The beneficiary for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is the Florida International University's School of Hospitality. Last year we discussed the history of the festival and how it has impacted the school. Click here for that description and a summary of the student's involvement in the festival. This year was no different - except they were offering more beer choices for the 53,000 attendees - nine total. Dr. Gump, Director Beverage Management, explained that the students either made the brew at home or used facilities at the university. Regardless, each student chose the style and ingredients - the barley or rye and the hops - and paid for it themselves. Jenifer Miller was the Beer & Wine Tasting, Grand Tasting, Coordinator and my favorite brew was her IPA a hoppy ale but cleansing. A nice west coast style. She also made a Belgium styled white ale which was made in the amber style. Not as nice as the IPA, but decent. I tried two other student's creations. David has created Rachel's Rye Ale which was really nice and the final I tried was Daniel's Pale Ale. All nicely done. The students were also pouring the remnants of their Merlot which was bottled in October 2008. This batch of wine has produced six different wine styles which showed the students how winemakers can prolong the life of a batch.
In addition to the wine, the students prepared food for the attendees to the Grand Village as well as participated in numerous events throughout the festival. In sum 850 majors participated. Some fortunate ones were paired with, in a mentorship style relationship, the following chefs: John Besh (Restaurant August, New Orleans), Scott Conant/Michael Priolo (Scarpetta/ Miami Beach), Todd English (Olives, NYC), Adam Perry Lang (Daisy May’s BBQ, NYC), Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s/New Orleans), Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto, NYC), Tom Neely (Neely’s Bar-B-Que, Memphis), Alfred Portale/John Suley (Gotham Steak, Miami Beach), Sue Zemanick (Gatreau’s, New Orleans), among others. That's some nice experience. Others worked less glamorous jobs, like clearing wine samples between seminars or handing out wine glasses at Best of the Best, or serving during the Burger Bash. Regardless, their effort benefited the School of Hospitality. According to this report, the school profited $2.2 million. That's a nice four day payday.