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Food will be above par at WGC-Cadillac Championship

Live in South Florida long enough, and you start setting your calendar by the boat shows, Art Basel and South Beach Wine and Food Festival. It doesn't matter that you're not shopping for a yacht, a work of art or a chance to rub shoulders with a celebrity chef.

Andres Gaviria hopes the WGC-Cadillac Championship March 5-8 at Trump National Doral, will become part of that unofficial social calendar.

"In order for the PGA to be successful, they can't be in the golf business," says Gaviria, the tournament's director and general manager. "They have to be in the entertainment business."

To that end, Santana will perform at the event. Ivanka Trump will host a Dolce & Gabbana fashion show. And foodies will have more choices than ever, including Cuban fare from Miami's iconic Versailles, Japanese from South Florida-based mini-chain Sushi Maki, champagne from Moet & Chandon, and vodka cocktails from Grey Goose.

"We cannot serve hot dogs, hamburgers and beer," Gaviria says. "We're not just a golf tournament anymore."

He points to the "250,000 to 300,000 people that go to the Kentucky Derby for a two-minute race, and 90 percent of those people don't like horseracing."

Golf fanatics will find their way to the Cadillac, where the field is limited to the top 50 golfers in the world. The Doral has hosted the PGA for more than 50 years. Fans already know that this is the only tournament where the golfers live in-house while playing. So it's not unheard of to run into Rory McIlroy or Rickie Fowler in the resort's BLT Prime steakhouse.

People who aren't golf fans may find the carefully curated collection of food trucks, back at the tournament for a second year.

"This event is where I get the most bang for the buck," says Brett Chiavari, owner of Fort Lauderdale-based BC Tacos, which operates as both a food truck and a cafe in Davie. "There's not many places where you and go and are guaranteed 20,000 people through every day."

Last year, Chiavari picked up several private catering jobs. So did Tony Fellows, owner of the Hollywood-based food truck HipPOPS, which sells handcrafted gelato bars.

Fellows even created a custom frozen bar for the tournament. Called the Blue Monster, after the resort's famous course, it's made with fresh blueberries, fresh blackberries and basil. It's then dipped in semisweet chocolate.

Corporate America has long loved the Doral tournament. This year, more than 180 companies, including HSBC and Bank of America, will entertain in private hospitality tents and watch to see who takes home a share of $9.25 million, one of the biggest purses on the PGA tour.

jtanasychuk@SouthFlorida.com or 954-356-4632

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