Letter from Founder

header letter from founder - Letter from Founder

Dear Festival Guest,

This May, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (SOBEWFF®) bringing along with it a great deal of pride, reflection and hope.

As a Festival with a history deeply rooted in the local hospitality industry, we understand the power of food, great wine and spirits, and its ability to bring people together in a way that is both meaningful and authentic. Our goal has always been to serve as a platform that connects the community with our richly diverse, creative and passionate culinary and spirit industry; all while raising critical funds in support of our educational mission to cultivate the future leaders of the hospitality industry at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU).

Now – more than ever – the need to support the supremely gifted chefs, mixologists, event planners and small businesses located right here in our own backyard is extremely evident to us. The past year has by no means been easy for our beloved hospitality industry, leaving thousands unemployed and permanently shuttering the doors of hundreds of businesses. It is with this in mind, that we made the decision to move forward with the 20th annual edition of the Festival – to do our part to further propel the recovery of an industry that has given so much to us.

This year, our program of events will look and feel a little different, but our mission to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. remains the same. With the help of FIU’s top epidemiologists and infectious disease scientists, we have adapted many new health & safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of our attendees, staff, participants, volunteers, talent and exhibitors, and, by extension, keep our beloved community safe.
I am incredibly thankful to our title sponsors, the Food Network & Cooking Channel, presenting sponsor, Capital One, host, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, and beneficiary, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, all of whom have stood by our side and provided this Festival with their endless support, time and resources.

Most importantly, I owe my deepest gratitude to the talent, restaurant owners, chefs, suppliers, sponsors, and media partners who are the beating heart of this Festival and who have so generously supported us for the past 20 years. Without them, none of this would be possible.

Lastly, to you, our fiercely loyal SOBEWFF® fans: thank you. Thank you for the commitment and passion you have shown this Festival throughout the past two decades. We are thrilled to come together once again in 2021 to celebrate our shared love of food and wine, while creating new job opportunities for our SOBEWFF® family who share their passion and culinary artistry with our local hospitality industry every single day.


Lee Brian Schrager
SOBEWFF® Founder & Director