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Restaurants and Food Blog

James Beard traveling food fest comes to Miami and Boca in September

Staff writer

The prestigious James Beard Foundation is coming to South Florida.

On Friday, Sept. 20, its Taste America campaign features an all-star fundraising dinner at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach hosted by Food Network star Ted Allen and Norman Van Aken.

The evening stars at 7:30 p.m. with a Next Generation cocktail reception featuring hors d’oeuvres prepared by Dena Marino of MC Kitchen; Jeff McInnis of Yardbird; Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House; “Chef Bee” of Khong River House; and Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly Restaurant Group.

At 8:30 p.m., a seated Culinary Masters’ Dinner will feature James Beard Award winners Van Aken, Allen Susser of Chef Allen’s Consulting and Michael Schwartz of The Genuine Hospitality Group. Joining the three will be “Top Chef Masters” semi-finalist Lorena Garcia and “Top Chef Just Desserts” winner Yigit Pura of Tout Sweet Pâtisserie, who will be flying in from San Francisco.

On Saturday, Sept., the festivities continue with a day of free, in-store consumer retail events at Sur La Table, 428 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Along with a cooking demonstration, All-Star Allen will sign cookbooks. There will also be tastings from South Florida producers and artisans.

Dinner tickets start at $200 for the dinner only. A $250 ticket includes the cocktail reception and preferred seating. A $400 tickets includes cocktail reception and one seat at Ted Allen’s table for the dinner. A portion of the proceeds benefits World Central Kitchen, an organization created by Beard winner José Andrés, to provide immediate food and assistance to areas affected by natural disasters.

Tickets are available at jbftasteamerica.org. Along with South Florida, the Taste America campaign will also stop in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

“In the magnificent setting of the Ancient Spanish Monastery, I will be cooking with a team of South Florida’s finest who will prepare a dish that will be the talk of the town for months to come,” Van Aken said in a press release. “No name conjures up more ‘Oscar-worthy performances’ than Mr. Beard's in our country, and each chef will be inspired to the 'nth' degree.”

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