The 3rd Annual Miami Gardens Wine and Food Experience returns Nov. 11 with additional components.
By ISHEKA N. HARRISON
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 favorites, 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.