posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by Rebecca Brooks
It’s hard to believe that this was my fifth year at the festival. The first year I was working with Rachael Ray, and then as we brought on additional Food Network clients, including Ingrid Hoffmann, Cat Cora and Guy Fieri, I needed more staff to manage both the press and to support the clients.
This year Guy Fieri, Gary Vaynerchuk and Ingrid Hoffmann were part of the festival. Each had several events so 2 amazing women (Brookette’s) from the office came down, but on our way we hit a major roadblock…SNOW. After repeatedly cancelled flights and a ton of stress we arrived…but two days late.
We missed some of my favorite events, like Burger Bash and Bubble Q, as well as Gary Vaynerchuk’s phenomenal wine and food pairing event, but we arranged all the media beforehand and everything ran smoothly. It is times like this when you realize how amazing clients can be. When Ingrid heard we were snowed in, she actually offered to send her assistant to go and help our OTHER clients in any way. What a great feeling!
We arrived in Miami just in time for dinner, and boy was I hungry. I saved a million calories from missing a few events so was ready to catch up. We were personally invited by an uber famous Miami chef and restaurateur, Jonathan Eismann to go to his newest restaurant Q (as in BBQ), which is one of his four restaurants in the Design District. I went with Ingrid and a small group and when we walked in the door we found shots of tequila waiting for us on the bar.
We ate the most tender, tangy ribs, brisket, pulled pork, salmon, sliders, and more. It was incredible.
Then we headed over to Rachael Ray’s fabulous party with Guy – he and his wife Lori walked the red carpet.
Next we headed to the beach where we met Guy, Gary, and a group of media and friends from talent agencies all over the country. It was a blast!
From there we rolled to a private after party for the talent only, and before I knew it, it was almost 4am.
Have I mentioned the cold? It was the coldest month in Miami’s history, so as you can imagine, most girls packed their little dresses and are probably home now with pneumonia.
After four hours of sleep, Erika and I jumped (well maybe I should say crawled) out of bed for a breakfast meeting with a fabulous talent agent from California. We talked about a few exciting projects, then headed to our second meeting with two journalists, then off to try Jonathan Eismann’s new pizza place, Pizza Volante. After that our day kicked into high gear – went to the beautiful new W Hotel where Gary had his second event - a wine seminar. It was sold out and everyone was so pumped to be there. It’s amazing to watch Gary in action – I never get tired of it. He captivates the audience with humor, great stories and incredible knowledge of the biz – he’s an amazing teacher.
Then we headed over to the Grand Tasting Tent to ensure Ingrid did her interviews after her HSN demo and book signing. Did I mention she is also shooting a pilot? So she had a crew shooting her exciting life all day. After the signing, we went to the VIP media tent to meet Guy, execute a few television interviews and then sat backstage with him as he prepped for his on stage demo. While waiting, we sat and talked with Morimoto, Duff, Robert Irvine, Rocco, Anne Burrell, Lee Schrager (the guru behind the festival), and many other exciting and gracious Food Network stars.
For an hour leading up to Guys event, the crowd started building - hundreds of very excited fans were anxiously awaiting his arrival . When his demo started, I was on the side of the stage along with his team watching the crowd who went absolutely wild…no bra throwing this time, but incredible energy. Guy brought his LA DJ so the music was off the hook. A few min into his demo of Hong Kong noodles (which I’ve made with him – they are amazing), his buddy Stretch threw on his cape, grabbed the 5-foot tall margarita machine, and wheeled it out on stage as ACDC blasted. Guy and his crew made margaritas for everyone and his friends including Ingrid, Morimoto and Anne came on stage and started dancing…words can barely describe it!
After the event, Ingrid and our teams jumped on a golf cart and raced back to the hotel to get ready for Guy’s closing party which was at the Gansevoort Hotel in the back on the beach. Guy made some of his favorite foods for the party and his DJ was there spinning,
while Guy posed for endless pictures and signed autographs.
One of my friends from People Mag was there who I’ve worked with for years and while she has interviewed Guy and featured him before, it was at this party with the screaming fans and flashing cameras that she saw first hand the hysteria that surrounds him.
It was a fantastic festival and at the end of the day all the clients were happy – their events were successful, they did some great interviews and even had some fun along the way.
Till next year…