The 10th Annual South Beach Seafood Festival was an all-out extravaganza that celebrated Miami’s globally-recognized stone crab season by uniting an extraordinary lineup of exciting restaurants and chefs from Wednesday, October 19th to Saturday, October 22nd. Top Miami talent representing
South Florida’s inimitable culinary scene participated throughout the four-day festival including Joe’s Stone Crab’s Executive Chef Andre Bienvenu, Rusty Pelican’s Chef Jimmy Pastor, UCHI Miami’s Cristian Canencio, Meat Market’s Executive Chef and Owner Sean Brasel, Luca Osteria’s Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, Paperfish Sushi’s Michael Asalie, Pubbelly Sushi’s Jose Mendin, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila’s Dariel Vazquez, and Zuma’s Nono Shigetomi among many others.
The highly anticipated “Chef Showdown” took place on Friday, October 21st in the GOYA Culinary Pavilion in the Baptist Health Hospitality Village where 20 talented local chefs battled it out head-to-head for the grand prize of $10,000 in celebration of the festival’s 10th anniversary. Sponsored by Tequila Herradura and presented by GOYA and Celebrity Cruises, the interactive event invited guests to sample deliciously cooked dishes from this year’s participating eateries and vote for their favorite among the contestants. The food-loving attendees were also able to interact with each chef as they took the main stage to show off their impressive skills with entertaining live demonstrations, before receiving marks from the crowd and a select list of judges toward the festival’s top prize: the title of “Battle Champion”. This year, the festival’s most prestigious honor was awarded to Beaker & Gray’s
Brian Nasajon, who whipped up an intoxicatingly flavorful Crab Fondue dish. The winning dish made mouths water and taste buds soar, securing its place as the one to beat in the “Battle Crab.” Paperfish Sushi’s Chef Michael Asalie came in close second overall with an incredible dish they playfully called, the Big Mac del Mar in “Battle Sushi.” Hosted by NBC 6’s Kelly Blanco, the main stage, brought to you by Demesmin & Dover, included a line up of judges who made the final decisions included: GOYA Foods’ Executive Chef Fernando Desa; Joe’s Stone Crab’s Executive Chef Andre Bienvenu; RED South Beach’s Executive Chef Peter Vauthy; Chef Adrianne Calvo; food writer Sara Liss; and Managing SVP Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at City National Bank of Florida, Eddie Dominguez. Throughout the night, a $16,000 check was presented to South Beach Seafood Festival, on behalf of GOYA Foods, to help cover a portion of each participating chef’s expenses for the evening in support
of the South Florida restaurant community.
2022 Battle Competition Winners are as follows:
● Battle Ceviche: Aida Mexican SeaFood’s Mauricio Hernandez
● Battle Crab: 2-Time Champion, Beaker & Gray’s Brian Nasajon*
● Battle Fusion-Sushi: Tanuki’s Gustavo Montes
● Battle Salmon presented by Laguna Blanca Salmon: Ocean 234’s Nicole Fey
● Battle Lobster: 5-Time Champion, Café Bernie’s Chef Bernie Matz
● Battle Oyster: 2-Time Champion, UCHI Miami’s Cristian Canencio
● Battle Shrimp: Latin House’s Sergio Mazuelos
● Battle Surf n’ Turf presented by Halpern’s Steak & Seafood: 3-Time Champion Rusty Pelican’s Jim Pastor
● Battle Sushi: Paperfish Sushi’s Michael Asalie
● Battle Taco: Tacos & Tattoos’ Jay Cruz
Congratulations to all our restaurants who competed to include: La Cervecería de Barrio’s Alex Medina, Papa’s Raw Bar’s Chad Wyrosdick, Chef Luis Gonzalez, Mercato della Pescheria’s Alex Martinez, Chef Billy G’s Chef Andres Garcia, Seawell Fish N Oyster’s Raymond Fiorello, Cilantro 27’s Nilton Castillo, Social Club’s Javier Carballo, Zuma’s Nono Shigetomi, and Bandidos Taqueria Juan Hernandez.
Cocktail lovers had their fair share of fun as four of the city’s talented bartenders shook up Tequila Herradura recipes as part of Friday night’s festivities during the “Extraordinary Bartender Showdown”. Judged by Gio Guiterrez of @chatchowtv and Samantha and Vianca of @thirstybartenders, the ultimate winner and $500 prize went to Sweet Liberty’s Aistis Zidanavicius.
While Friday’s happenings crowned award-winning culinary talent and exciting cocktail recipes, the festival kicked off officially on Wednesday, October 19th, with “An Evening at Joe’s Stone Crab,” the first of two exclusive sit-down dinners held during the week. On the following night, ticket holders gathered at festival host venue Kimpton Surfcomber for “Crabs, Slabs & Cabs,” a formal dinner highlighting ‘Surf n’ Turf’ reimagined by some of Miami’s leading chefs and hosted by GOYA Foods’ Executive Chef Fernando Desa. Celebrated restaurateur and Pubbelly Sushi partner José Mendín, Fiola Miami’s Executive Chef Danny Ganem, Meat Market Executive Chef and Owner Sean Brasel, Luca Osteria Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, and host venue chef, The Social Club’s Executive Chef Javier Carballo combined their creativity and keen culinary abilities to present six courses of enticing dishes for delighted guests who enjoyed the best flavors from both the land and sea. Each dish was paired with a different wine from Breakthru Beverage which included Piper Heidsieck Cuveé Brut, Intercept Chardonnay, Ca’Bolani Pinot Grigio, and the main features with Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon, Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon,
Frank Family Chardonnay, and ending the evening with the Petite Sirah Port.
Perhaps saving the best for last, famed country music singer-songwriter, CMT Award winner, Granger Smith took the stage featuring Earl Dibbles Jr., and special guests, CMT nominated country music group, Runaway June, in a rousing performance presented by Demesmin & Dover Law Firm and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey during the South Beach Seafood Festival’s main event, Saturday’s beachfront festival which was brought to you by Tequila Herradura, presented by GOYA Foods and City National Bank, and hosted by the City of Miami Beach.
Spread across four blocks along Ocean Drive in Lummus Park on the sand, the festival’s general admission ticket featured an impressive selection of curated pop-up cafés by some of Miami’s finest seafood restaurants, including Café Avanti, Red, South Beach, A Fish Called Avalon, Lobster Shack, CJ’s Crab Shack, Tanuki, Café Bernie, Cilantro 27, Ella’s Oyster Bar, Pubbelly Sushi, Latin House, The Social Club, and The Wagyu Bar by Meat N’ Bone, as well as dessert offerings from the likes of Wynwood Parlor, Cielito Artisan Pops, and Crepemaker, among others. VIP ticket holders took their appetites to the Baptist Health VIP Village to nosh on samplings of exciting menu items from Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Paule’s Pop Up by Chef Billy G, GOYA Foods, The Social Club, Kuba Cabana, The Wagyu Bar by Meat N’ Bone, Doral International Foods, Mau Miami, Playa, Papas Raw Bar, Seafood World, Rum Room, Pescanova USA, Oshen Salmon, Smash Burgers, and other popular South Florida seafood spots.
The all-day event also featured live music with DJs at the Pacifico Beach Club and Sun Sips by High Noon. General Admission guests enjoyed a taste of the riviera at the Piper Heidsieck Champagne lounge and were catching some rays at the El Dorado Ultimate Beach Club, while VIP tickets included access to an exclusive two-block village with activations from Celebrity Cruises, Tequila Herradura with pop ups from Bodega, Jack Daniels with a pop up from Gramps Wynwood, City National Bank, Baptist Health, Oshen Salmon, and other notable businesses that helped make the festival a sensational success.
The South Beach Seafood Festival is brought to you annually by Tequila Herradura and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, and is presented by GOYA Foods, City National Bank, and Breakthru Beverage Florida, along with its partners Piper Heidsieck, Rabble Wines, Phantom and Juggernaut, Castello del Poggio and hosted by City of Miami Beach, Baptist Health, Celebrity Cruises, Pacifico Beer, Milam’s Markets, Cadillac, Bottle Rover, and High Noon Sun Sips, among others.
Demesmin & Dover Law Firm was the newest presenting sponsor of the festival bringing a new element for this anniversary year as the official entertainment partner, and El Dorado Furniture participated as the newest hosting sponsor and official outdoor furniture provider. For 2022, Ride Alto was the official transportation partner of the festival.
For more information on the 10th Annual South Beach Seafood Festival, please visit sobeseafoodfest.com. Scroll through all of the festival highlights by following on Instagram at @sobeseafoodfest and Facebook