Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival: Part 2 (Pork Passion Pursuits!)

So… I went to Miami. (Part 1 here)

I was there because I am one of the Pork 5.

Pork 5
The Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival was just HORRIBLE.

That’s not true. I was just helping you not feel so jealous.

Did it work?

The focus of our mission there was to talk to chefs and consumers about pork. With 3 fabulous partners-in-crime, we embarked on a mission. We asked everything from their favorite way to prepare pork… their favorite spices to use…  to their favorite kind of music to cook to!

I even managed to get a couple of favorite cooking dance moves. Though most were my own.

It was fun getting to talk to so many different people and discovering the passion folks have for our beloved pork. Honestly, I could write whole posts about most of the personalities I met… But one of my heart-favorites was Duskie Estes. I her and John Stewart at The Q with Paula Deen (opening night), and instantly connected with Duskie. I had a bowl of their pig face poutine. That was a first! A couple nights later, I attended the Swine and Wine and Duskie whipped us up a Pigna Colada and lacquered pork lettuce cups and my fate to make her my best friend was sealed. Truly enjoyed every moment with these two…

Duskie and John via @jennyonthespot

Me… with the King And Queen of Porc. No lie!

At one point in the evening, John showed us a picture on his phone. A picture of a BACON WRAPPED SMORE. Only from the King of Porc, right?!  I am totally making those this summer. TOTALLY. John… I am moved to action. MOVED.

I tried a couple of other new pork inspired dishes for the first time… pork belly and pig ears. The pork belly was made by Myron Mixon (at The Q). SO tender!!! The pig ears I ate at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. Honestly, I was hesitant to try the ears. But I did. And maaaaad props to the chef over at Michael’s Genuine!

A couple of other favorite people were Chris Lilly and Ray Lampe. I was able to spend extra time with those guys and got some REALLY great grilling advice. They were probably my most fun interview of the long weekend! I’d go to a backyard BBQ with those guys ANY TIME!

In our time together, I learned Ray is a spices kinda guy, and Chris is a sauce kinda guy. It was fun and fascinating, really… to listen to their grilling philosophies. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a grilling “philosophy”. But it seems there is!

Chris Lilly & Ray Lampe via @jennyonthespot
Chris and Ray cracked. Me. UP. They were DREAM interviewees! But they don’t dance in the kitchen/behind the grill… their only fault. I can’t wait to share their interview with you guys!

In fact, because of them I am determined become a grillstress. Grillstress? That’s the girl version of grillmaster, right?

GRRRRRRLSTRESS?

Clearly, I have some work ahead of me. But…. I digress.

From the wisdom I stole from these grillmasters, I learned if I need anything, I need patience and a good cut of pork. And charcoal. So…

Anybody feel a Take It On Tuesday coming on???

I am excited to be working with Pork Be Inspired. And wouldn’t you know I left The Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival feeling veeeeery INSPIRED! Before I went I had no idea that event would be a passion pursuit of my own… but it’s one of those things I can now put on my life list and mark off!

Do you have a pork passion? A dream you desire to see fulfilled? They you MUST check out the Pork Passion Pursuits contest! There will be 5 winners – one from each category. Each winner will receive $5,000! That would make for one mighty fine pig-roast!!! Check out this link to get more information and to enter the contest. But promise me… if you win and you have a party, I’ll be on the guest list, right? I love me a good party…

Speaking of, here are a bunch of pictures from my own pork inspired dream adventure… Let’s start with awesome chefs and whathaveyou…

sobecelebs via @jennyonthespot
Emeril Lagasse (BAM!), Nigella Lawson (I made a video about her brownies), Cesar Zapata (The Federal in Miami), Curtis Stone (He’s smiling at/around me!), Martha Stewart (She’s waving at me! Ish…), Robert Irvine (Restaurant: Impossible), Gariel Ferguson (hails from Jamaica!), Ray Lampe (Dr. BBQ), Chris Lilly (Big Bob Gibson), Top Chef’s Hugh Acheson, Trisha Yearwood, and Top Chef’s Howie Kleinberg.

I enjoyed some wonderful traditional pork-based brunch faire and some not-so-traditional… served with a side of Trisha Yearwood and her most perfect voice. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, ehh?

SOBEWFF Trisha Yearwood Brunch via @jennyonthespot
Hugh Acehson’s dish – Anson Oats with Smoked City Ham, Poached Egg, Hot Sauce Butter, and Crisp Pork Rinds was probably my favorite of the morning. I can honestly say I have never paired oats with egg and smoked pork. His dish inspired me to think out of the box more when it comes to breakfast. That takes bacon and eggs to a whole other level for me. And I must add, I don’t know how Hugh smoked that pork, but MAH GAWSH it was the definition of delightful.

I can’t forget the Swine and Wine!

SOBEWFF Swine and WIne via @jennyonthespot
I was so excited when I realized I was going to get to see Duskie again! It was at the Swine and Wine I got to try the Pigna Colada and then my taste buds did die and go to heaven as they feasted on Lacquered Pork Lettuce Cups with Black Garlic and Black Vinegar… a recipe crafted to evoke umami. And it did.

While there, I was also able to meet the creator of the La Caja China – Roberto Guererra. The La Caja China is a box. For cooking pigs. And other things, but in the above picture (center row) you can see what this box of tasty-bbq goodness is all about.

And now I don’t just want a charcoal grill… I want a La Caja China.

THINK OF THE PARTIES, PEOPLE!!!

Aaaanywho.

The festival was an amazing experience that left me feeling inspired to enjoy cooking… to break out of my pre-packaged-spice-style way of cooking pork chops, etc… I left reminded that cooking is an experience, not merely a function. It’s an act of love – to share with family and friends.

And also when you make really good food, people think you are awesome.

I like it when people think I am awesome.

I told you in an earlier post that my focus word for 2013 is LOVELY. I left Miami reminded that another place I can bring this commitment into my life is in the kitchen. Or on the grill… Creativity also happens in the cooking process, and it’s so very much a way to show love to family and friends. Nothing says love like a good food.

Well, saying “I love you.” Says love, but then… GOOD FOOD.

*Disclosure: Just so you know, I am working with the National Pork Board this year… a Pork 5 member. I will be sharing about certain pork goodness throughout the year. I would have talked about bacon anyway, might as well make this thing official. And just in case it isn’t clear: all thoughts, musings, and digressions are my own.*

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2 Responses to “Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival: Part 2 (Pork Passion Pursuits!)”

  1. Lisa says:

    OHHHHHH! You had so much fun! Sorry you had to come back. But I’m not.

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