What Price Fame, SBWFF?

Time Out New York's Feed blog pipes in with an insight about how Miami pimps itself out (either passively or proactively) to the annual food fest.

But for a visitor like me, it’s tough to tell how much the event has to do with Miami itself. I am guessing that the connection, much like NYCWFF’s to New York, is incidental. The Food Network/Food & Wine festival is primarily a showcase of its own talents, a traveling chef show that could be transplanted to any city, anywhere. Which is the beauty of it for organizers, should they wish to expand. But that very flexibility also adds to an untethered and somewhat hollow quality after all is said and done. How much better would the overall festival be if the celebrity- and sponsor-driven programming were more supported by events that were connected to the fabric of the hometown food scene? They are called the South Beach and New York Wine & Food Festivals, after all.

The truth is, almost all the restaurants represented at the Tasting Village are local spots so there is a bit of synergy there. Sure, these folks are not celebrated like the chef glitterati from the Food Network. Instead they slog it out in the hot tents, graciously serving food for 5+ hours to increasingly sloshed, sloppy festival goers. And the financial burden of participating must be getting less and less attractive for these restaurants. But they must benefit from it and from the exposure to affluent festival-goers. Otherwise, why would they do it?

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