Mi­ami Gar­dens Wine and Food Ex­pe­ri­ence prom­ises even more fun


South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ISHEKA N. HAR­RI­SON ihar­ri­son@sfltimes.com

MI­AMI GAR­DENS, Fla. – They say the third time is a charm, and the cre­ative team be­hind the Mi­ami Gar­dens Wine and Food Ex­pe­ri­ence (MGWFE) is work­ing dili­gently to en­sure that state­ment holds true.

On Nov. 11, the city’s pre­mier culi­nary event will re­turn with a Hawai­ian theme, fa­mil­iar fa- vorites, new ad­di­tions and renowned chefs Roble Ali and Michelle Bern­stein as co-hosts.

Chef Roble is known for his pop­u­lar Bravo TV se­ries “Roble and Co.” as well as his celebrity clients and ac­claimed new Brook­lyn-based restau­rant, Streets. Chef Bern­stein, also known for her tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances and award-win­ning cui­sine, is a na­tive of South Florida.

Mi­ami Gar­dens Coun­cil­woman Lisa C. Davis, who cre­ated MGWFE, said she is happy to have both culi­nary masters aboard this year.

“I’m so ex­cited about Chef Roble and Michelle Bern­stein. I love Michelle Bern­stein. She has a show called ‘Check, Please!’ I watch ev­ery week. I’m a foodie my­self and I just love cook­ing. I love to see peo­ple cook and pre­pare dif­fer­ent dishes,” Davis said. “And Chef Roble, oh my good­ness, what can I say about him? He is just the business as we say. He’s new, he’s in­no­va­tive, I just love what he’s do­ing. I’ m so happy and blessed to have th­ese chefs come out and sup­port our city,” Davis said.

In­tro­duced in 2015, at­ten­dance for the MGWFE more than dou­bled from year one to year two with over 1,500 peo­ple in at­ten­dance last year. Davis said she ex­pects this year to be even big­ger and be­lieves the growth is a re­sult of them set­ting a dif­fer­ent stan­dard than many other wine and food events.

“A lot of wine and food fes­ti­vals that you go to, they wear sneak­ers and they have that kind of beach feel, but that’s not what my Ex­pe­ri­ence is about,” Davis said. “It’s about dress­ing nice, go­ing out with your hus­band or your wife, hav­ing girls night or guys night, look­ing fab­u­lous and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a won­der­ful pres­ence when you walk into the room. It’s not the same thing as other fes­ti­vals, it’s al­ways some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

Davis said she wants to keep at­ten­dees guess­ing about what they will en­counter each year.

“Ev­ery year it’ll be a new sur­prise chef, theme and a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence and I want peo­ple to come back ev­ery year want­ing more of that ex­pe­ri­ence,” Davis said. “I want to keep the peo­ple won­der­ing, ‘what are you gonna do next?’ Peo­ple want ex­cite­ment. They’re look­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent and I think that this is the event to go to.”

The fact that VIP tick­ets are al­ready sold out cor­rob­o­rates Davis’ state­ment. But, ac­cord­ing to event or­ga­niz­ers, a gen­eral ad­mis­sion ticket will still get at­ten­dees ma­jor bang for their bucks.

One ticket in­cludes ac­cess to a va­ri­ety of food from par­tic­i­pat­ing restau­rants, spe­cialty wines and pre­mium drinks, a Mas­ter Chef Cook-Off hosted by Roble and Bern­stein, a Sweet Freaks Dessert Com­pe­ti­tion and Dessert Bar and newly added Cigar and Whiskey Bar and Ur­ban Beer Gar­den. Davis said they even have com­po­nents that cater to peo­ple that don’t drink so there is some­thing for ev­ery­one.

“There are peo­ple com­ing from Broward, from Tampa, from New York; they’re com­ing from ev­ery­where and I love that. This is just our third year in and we have peo­ple com­ing from ev­ery­where. Imagine five years from now or 10 years from now. Are we go­ing to be able to hold it or will we be in the sta­dium in that time,” Davis asked.

Davis said due to the event’s growth, they might even­tu­ally turn the Ex­pe­ri­ence into a multi-day event.

“We are think­ing about mak­ing it a two or three day event. That’s com­ing. … We have a lot of young peo­ple out there that love to bake and cook so I want to give them a chance to come out and com­pete on a sep­a­rate day and have their par­ents come out and root them on,” Davis said.

Though Davis is the vi­sion­ary be­hind the MGWFE, she made it clear she couldn’t do it with­out her ded­i­cated team or the many chefs, restau­rants and other in­di­vid­u­als who par­tic­i­pate in it.

“There are so many peo­ple on board to help out, you just have no idea,” Davis said. “It’s like you have a vi­sion and peo­ple see the vi­sion and then they run with it. I thank God for them com­ing out and see­ing the vi­sion be­cause a lot of peo­ple don’t, but th­ese peo­ple do. We want ev­ery­body to come out and en­joy and taste and see the good­ness of this event.”

The MGWFE will take place Satur­day, Nov. 11 from 6 p.m. to mid­night on the Rooftop at City Hall, 18605 NW 27 Av­enue in Mi­ami Gar­dens. Pa­trons must be 21 or older to at­tend.

Lim­ited gen­eral ad­mis­sion tick­ets are still on sale for $85 but are ex­pected to sell out. They can be pur­chased at www.MGWFE.eventbrite.com.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit Mi­amiGar­den­sWineAndFood.com.


The 3rd An­nual Mi­ami Gar­dens Wine and Food Ex­pe­ri­ence re­turns Nov. 11 with ad­di­tional com­po­nents.

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