The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE gives thousands of FIU hospitality management students hands-on experience and invaluable networking opportunities each year. Melissa del Toro is a data analyst at Carlo’s Bakery. Her experiences at the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE have helped her land her dream job with Buddy Valastro, also widely recognized as the Cake Boss from the hit TLC series. Demi Marroquin, an event manager at the Turnberry Isle Miami, now oversees social and corporate events at the upscale resort, an opportunity resulting from a connection made at SOBEWFF®. While working as a student lead, Stephanie White was hired on the spot by Deco Productions, a preferred décor vendor of the Festival. These are just a few of the student success stories from SOBEWFF®, which held its 15th edition from February 24 to the 28. Just like Del Toro, Marroquin and White, over 1,200 FIU students got the same exposure to potential opportunities when they volunteered for more than 3,700 shifts at this year's Festival. SOBEWFF® gives students the opportunity to gain valuable skills, exposes them to every aspect of producing one of the country’s most popular wine and food festivals, and allows them to gain first-hand experience alongside event organizers, more than 200 sponsors and partners, and world-renowned chefs, like Bobby Flay, Katie Lee, Masaharu Morimoto, Rachael Ray, Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart, and more. Their experience pays off with connections and, in many cases, career opportunities. “SOBEWFF® was pivotal for my career. From developing very simple skills to exposing me to situations I had only dreamed about, the experience [...]
Two Hospitality Management students formulated a new burger recipe for Red Robin. The Loaded Baked Potato Burger, created by Michelle Nicole Diaz and Yolanda Marie Suarez, will be unveiled at he SOBEWFF® Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons and hosted by Rachael Ray on Friday, February 26. Photo: FIU hospitality management student and winners of the Red Robin Golden Robin Contest Yolanda Marie Suarez (left) and Michelle Nicole Diaz (right).
The Chaplin School recently awarded the Lee Brian Schrager Excellence in Leadership Awards to three dedicated hospitality management students. The annual scholarships were created five years ago by Southern Wine and Spirits, in honor of Mr. Schrager’s leadership and dedication to the Chaplin School. Michelle Diaz, Lori Siegel, and Kathy Fernandez (pictured from left to right), committed a tremendous amount of time volunteering at the 2015 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE and were recognized at a gathering in the School's Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Lab. Each student received a $5,000 scholarship. Michelle Diaz Excellence in Leadership Award for Culinary Management Festival Responsibilities Served as FIU Chef Michael Moran’s teaching assistant Volunteered over 90 hours managing nearly 10 booths, prepping for all the North Venue events, and pre-planning Aspirations "My plan is to one day own and manage a restaurant of my own. For now, I’m going to continue to cook great food with Chef Moran, get good grades, and keep working hard so I don’t have to later on." Lori Siegel Excellence in Leadership Award for Beverage Management Festival Responsibilities Manage front of the house Al Fresco Feast Worked closely with Professor Hebrank Aspirations "Aspirations for the future have been greatly influenced by the Wine of the New World class I am taking with Professor Hebrank. I would like to continue to explore my options in the wine industry for the future." Kathy Fernandez Excellence in Leadership Award for Special Events Festival Responsibilities 2015 – Human Resources Coordinator working alongside the Festival’s event managers to recruit, hire, and train the over 1,200 students; during the Festival, served as on-site coordinator for the Grand Tasting Village 2014 – Committee Assistant for Fun and Fit as [...]
Nearly 1,300 students from FIU provided managerial and logistical support at the 2015 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE last weekend. “The Festival gives our students a unique opportunity to work alongside industry leaders, presenting them with invaluable hands-on experience and the perfect setting to network,” said Mike Hampton, dean of FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. “We, at FIU, are honored to work with the Festival Founder and Director Lee Schrager and Southern Wine & Spirits to develop and nurture the next generation of hospitality and tourism leaders.” Students working the Festival are involved in many aspects of event planning, logistics, and operations that will help to prepare them for future jobs in management. “Our students use this festival as an opportunity to showcase their talents and hone their critical thinking skills,” added Hampton. Two students in particular developed the winning formulas for two new products, which will be launched at the festival: Alex Bello, whose Buffalo Mac ‘N Cheesy Burger recipe won him Red Robin’s Golden Robin Contest, will join Red Robin at the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Rachael Ray at the Festival on Friday, Feb. 20, where he will have the opportunity to showcase his pub-inspired burger creation. The marketing senior beat out 151 entries to earn a $10,000 scholarship and the chance to be featured on the menu at participating Red Robin® restaurants nationwide. Eddie Zeng recently won the second annual Badia Spices student spice competition. Badia will launch the new seafood spice at the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village on Saturday, Feb. 20. The winning blend is a combination of thyme, kosher salt, celery seed, fennel seed, cumin, paprika, black [...]