'Top Chef' Alum Headlines Food & Wine Festival

The United Way Miami Wine & Food Festival will start Wednesday, April 18, and run through Saturday, April 21, 2012, at Fontainebleau Miami BeachMary Brickell Village and Village of Merrick Park.

Bravo's Top Chef Season 7 winner, Chef Kevin Sbraga, and graduate of Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, will headline the Interactive Dinner on Friday, April 20. Fontainebleau's Executive Chef Thomas Connell, will direct an exclusive dinner during Cellar-bration on Saturday, April 21. All proceeds to benefit United Way of Miami-Dade, which supports more than 120 programs in the areas of education, financial stability, and health. Tickets are currently on sale.

After its successful debut in 2011, Brews & Bites Craft Beer Tasting will return as the opening event of this year's festival on Wednesday, April 18, sponsored by CBIZ. Guests will tap into 50 craft beers and micro-brews at dozens of tasting stations, with beers provided by Gold Coast Beverage and Brown Distributors, among others. Selections include: Cigar City Brewing, The Native Brewing Company, Palm, Boston Beer Company, Wynwood Brewing Co. and many more.

Guests will pair their beers with food samples from 30 local restaurants, including: Baru Urbano, Fado Irish Pub and Timo Restaurant. The VIP tasting begins at 6 pm, tickets are $75 per person. General admission begins at 7 pm, tickets are $55 per person.

Brews & Bites takes place at Mary Brickell Village, 901 South Miami Avenue, Miami.

On Thursday, April 19, longtime festival partner, Village of Merrick Park will host Taste & Toast Fine Wine Tastingsponsored by Miccosukee Resort & Gaming. The event is an outdoor fine-wine tasting where more than 65 wine producers and importers display more than 200 wines from around the world, with more than 35 area restaurants providing a culinary backdrop.

Guests will have the opportunity to speak with wine producers and chefs and share their experiences on Twitter for a chance to win great prizes. Participating restaurants include: 1500 Degrees, Crave, Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Sawa Restaurant and Lounge and Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, among many others.

There will be a VIP Lounge available during the tasting with special treats and surprises. The VIP tasting begins at 6 pm, tickets are $150 per person. General admission begins at 7 pm, tickets are $75 per person. Village of Merrick Park is located at 358 San Lorenzo Avenue, Coral Gables.

On Friday, April 20, the Food, Friends & Fun -- Interactive Dinnersponsored by Bacardi USA, begins with a Bacardi cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., featuring Oakheart Spiced Rum. Venue Magazine will host an exclusive lounge. WSVN 7's Belkys Nerey will serve as the mistress of ceremonies for the Interactive Dinner, which begins at 7:30 p.m., and includes a live auction in between courses and a silent auction throughout the evening. Tickets are $400 per person and $3,200 per table of eight. The Interactive Dinner takes place at the Fontainebleau, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.

The Festival culminates on Saturday, April 21, with its highlight event, Cellar-bration -- Good Food and Award-winning Wines, featuring an exclusive dinner under Chef Connell. This gastronomic experience will be inspired by the hotel's signature restaurants Gotham Steak, Scarpetta, and Hakkasan, featuring delectable and diverse cuisine -- from modern steakhouse and refined Italian, to four-star haute Chinese. Throughout the evening, guests will also enjoy stunning auction lots, entertainment and gold medal-winning wines from the Best in Glass Wine Challenge. A cocktail reception and silent auction will begin at 6:30 p.m.; dinner begins at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are $250 per person and $2,500 per table of 10. Cellar-bration also takes place at the Fontainebleau, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.

American Express is the presenting sponsor of the 17th annual United Way Miami Wine & Food Festival. 


News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.