Great American Pie Festival

Grab a Slice of Life.


For the twelfth year in a row, the town of Celebration, Florida will become the Pie Capital of the World on April 27th and 28th, 2013 when thousands of pie lovers, tasters and bakers gather together the Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco®. The highlight, as always, will be the Never-Ending Pie Buffet, featuring award-winning pie, ice cream, toppings and beverages from some of our fine sponsors!

This year, pie lovers from across the country will be treated to sweet offerings by Bakers Square Restaurants and Pies, Bonert’s Slice of Pie, J. Horner’s Desserts, Kroger’s Private Selection, Publix Super Markets, Inc., Rocky Mountain Pies, Tippin’s Pies, Smucker’s Toppings, Village Inn and Wick’s Pies.

Thousands can make their own pies at the Pie Creation Station. There will be pie decorating, pie art, chef hat decorating and many more pie activities to enjoy. The Pietopia Demonstration Stage sponsored by Village Inn and Bakers Square Restaurants features entertainment and baking demonstration by chefs from across the country. Of course, no pie festival would be complete without a Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by Private Selection.

Host Hotel: Caribe Royale

Experience more than 53 lush, tropical acres, guests will discover 1,218 spacious, well-appointed one-bedroom suites, 120 luxurious two-bedroom lakeside villas, expansive state-of-the-art meeting and event facilities, unmatched hospitality and service, and a wealth of desirable dining options and hotel amenities that will appeal to both families and business professionals alike. And it all can be found just minutes from the area’s world famous theme parks and attractions. — Book Direct

Pie Festival Agenda

Lakeside Park
Celebration, Florida

Saturday, April 27

Sunday, April 28

To learn more, visit: Great American Pie Festival

Chat Chow Interview with Joshua Wagner

Newest to sprout in South Beach is the Regent Cocktail Club, a classic cocktail bar located at the back of the revamped Gale Hotel.


Interested to hear about this new concept, Chat Chow TV schmoozed with Joshua Wagner, Miami’s after-hours aficionado and managing partner of Regent Cocktail Club, over Manhattans and Mint Juleps.

Joshua Wagner / Regent Cocktail Club from Chat Chow TV on Vimeo.

“Everyone is jazzed up about new trends, food and beverage, everything along those lines,” Wagner observes. “But I think we also need to make the standards of what our basics are, what our pars are, what our standards are as a city. So classics, back to the core, create the standard of what it should be and just really get back to the basics.”

And the locals are loving it. Regent draws a mixed crowd, attracted to the venue for its unique recipe of curated cocktails and vintage vibe.

Visit Chat Chow to experience full interview with Joshua Wagner: Chat Chow




Piña Colada

The Regent Cocktail Club Miami

Recipe & Directions:

Build directly in the Blender

– Add 1 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
– 1 oz coconut cream
– 1 oz Spiced Rum
– 1 oz aged Rum
– 4 pineapple chunks about twice the size of dice
– Add 2 cups of crushed ice

Blend for 40 seconds
Garnish with a tiki umbrella and a fuzzy flamingo.


Photo by WorldRedEye



To see more mouth-watering video podcast where you can go behind the scenes with celebrated chefs, owners and mixologists of the food industry, visit

Florida Wine and Balloon Fest

“The Florida Winefest & Auction is America’s Friendliest Winefest and a wonderful food and wine charity experience unparalleled in the United States.”

Winemakers from around the world gather with gourmet chefs and hot air balloonists in breathtaking venues from the Sarasota bayfront to Lakewood Ranch April 4-7, 2013. Buy your tickets now for “America’s friendliest Winefest” as we celebrate 23 years of benefiting children in need in our community at Florida’s favorite parties with a purpose.

We are back on the Sarasota waterfront under an elegant tent with blowing Florida breezes for the trade tasting and consumer tasting events as well as the elegant Grand Brunch and Charity Auction. Many new features have been added to the Florida Winefest & Auction line-up. It’s bigger and bolder with more wineries, more restaurants, new venues for winemaker dinners, a Kid Zone activity area, gourmet food trucks, live music, and more than twenty hot air BALLOONS! There will be wines for sale at most venues this year and the Grand Brunch and Auction lots are a collectors dream. Wine collectors with all the time and money in the world would still not be able to find some of the rare items in the auction this year. Tickets range from $10-$1,000 at this fabulous festival with something for everyone!


Winemaker dinners will be hosted April 4 at Bay Preserve at Osprey, Sarasota Yacht Club, The Founders Club, Ophelia’s on Siesta Key, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, a private residence in Manatee County, Laurel Oak Country Club, and Suncoast Porsche. New to Winefest – and a first for downtown Sarasota – “The Banquet on the Block” will feature 8 restaurant chefs pairing with 8 wineries serving up eclectic menus perfectly paired with fabulous wine. You are invited to meet and greet vintners and winery representatives as they share the inside stories of their selections, while local chefs feature the freshest locally harvested bounty from the land, sea and air. More than sixty wineries and “spirit-makers” are participating in the festival this year but seating at the winemaker dinners is limited so Buy Your Tickets Now.


Meet Balloonmeister Bill Whidden

Bill began ballooning in the early 80’s and has turned what started as a family sport and recreational activity into his profession. Involved in all phases of Ballooning, Bill and his wife Trish, annually attend 20-30 events across the U.S.A., Canada and Europe and other foreign countries .

Bill has served as a “consultant” and “organizer” for many organizations as well as serving as “Balloonmeister” for over 100 events. He and Trish also have overseen the ride operations for many major balloon events. Bill is active in flight instruction, a frequent guest speaker at safety seminars and sells balloons for a major dealer in the USA. Having logged over 2600 hours of flight time and “tether time”, Bill and Trish have flown in most all of the contiguous 48 states as well as the  Countries of Austria, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Ireland, and  New Zealand.


Meet David Elswood of Christie’s Wine Auctions

David Elswood, Guest Auctioneer/Christie’s International Head of Wine Sales/ Christie’s London.

Since 2003 he has held the position of International Head of Wine Sales and Principal Auctioneer, presiding over Christie’s wine sales in Europe and the United States. Mr Elswood’s stated main aims are to ensure that Christie’s continue to dominate the world of wine auctions and to maintain their global position as the number one house for fine and rare wines.

Please visit our Events page for event details, a listing of WineriesCulinary trails and Entertainment.



Over the last 22 years, each of these charitable children’s programs have directly benefited from the funds raised through Florida Winefest & Auction. Each year we accept new applications for grants. Each application is reviewed by the Grants Committee and the money allocated is distributed three weeks after the last Winefest event closes. Programs are monitored throughout the year by our dedicated volunteers. See List of Charities.


Stay Over In Comfort

Plan your festication in advance and stay at any of Sarasota, Florida upscale and comfortable accommodations such as Longboat Key Club and Resort, located just minutes away from the Florida Wine & Balloon Festival.  Book Your Stay Now!



Bravo’s Top Chef, Viviani at Einstein on Food & Wine

Einstein on Food & Wine 2013 is a celebration of the senses that will showcase the delicious and diverse cuisine of TampaBay alongside the palate pleasers of winemakers from around the country.

On Saturday, February 2, 2013, this 18thannual bon vivant festival will be held in the home of the A-HA moment, where all of your senses are titillated, the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, FL.  Whether you enjoy your science with a twist, shaken or stirred, you don’t want to miss The 2013 Einstein on Food & Wine.
This year’s event will feature a tremendous variety of wine, a beer garden, celebration of the senses throughout the science center, samplings from top local restaurants, restaurant competition, live entertainment, and a charity auction all for a significant cause, the education programs at MOSI.

MOSI’s core ideology is to make a difference in people’s lives by making science real for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Einstein on Food & Wine has provided $1.9 million of funding to MOSI for science education programs and community scholarships.

Einstein on Food & Wine 2013 has a variety of ways to get involved from sponsorship, to silent auction items and restaurant participation to volunteering. Get involved today!


The 2013 Inaugural Annus Mirabilis

The Museum of Science & Industry cordially requests the pleasure of your company for the Einstein on Food & Wine inaugural Annus Mirabilis* dinner on Friday, February 1, at 7 p.m. in a private home on beautiful Bayshore Boulevard. This incredible evening of fine dining, free-flowing wine and fascinating conversation benefits the education programs at MOSI.

The highlight of the evening will be special guest Fabio Viviani of Bravo’s Top Chef, who will create the menu and provide culinary demonstrations.

Italian chef Fabio Viviani was born on October 10, 1978 in Florence. After the need to help out the family and get a job presented itself at the young age of 11, Fabio applied to work in a bakery where first he was told he was too young and then later invited to work nights so that no one would know.

Fabio is perhaps best known in America for appearing on season 5 of Bravo’s reality series Top Chef and earning the Fan Favorite title. Fabio returned to Bravo in 2010 to compete in their Top Chef All Stars edition and his reality show “Life after Top Chef” will air in late 2012. He is also the host of the Award winning series “Chow Ciao!” on Yahoo.

For more information about Annus Mirabilis or to purchase tickets please contact Jason Champion at or call 813-987-6030.

Einstein on Food & Wine / Feb. 2, 2013

This year’s event will feature a tremendous variety of wine, a beer garden, celebration of the senses throughout the science center, samplings from top local restaurants, restaurant competition, live entertainment, and a charity auction all for a significant cause, the education programs at MOSI.

MOSI’s core ideology is to make a difference in people’s lives by making science real for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Einstein on Food & Wine has provided $1.9 million of funding to MOSI for science education programs and community scholarships.

Einstein on Food & Wine 2013 has a variety of ways to get involved from sponsorship, to silent auction items and restaurant participation to volunteering. Get involved today!

ChatChow: Knong River House

From the owners of Miami Beach’s southern-style eatery Yardbird comes Khong River House in Miami Beach.

The inspiration for Khong River House emanates from founder John Kunkel’s passion for the celebrated foods prepared in the rural villages and city markets of Thailand, which he became enamored with while living and traveling extensively through its northern provinces.

Chat Chow talks to Executive Chef Piyarat Potha Arreeratn (known as Chef Bee) who hails from the small town of Ban Sankhohiang in the Chiang Rai region. The cultures from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and other surrounding countries are the influence behind Khong River House’s Northern Thai cuisine.

“Everybody has sticky rice,” says Chef Bee. “But we serve Burmese Sticky Rise that is soaked overnight with turmeric and salt. So its nice and yellow. The next day it is steamed with flash-fried garlic. The smell and aroma is beautiful.”

A Thai temple in Homestead, Florida is importing all the produce, giving a new meaning to farm-to-table. Even the decor at Khong River House is authentic with license plates and a tin roof. The restaurant was even blessed by Thai Monks. “Traditional Thai people want somebody with a beautiful mind, beautiful heart, someone superior to give you a blessing.”

Watch the video to learn about Chef Bee’s favorite dishes including Curry Boat Noodles, Pork Belly Curry and the eponymous “Killer Bee” cocktail.



4:00PM – 11:00PM
Valet parking available.

Visit: or call (305) 763-8147


To see more mouth-watering video podcast where you can go behind the scenes with celebrated chefs, owners and mixologists of the food industry, visit


Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Don’t miss the 2013 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE, Feb. 21-24. Now going into its 12th year, the Festival has raised more than $17 million for Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Here’s a taste of what to expect in 2013:

Now one of America’s most prestigious gourmet gatherings, the Festival began as a one-day event known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus.  For five years, from 1997-2001, the Florida Extravaganza showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with food from local restaurants and chefs working with students of FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. In 2002, Lee Brian Schrager, current vice president of corporate communications & national events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, took the reins and relocated the event to South Beach. The renamed South Beach Wine & Food Festival® attracted close to 7,000 guests to a series of dinners, seminars, a Grand Tasting Village and live Auction in its first year.


“We’re excited to share an extraordinary line-up with our fellow wine, spirits and food enthusiasts around the globe,” said Festival Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager, who also serves as Vice President of Corporate Communications & National Events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, which hosts the Festival.  “Each year we strive to bring attendees access to exclusive experiences.


To create the best event during the best weekend of the year, you take a mix of the best new chefs in the country, some of your favorite chefs from past events and some of our favorite chefs to work with, and pair their dishes with the best wines rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s scale while staging the ensuing extravaganza at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, a hotel that features a spectacular blend of Golden Era glamour and modern luxury. This evening provides eye-opening tastes in a dramatic setting while educating consumers about the trends that fuel today’s exciting gastronomic scene.

For tickets information call: 877-762-3933 or to see preview of the festival events, visit: FNSBWF EVENTS



Stay Over In Comfort

Experience the Very Best at Loews Hotels

Host Hotel, Loews Miami Beach Hotel – flaunting a “SoBe style” fusion of cosmopolitan and Art Deco influences – combines beachfront elegance with top-notch amenities for the premier Miami Beach luxury hotel experience.

Located in the “heart” of South Beach, directly on the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel showcases a palm tree lined promenade, oceanfront sparkling pool, Elemis Spa and Fitness Center, six restaurants and lounges including Sushi SoBe and Pottery Barn’s PBkids SoBe Kids’s Camp and Splash boutique featuring items for every member of the family.

BOOK DIRECT or call 1-800-235-6397 for more information about Airport, Travel and Rooms.


The Poor Porker

What is the definition of insanity? Is it trying the same thing over and over, getting the same results, while continuing to expect a different outcome? If so, then my town has gone crazy when it comes to constantly revisiting already established cuisines. Maybe I am wearing blinders, but all I’ve seen lately is chain steakhouses popping up…until now. A shining light has brightened Lakelands dreary food landscape. Its beam burns bright, by way of a pieced together food cart and beignets that are to die for.

The Poor Porker (run by Jarrid Masse and Robyn Wilson) started out serving two things since opening for business a few months ago. beignets and Chicory coffee. You might not think that’d be enough to garner interest. You might also pronounce goose liver “fog wah”. However, you might understand that if a merchant does just a few things, but does them very well, they don’t need to try to impress with a massive menu. Have you ever heard of Cafe du Monde? I’m sure you have. They serve beignets and chicory coffee, but the Poor Porker is anything but a copy cat. They do their own thing. I’m not even doubting myself for a second when I say, they do it better.

They come with the traditional powdered sugar, but they also have a couple of knockout punches. The title track “Poor porker” is drizzled with maple syrup, sprinkled with a touch of salt, topped with a generous amount of home-made bacon bits, then finished with powdered sugar. Obviously, I had to sample this amazing concoction. There are also other specialty beignets that they switch between from time to time, one uses the flavors of olive oil and citrus, as well as homemade caramel for the next limited edition batch at Saturdays farmers market.

I’m not sure which I liked the most. Was it the food, or did the people behind counter that impressed me the most? The moment you walk up, you will probably have to wait in a short line before being greeted by Robyn’s warm smile. After taking your order you can schmooze about how she met chef Jarrid, starring in a short-lived food related reality show on the syfy channel. Jarrid said he thought nobody watched it, I think he was just being humble. They love talking about their cross-country journey that led them to where they are now, one that I’m sure consisted of hours of prep, waking up before dawn to set up the stand. I have to drive by their corner on my way to work at 6:30 am and they always are there before I pass.

As I waited for my first taste of heaven at 9:30 am, I remembered watching people in front of me, ecstatically scampering away to their respective tables and benches. Kind of like Newman did when he finally got his jambalaya from the soup Nazi. When it was my turn to join in, I quickly understood why everyone’s eyes were rolling to the back of their heads. As Robyn handed me my order I walked away to savor the special moment. At first bite, I knew my life had changed forever. I knew that I never needed to worry about what I was going to eat on Saturday mornings for the rest of my existence. I knew I was going to need to do laundry more often now, due to the massive powdered sugar explosions on my shirt and pants. I knew my coworkers might be jealous of how I smelled like cured pig and sweet tree sap. I gladly accept my new lot in life.

If you don’t want to wait, I suggest you go early, say around 8 am on saturday morning. If you wait till 10, the line starts getting a little long. If you procrastinate and come at noon, you will get to spend some time with a sizable crowd. However, the best things in life are worth waiting for. There’s a reason why there are lines around the block at a place like Hot Doug’s in Chicago, Grimaldi’s pizza in Brooklyn, and now the Poor Porker in the thriving mega-metropolis of Lakeland, FL. The word is spreading. You would be insane to pass on The Poor Porker. I give it my highest recommendation and will see you Saturday, I’ll be the guy drooling at the front of the line.


Be a Chef for a Day with Chef Allen

Curious about what goes on in the kitchen of a top-rated restaurant? Especially during dinner time — the busiest part of a chef’s day? You’re in luck. At Chef Allen’s restaurant in Aventura, you can take part in a one-of-a-kind experience — Reality Cooking. Join VISIT FLORIDA Dining, Entertainment & Luxury Insider Kara Chalmers as she learns valuable cooking skills and tips from some of Florida’s top chefs, and of course, gets to enjoy the fruits of her labor — delicious Chef Allen’s cuisine that she helped create.

To learn how you can enjoy this experience visit:

ChatChow: The River Seafood & Oyster Bar

Since 2003, The River Seafood & Oyster Bar has been serving the freshest available local, sustainable and organic cuisine; resulting in a fare that is a modern twist on classic seafood. The River, and Executive Chef David Bracha, pride themselves on a unique menu designed with attention to detail ensuring superior quality. The River’s sleek, yet comfortable, dining room is as perfect for a special dinner for two as it is for a celebration with friends. The mahogany and slate bar over looking the ice packed selection of oysters and raw delights is the choice spot for after- work cocktails and quick bites. From 4:30-7pm nightly, The River offers drink specials along with a half-priced selection of a 8-10 different types of hand-shucked oysters.

With an assortment of hand-selected local produce, fresh cold-water fish brought in from Alaska; Organic Irish Salmon and Bronzini; Sardines from Spain, and other specialties from around the world, you can rest assured you are in for a memorable dining experience each time you visit. For those looking to dine with a group, the award-winning Private Wine Cellar Dining Room seats up to 25 guests and features state of the art audio and video capabilities.

The River Seafood & Oyster Bar is more than just amazing food. Bustling with activity and energy, you’ll quickly see why The River has become a favorite of locals and critics alike.


Executive Chef David Bracha has solidified The River Seafood & Oyster Bar as a local staple for a memorable dining experience. This success didn’t happen overnight or without years of planning.

Bracha is no newcomer to the restaurant business. Having put himself through the Hotel & Restaurant Management program at NY City College by working in bagel and bread bakeries, he honed his culinary skills at La Caravelle, which was long known in New York as a “temple to French gastronomy.” Bracha then spent the next several years working under top chefs from New York to St. Thomas, which afforded him the well-rounded experiences that have brought him where he is today. Bracha made his way to South Florida in the late 1980′s where he worked with Chef Norman Van Aiken and Proal Perry at the beautiful Hoexters Market supper club and then opened the “Stars & Stripes Cafe” in the Betsy Ross Hotel. After branching out on his own at age 28 with “411″ Restaurant & Bar in South Beach, Bracha set his sights on the concept of casual upscale seafood and open the Fishbone Grill in downtown Miami & a second location in Coral Gables.

Drawing from tropical setting of Miami, Bracha the opened The River Seafood & Oyster Bar, realizing it’s only natural to use the freshest seafood and produce available to create a collective menu of dishes that represents a modern twist on a classic seafood cuisine. The River consistently sources the best of the best ingredients to deliver an unparallel dining experience which has helped them win over locals, tourists and critics alike.



4:30PM – 7:00PM
Half price oysters and nightly drink specials!

Located near the Miami River. Valet parking available.
Visit: or call (305) 530-1915



To see more mouth-watering video podcast where you can go behind the scenes with celebrated chefs, owners and mixologists of the food industry, visit