saturday, the Forge will host renowned chef Yono, aka Widjiono Purnomo, for an exclusive dinner. Also on Saturday, check out Mansion, which celebrates its five-year anniversary with a huge bash featuring House Mafia DJ Steve Angello alongside Chicco Secci.

Spotted:

Sopranos star Robert Iler at the Sunset Lounge at Mondrian and later celebrating his friend Ron Berkowitz’s birthday at Louis Bar, dancing on a sofa in the lounge’s decadent library. Channel 10 anchor Laurie Jennings hosting the Voices for Children Gala at the Mandarin Oriental on Friday. Alex Rodriguez dining at Plat Bleu at Delano. Queen Latifah dining at Red, The Steakhouse. Cee Lo hosting karaoke at the Shore Club’s Skybar. Lennox Lewis at the Friday night Leblon-sponsored party at Sunset Lounge at Mondrian. Chazz Palminteri dining at Bova Prime in Fort Lauderdale. Eva Longoria Parker, Alejandro Sanz, Alonzo and Tracy Mourning, Cheryl Tiegs and Paulina Rubio attending the Market America conference at the AA Arena. Barry Gibb and surprise duet partner Olivia Newton-John performing at the Love and Hope Ball at the Westin Diplomat.

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