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Restaurant Girl Exclusive: SOBE’S 2008 Honorees Are…

On the heels of the Super Bowl, 2007’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival is just about to kick off their festivities, flooding South Beach with foodies from around the world.  These folks may not know a Colt from a Bear, but the odds are they could roast both in a mean cabernet reduction sauce.

The Food Network’s usual cast of characters will be out in full force: Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Nigella Lawson, Emeril Lagasse & Giada de Laurentis.  Hell, even Catherine Zeta-Jones & Aaron Eckhart, starring in the upcoming food-focused flick, “No Reservations”, will be presenters at the first annual Food Network Awards.

As we all know, this year’s Tribute Dinner will honor Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze, the power team behind New York City’s celestial seafood shrine, Le Bernadin.  Martha Stewart also gets a respectful nod of her own at Sunday’s Tribute Brunch.

But guess who’s got the dirt on 2008’s awardees?  Without stealing Eric’s well-deserved thunder, it looks like another Frenchman will be honored next year.  South Beach Wine & Food Festival has just announced 2008’s awardees.  And the winners are… Jean-Georges Vongerichten for next year’s Tribute Dinner and the Tribute Brunch goes to… Jamie Oliver .

With a flurry of successful restaurants and stars under his belt, Jean-Georges Vongerichten has proven himself a worthy honoree.
Afterall, he did score four stars at the Lafayette in The Drake Swissotel at the tender age of 29, followed by three stars at both JoJo and his namesake Jean-Georges.  “We at the festival promise to put before him a meal worthy of the gentleman’s discriminating palate,” said Lee Schrager, founder and director of Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind being a seat-filler for that dinner.)

Next year’s foodie free for all will also pay homage to British chef Jamie Oliver, who made a name for himself at London’s world-renowned River Cafe, launching him into celebrity chef stardom with his cooking show, “The Naked Chef”.

But seeing as 2008’s festival is over a year away, we’ll have to feast on the gossip at this year’s Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival.  Come February 22nd, let the culinary games begin…

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl

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