The Visit Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival, celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2024, is a seven-day series of curated culinary experiences and Signature Events celebrating all who contribute to the ever-evolving epicurean scene in South Florida and beyond.
The festival takes place at various venues between January 8 and14th, welcoming headlining chefs: MasterChef judge Chef Aarón Sánchez, Chef Jason Smith, Chef Nancy Fuller and Chef Nicole Layog. In addition, the Festival will feature “must-see, must-eat” Signature Events.
“Growing each year with more renowned talent, more indulgent and hands-on experiences, and more must-savor concepts, it’s no wonder that the Visit Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival has become one of the most sought-after epicurean destinations for foodies from around the world,” said Stacy Ritter, president & CEO of Visit Lauderdale. “Celebrating our culinary community and fostering growth for our tourism economy, the Visit Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival serves up something exceptional for ‘Everyone Under the Sun.’”
A new year, a bolder lineup, guests can expect more exemplary talent, elevated signature events and access to some of the most talented epicurean visionaries of our time. Celebrity Chefs Showcase star-worthy skills New to the lineup of featured headline chefs, the VLFWF welcomes award-winning chef, TV personality, author and philanthropist Chef Aarón Sánchez to the main stage at The Grand Tasting on January 14, 2024. Known for his role as a judge on FOX’s hit culinary competition series MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, and Food Network shows Chopped and Chopped Junior, to name a few; his revered restaurant Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, LA; and as an author of a series of cookbooks and a personal memoir, Chef Sanchez will host an entertaining and dynamic cooking demonstration for all The Grand Tasting guests.
Sharing the stage are celebrity chefs Jason Smith and Nancy Fuller for a North vs. South showdown. Chef Jason Smith – a “Triple Crown” winner in the competitive kitchens of Food Network; winning Holiday Baking Championship (season 3), Holiday Baking Championship: Kids vs Adults(2016), and the ultimate title of Next Food Network Star(season 13) – will serve up a savory dish with a side of southern hospitality, paying homage to his native roots in Kentucky. Representing the North from Upstate
New York will be Chef Nancy Fuller, owner of Ginsberg’s Food and current judge of Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship and Spring Baking Championship. These two celebrity culinary masterminds will bring a flair of foodie theatrics to the main stage for a friendly battle of chef skills.
This year, the VLFWF demonstration stage will welcome Chef Nicole Layog – former Big Brother (Season 24) contestant, and seasoned chef taking a hands-on approach to mastering any and every challenge extended to her; from being a street police patrol officer in Broward County, FL, then balancing the culinary life with the reality show hype, to curating intimate dinners that make every
guest savor every thoughtfully cooked bite – Chef Layog will take the stage to turn every foodie fan’s dream into reality.
A Taste of What’s to Come
Consider the events below an appetizer to the full course menu soon-to-be-served by the Visit Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival. These Signature Events will ultimately be complemented by the VLFWF Dining Series and Culinary Education Series, where guests can sharpen their kitchen skills, learn how to make the ultimate cocktail, explore the world of wine and so much more. These
experiences are set to be announced this Fall.
Guests can shake things up at a master mixologist showdown during Bar Fight! A Spirited Competition – presented by the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority – hosted on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. at Rooftop @1WLO. Standing champion Myles Robinson, a mixology Influencer with @StandishCocktails, is certainly not shakin’ nor stirred by this
year’s stiff competition and is ready to defend his 2023 victory where he’ll go against master mixologists in a head-to-head, no-holds barred matchup that will declare the ‘Official Cocktail of DowntownFTL.’ Tickets to this ultimate shakedown start at $59 per person.
Get ready to rock as VLFWF rolls in the all-new Wok ‘n Roll, an Asian street food and music experience – hosted on Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. at Backyard. Celebrate the flavors of Asia paired with good old-fashioned ‘Rock ‘n Roll’. In partnership with Two Happy Buddha’s, this cultural experience will highlight Asian cuisine and culinary artistry throughout Broward County.
Tickets to this rockin’ good time start at $59 per person.
Taking the classic poolside BBQ to a level of luxury and epic showdown of pitmaster skills is the Poolside BBQ Battle – also presented by the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority – at Hyatt Centric Las Olas on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 7 p.m. All smoke and no mirrors here, as pitmasters showcase their best BBQ creations in a quest to be crowned 2024 Poolside BBQ Battle Champion. Tickets for this showdown start at $69 per person.
Foodies with a taste for more variety can feast their eyes (and fill their stomachs) at The Grand Tasting on Saturday, January 13, 2024 from noon-4 p.m. at Las Olas Oceanside Park. This beachside culinary celebration features four hours of unlimited bites and sips, cooking demonstrations, live music and much more. A recipe for entertainment, Chef Sánchez takes to the stage for a masterful chef demonstration, while Chefs Smith and Fuller show up for the show down of a North vs. South cook-off. And rounding out the on-stage sizzle, is Chef Layog also hosting a can’t miss cooking demonstration. Tickets to this four-hour feast range from $149 per person for VIP and $75 per person for General Admission.
Concluding the week-long epicurean excitement is Picnic in the Park presented by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital on Sunday, January 14, 2024 starting at noon at Las Olas Oceanside Park. Future foodies (aka the kiddos) and parents alike will enjoy a curated lineup of food trucks, hands-on culinary classes for the whole family, kid-friendly cooking demonstrations, live entertainment,
the JDCH Kid’s Zone and local artisan vendors. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, we’ve got you covered with a variety of wine and spirit seminars throughout the day. Admission is complimentary.
Cooking for a cause is an understatement when considering the Visit Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival dedicates its entire week-long program in support of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital (JDCH). “Going into five years of rounding up the most impressive chefs, mixologists, and restaurants that all benefit a tremendous cause, you can say we have a taste for philanthropic foodie fun, and aren’t done yet,” says Visit Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival co-founder Kate Reed. “We’re inspired and motivated more than ever by all the talent, purveyors and foodie-fun seekers, that unite each year to support our official charity partner, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. This is where the culinary community feeds our entire community by cooking up awareness, support and
funds for organizations that are equally as driven, like Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.”
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital will receive a portion of all proceeds from the seven-day culinary experience. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is one of the region’s leading pediatric hospitals, offering a comprehensive scope of healthcare services and programs in a child-friendly atmosphere. It is a full-service, pediatric hospital that treats minor illnesses, trauma-related
accidents and some of the most complex medical conditions.
Tickets & More Info
Tickets and more details can be found online at www.VLFoodWine.com