Lobster escovitch. Barbecue shrimp and homemade potato salad (without the raisins). Crab beignets. Is your mouth watering yet? These are just a few of the dishes on the menus from Food Network's South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) in Miami. The 4-day star-studded culinary fest took place February 23-26, 2023 across some of Miami's most luxe restaurants and beach venues. On the ticket were names like Chef Mashama Bailey—one of the most revered Black chefs of today—JJ Johnson, Eric Adjepong, Marcus Samuelsson and more.

With the swanky Loews Miami Beach Hotel serving as the host accommodation, and backdrop for several of the events, fans were treated to up-close encounters with some of their favorite Food Network chefs and talents. Things kicked off with the event's annual Burger Bash on the beach, which featured over-the-top gourmet burgers from dozens of the country's top restaurants. From there, it was a matter of pacing yourself to ensure you were able to make it through all four days of delicious bites and cocktails being whipped up, left and right.

Chef Eric Adjepong during his private SOBEWFF dinner. Image: World Red Eye.

Chef Eric Adjepong was in attendance to host a private dinner that honored a fellow culinary giant. The Ghanaian-American chef says he always enjoys coming to South Beach for the event because it's like a family reunion for chefs.

"I look at this event as a celebration of chefs coming together and enjoying each other's creativity and food. We get to talk about trends, talk about our failures and everything in between," Chef Eric Adjepong shares from the SOBEWFF. "I personally also look at it as an opportunity to strut my culinary chops and show off new things I'm working on. And, coming to Miami is a beautiful place to do so."

Chef Mashama Bailey interacts with guest during her SOBEWFF jazz brunch. Image: World Red Eye.

CLEO TV Just Eats host and Fieldtrip Restaurant owner, chef JJ Johnson, hosted his inaugural The Cookout, which is a celebration of Black culture and food. The Harlem-based chef tapped some of the hottest Black culinary talents and spirit brands leading the new school to showcase their dishes and drinks—and it was certainly a vibe.

"The cookout is designed to amplify Black voices and culture. And, who doesn't love our food? It's a beautiful thing. People are preparing dishes that they either saw at the cookout or dishes that they would personally bring. We're seeing things like chicken wings fried in duck fat by Texas' Tiffany Derry or mac and cheese done five different ways from Miami's House of Mac," Chef JJ Johnson tells EBONY during The Cookout. "For me and my team, the biggest part of this event is highlighting Black chefs and talent, especially those from around Miami. We're trying to amplify them even more and give them shine."

To keep the vibes going, the Harlem restaurateur invited his good friend and vibe curator, DJ D-Nice, to come hang out with the crowd, too. While he wasn't on the 1s and 2s this time, the 2020 NAACP Image Award Entertainer of the Year was certainly mixing it up with attendees and enjoying all the cookout cuisine.

Chef Tiffany Derry's duck fat fried wings served at The Cookout. Image: World Red Eye.

"Chef JJ is one of my favorite people. I love his food and I love his spirit," DJ D-Nice says. "It's good to see so many great people here and those who truly love music, food and community."

Although there were dozens of events happening in the area all weekend, one of the hottest ticket items was Chef Mashama Bailey's Sunday jazz brunch. Also going down at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Bailey—the James Beard Foundation's Most Outstanding Chef of 2022—curated an experience with chefs of color as the focus. Attendees were treated to several food stations that offered everything from crab beignets from Bailey's The Grey Restaurant team to fried chicken Po-Boys from Food Network star Chef Kardea Brown. Not to mention, a live jazz band hit the stage to provide the sounds.

From left: Lisa Davis, DEI consultant for SOBEWFF and Chef Kardea Brown of Food Network's Delicious Miss Brown. Image: World Red Eye.

The weekend rounded out with a Black-owned restaurant explosion hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson in Miami's historically Black Overtown neighborhood. Also, the site of one of his Red Rooster locations, the event brought out everyone from CLEO TV's Chef Jernard Wells to Chef Amaris Jones of Chick'N Jones in Miami.