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2011 South Beach Wine & Food Festival Liveblog: Photos, Video, Updates & More

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In what Josh Ozersky is calling, "Hands down [his] favorite Rachael Ray video ever," here's Rachael Ray's assessment of the burger lineup at the 2011 SoBe Burger Bash:


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Check out our stream of tweets and photos from the sands of South Beach for some highlights from the weekend.


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At a fascinating panel early Saturday put on by The Feast and Bullfrog & Baum here at SoBe, Chefs John Besh, Scott Conant, John DeLucie and Marc Forgione spoke candidly on the concept of 'selling out' and shared their varying experiences with toeing that line while approaching and achieving fame. Some highlights:

Scott Conant:

  • "I look at TV shows on Food network as an advertising platform to get people in the restaurant. I look at it as something to fill the blanks in the reservation book. And it seems to work."
  • "I try to be that person that stays in the kitchen all the time and focuses on the customer. I tried to that, it just didn't work for me. I just couldn't do it. I opened a second restaurant and eventually…I opened a few more. I love being at the bookends of this country between Toronto and New York and Miami and Los Angeles. The opportunity was to create a restaurant where I could be among the best in each market I opened in. And for the most part I think we've achieved that [in the Italian restaurant market space]. I don't know what the term selling out really means, because it's evolved so much. We've all been there, saying no way am I ogling to be like that guy."
  • "I think television is the most relevant platform now. Who knows what's going to happen with the internet. No one's done anything truly [impactful] on the internet with cooking and food yet, as far as I know -- aside from blogs and that."
  • "Everything that Martha Stewart does sells everything else that she's trying to do. She has her television show, she does a segment on flowers, her website gets a million hits for people on flowers. It's genius, the simplicity of it is genius. And she's the first one to do it on that level. I can't say enough nice things about her."

Marc Forgione:

  • "I can speak first-hand on this as my restaurant went from kind of busy to fully booked, week by week with the Iron Chef America airings. Is that selling out? All I did was selling out my restaurant. The food hasn't changed, but I just watched it happen. I don't think there's any reason to avoid it. Everyone that's up here is still themselves, just because there's a TV camera doesn't mean you're someone else."
  • "One of the reasons I got on to The Next Iron Chef was the [incident with the] Times writer in the restaurant. And there was all this stuff on the internet about me being a psycho. My first day on Iron Chef, they said, give us some anger, give it to us like the New York Times writer. i'm actually a very nice guy and I was a bit disappointed at first."

And John DeLucie in particular was a quote machine. From him:

  • "At this point my restaurant is a lifestyle thing, it's not exactly a gastronomic endeavor for me. It's a place where people go and have fun and have a good time. Ten years ago I never would have said that or admitted that or wanted that for myself. I have a great roast chicken but big deal, so does everybody on this panel. 'My roast chicken is better than your roast chicken' -- does it even matter? That's not even the point anymore."
  • More compellingly, "But television is something you can't avoid. You want a ot of people in your restaurant, and you want a lot of people in your restaurant at 5:30, and that's what television accomplishes."
  • "I don't have this big PR strategy, things come up very organically and hopefully I can identify what's good ... and I had a partner who was the editor of Vanity Fair magazine, which doesn't hurt."

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The matching tattoos that Anthony Bourdain and wife Ottavia received yesterday (that we mentioned here) got picked up by the UK's Daily Mail, replete with requisite paparazzi photos. See it to believe it.

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In a chat early Saturday at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival with AP Food reporter J.M. Hirsch, Jamie Oliver called Palin a "froot loop" for criticizing Michelle Obama's nutrition efforts and argued that getting healthy food to kids was "a civil rights issue." The AP with the story.

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Does not stay in South Beach if what happened were matching snake tattoos. Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Bourdain got inked by Chris Garver in South Beach earlier today -- check out their respective Twitter feeds for the documentation: Tony Bourdain's here and Ottavia Bourdain's here.

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Tonight, HuffPost Food heads to the BubbleQ, hosted by Bobby Flay -- and friends, too! The BubbleQ -- a champagne-themed BBQ -- is retiring its long SoBe run after tonight so we expect magnificence.

Then we head to the SoBe 10 Year Anniversary “Let Them Eat Cake” Party, hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart.

Follow us on Twitter -- @HuffPostFood -- for updates throughout the evening.

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We've updated our Burger Bash coverage with more photos from last night. Enjoy.

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Chefs Tim Love and John Besh chatted with AP Food reporter J.M. Hirsch earlier today to discuss the concepts of authenticity, culture and geography in food & cooking. Check it out:

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Lee Schrager revealed to AP food reporter J.M. Hirsch earlier today that taking the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to Los Angeles was all but a done deal. Read about it here.

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Tonight, Michael Symon won the first-ever back-to-back People's Choice Award at the Rachael Ray Burger Bash. Read all about it here.

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We're posting a bevy of photos from the Burger Bash over on Twitter -- @HuffPostFood. Check 'em out.

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Kicking things off at South Beach is tonight's Rachael Ray Burger Bash, starting in an hour or so (note to self: head to Burger Bash). Last year's top honor, the People's Choice Award, went to Michael Symon and his 'Fat Doug' -- a pastrami-bedecked, swiss cheese & coleslaw number, which edged out worthy competitors like Flay, Michael Schwartz and Morimoto.

Tonight's competitors include Michael White and his Ai Fiori 'White Label' burger, 2009 winner Spike Mendelsohn, Lonesome Dove's Tim Love, Morimoto, Michael Schwartz, Laurent Tourondel, the esteemed Shake Shack burger and the GQ-named best burger of 2010, Umami Burger out of LA.

Tonight's burgerpalooza will feature over 11,000 pounds of 12 different types of ground meat (to make 60,000 burger portions), 475 pounds of smoked bacon, over one ton of 11 different cheeses, one beer milkshake and one elk burger (Tim Love? TBD). Thanks to the wonderful SoBe press folks for all of that.

Who will take it? Check back here later for updates, and in the meantime here's the complete list of 2011 Burger Bash participating chefs and restaurants.

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Via Eater, it looks like festival attendee Anthony Bourdain was promptly swarmed by fans upon stepping off the plane this afternoon. Twiterrer Sarah Rosenberg (@RoOnDemand) with the account:

Anthony Bourdain at Miami airport not being able to move bc of fans swarming w/cameras. Lady: remember the one where you ate the scallops!?

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Got a question for a chef or personality here at SoBe? Hit us up on Twitter (@Huffpostfood) or email us -- food at, and we'll do our best.

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HuffPost Food is on the ground at the 10th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We'll be updating this liveblog continously with the best of what we taste, hear, see and find through the end of the madness on Sunday, so do check back often.

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