Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Sun Sentinel.
After the pandemic scuttled plans for its 2020 culinary feast, the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival is finally back Dec. 9-12 with more events, a bigger footprint and a fresh mandate: get safer, not smaller.
How much safer? This summer’s latest COVID surge is responsible for the culinary bash’s biggest shakeup: replacing its usual grand-tasting finale with a free open-air, all-day bash at Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach.
That decision has already translated, so far, to the strongest sales in the 14th annual bash’s history, organizer David Sabin says. Tickets for the four-day feast went on sale Tuesday, and two events sold out in one day: SPICE, a chef-studded kickoff dinner in Palm Beach Gardens, and its popular Chef Welcome Party at the Colony Hotel in West Palm Beach.
“We already have people on waiting lists,” Sabin says. “These are the fastest sellouts ever. People must be excited because they missed it last year.”
The festival’s bill is also larger than ever, with 23 events (compared to 20 in 2019 and 13 in 2018), led by chefs Daniel Boulud, Michelle Bernstein, Robert Irvine, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan. The festival has also expanded south to Delray Beach, with a four-course Italian dinner and wine pairing at chef Lisbet Summa’s namesake Elisabetta’s.
Sabin says the festival’s 14th year marks a decade since he expanded the festival from a three-hour, socialite-studded shindig on Worth Avenue to a four-day feast spanning five cities. Boulud also marks 10 years hosting his signature Daniel & Friends lunch at Palm Beach’s Café Boulud, this year returning Dec. 12 with guest chefs Julie Franceschini and Dieter Samijn.
James Beard semifinalist chef Lindsay Autry, owner of Regional Kitchen & Public House – who happens to be Sabin’s wife – will stage a four-course “Southern Revival” lunch Dec. 10 at her West Palm Beach eatery with help from guest chefs Michelle Bernstein, Katie Button, Sarah Sipe and sommelier Adrienne Mills.
Other highlights include Sustain, a five-course sustainable seafood dinner on Dec. 9 at PB CATCH Seafood & Raw Bar, with chefs Brad Kilgore, Mike Lata, Giogio Rapicavoli and Aaron Black. Celebrity chef Robert Irvine joins Okeechobee Steakhouse’s Ralph Lewis for a four-course Beef N Bourbon Experience on Dec. 9.
The closing free, daylong culinary affair on Dec. 12 at Rosemary Square will feature paint-and-sip classes, a book reading with chef Maneet Chauhan, cooking demos, the Battle of the Bartenders and a $10,000 Grand Chef Throwdown, where chefs square off to benefit a charity of their choice.
The 14th annual Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival returns Dec. 9-12 to several Palm Beach County cities. Tickets cost $50-$250 per event. Call the box office at 800-210-0689 or go to PBFoodWineFest.com.