South Beach Wine & Food Festival: Jeff O’Neill from The Villa by Barton G. at the Wine Spectator Best of the Best Event
This week, the culinary world descends upon Miami for the 12th South Beach Wine & Food Festival, presented by the Food Network and Food & Wine magazine. Thousands of gastro groupies will pack the town from Aventura to Coral Gables, tasting exotic dishes, sipping luscious wines and cocktails, and angling for moments with celebrated chefs like Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, Daniel Boulud and Emeril Lagasse.
On Friday, February 22nd, the Fontainebleau hosts Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best event sponsored by Bank of America, always a highly anticipated centerpiece of the Fest. Nearly 100 participating wineries, from Antinori and Cloudy Bay to Mumm and Ruffino, will pour only offerings rated 90 points or higher by the magazine. (Bubbly from houses including Krug, Nicolas Feuillate and Perrier-Jouët also will be flowing.) These will be paired with dishes created by some of the country’s most acclaimed chefs, including Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony (who will be preparing his Ruby Red shrimp with jicama, citrus and aji dolce peppers), Marc Forgione (chili lobster, Israeli couscous and winter squash) and Norman Van Aken (Spanish steak tartare with montadito salad).
Among these talents will be our own chef Jeff O’Neill, who is representing The Villa by Barton G. and recently oversaw the new menu at Barton G. The Restaurant (www.bartong.com) on South Beach, now celebrating its 10th anniversary. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, he worked in Manhattan at such renowned restaurants as Le Cirque, Aureole and Daniel, and alongside Eric Ripert as sous chef at Le Bernardin. After moving to South Florida, he became executive chef for L’Escalier at The Breakers and The Mar-a-Lago Club, both in Palm Beach, and at Gibraltar at the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, which was recognized as one of America’s Hottest New Restaurants by The Daily Beast. Here, O’Neill gives us a taste of what to expect at Best of the Best.
What are you planning to serve?
Vodka-cured salmon with mustard caviar, frozen dill pearls and black bread.
Did you create this dish to be paired with the wine, or was the wine chosen to complement your dish?
Actually the chefs submit their dishes, and the wineries match the plates. There will be a wide variety of exotic food and some of the best wines both the Old and New Worlds. It should be amazing.
The event brings together many of the country’s greatest chefs and establishments. Are you able to interact much before or after the event, and do you exchange tips or inspirations?
Absolutely. And it is a wonderful opportunity for us as a team. Any time chefs and restaurateurs gather like this it creates a workshop of ideas and inspirations. What’s cool for me is that it is almost like a ‘family tree’—I can somehow connect myself to almost everyone involved, whether I worked with them in the past or crossed paths at some point along the way.
How will you bring the spirit of The Villa by Barton G. to the Best of the Best event?
We will stay true to the concept: refined plates and balanced flavors with impact. Though our dish consists of familiar foods, it will be represented in a very memorable way, which is the spirit of the Barton G brand.
What do you see as the trends in fine dining for 2013?
I would say continued tapas, small plates, and an increased focus on vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
What have been your greatest experiences at the South Beach Wine & Food Fest?
Honestly, some of my favorite moments have been working in The Villa restaurant during the festival, as the event brings in lovers of food and wine from around the world. It was during last year’s festival that Wine Spectator visited, which led to our invite this year. And the after-parties are always a blast.
How does a fair like this influence the public in their appreciation of food and wine?
It definitely brings a strong focus to the craft as a whole, and the festival does a great job in making it a priority to feature local chefs and restaurants. Miami certainly has much to offer.
To order tickets or for more information, please visit www.sobefest.com.
Ruby Red Shrimp with Jicama, Citrus & Aji Dolce Peppers
Chocolate Caramel Flexi Ganache, Milk Chocolate Microwave Sponge Cake, Caramelized White Chocolate Powder, Passion Fruit Cremeux and Foam
Marinated Rib Eye Cap with Homestead farmed oshinko
Grilled Branzino on roasted pepper coulis, ratatouille flan & artichokes
Loup de Mer in Kytherian hand picked sea salt crust with wild greens
Cotton Candy with burnt snapper sashimi and watermelon
Kettle Popcorn with lobster, pork bellies & truffle salt
Foie Dogs, Plum Jam, Spicy Mustard, Sweet Bun
Insalta Di Pontormo- salad of soft scrambled egg, porchetta piacinti, herbs, greens and cheese
Black truffle cheese crostini topped with braised Osso Bucco and micro mint lavender
Five spice pork belly gyoza: chestnut-miso butter + crispy herbs + pomegranate vinegar
Marinated white Anchovies on quinoa croquette with spicy saffron aioli
Braised Short Ribs, Black Truffle, Celery Root
goat’s milk yogurt panna cotta
Octopus Ceviche with togarashi popcorn
Tasting of winter citrus
Truffled Wild Mushroom Wonton
Vodka cured Salmon, dill pearls, mustard caviar, golden pumpernickel
Black Angus Beef Club Tartare
Sheeps Milk Ricotta Ravioli, Braised lamb Shank, turnip, parsnip
Heirloom apple ice cream on bacon cone with parmesan/milk crunch
Glazed Pork Belly, apple purée, burdock, soy caramel
Seared Scallop, Char Sui Pork Cheek & Charred Grapefruit
E. MICHAEL REIDT
Smoked Wisconsin Trout, Bourbon Apples, Parmesan Kale, Maple Cranberry, Gingersnap Bark
. BRUCE SHERMAN
Chianti Braised veal Cheek “Peposo” with smoked puree of Zlfini white beans, Castagnaccio Gremolata, Vin Santo raisins
Braised boneless Short Rib Bacon toast, fuyu persimmon glaze, jus, beurre gascogne
Beet, Liptauer, Dill
VINNY DOTOLO & JON SHOOK
Spicy yellowtail roll with Serrano pepper, avocado and wasabi mayonnaise
Wagyu Tataki with fresh truffle
Zuma Chcocolate Goma Bar
Chicken Fried Sweetbreads- peas & mushrooms- cheezy grits- country gravy
Glazed Prawns with Walnuts
HOU LAM DICKY FUNG
Tataki of Beef Tenderloin with radishes, shiso and Korean chili
“Crawfish Boil” Gnocchi with Brandy & Black Truffle
Homemade Bacon with violet mustard and a fresh pea & radish salad
Dry Aged Certified Angus Beef Prime Ribeye with main lobster creamed corn
Smoked Ribeye Filet with horseradish mash and blackberry foie gras reduction
Florida Red Snapper Tiradito
TAGS: Antinori, Barton G. The Restaurant, Best of the Best Event, Bobby Flay, Cloudy Bay, Daniel Boulud, Emeril Lagasse, Fontainebleau hotel, Food & Wine magazine, Food Network, Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony, Jeff O’Neill, Krug, Marc Forgione, Michael Mina, Mumm, Nicolas Feuillate, Norman Van Aken, Perrier-Jouët, Ruffino, South Beach Food & Wine Festival, The Villa by Barton G., Wine Spectator