World famous South Beach Wine & Food Festival is bringing back “The Cookout.” It’s part of the four-day culinary extravaganza and putting a spotlight on African American chefs in the country. Deco’s got a taste of what to expect at this flavorful gathering.

For 23 years, people have been walking the sand of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Sipping and tasting to your heart’s desire. Founder Lee Schrager knows a thing or two about making this culinary event bigger and better every year.

Lee Schrager, founder, South Beach Wine & Food Festival: “It started in South Beach. We’re in Coral Gables, we’re in Coconut Grove, we’re in South Miami. The opportunity to spread out to these communities that are now great areas for dining is really important as well.”

Yes, like being poolside at the Eden Roc in Miami Beach. where you’ll find “The Cookout.”

Lee Schrager: “JJ Johnson is hosting ‘The Cookout.’ We launched it last year. JJ is very committed to this event. We also just added Angela Yee as a co-host of the event. It’s going to be a great lineup again, celebrating diversity.”

The former co-host of the nationally syndicated radio morning show “The Breakfast Club,” Angela Yee can’t wait.

Angela Yee: “It’s really going to be exciting to meet the chefs from restaurants that you may know and frequent. And to see 10 top Black chefs from Miami and also from all over the country all in one place is a big deal.”

And looks like she’s SoFlo-bound with Deco on her mind.

Angela Yee: “Everybody knows Deco Drive. So I did purchase a place in Miami, so you should be seeing me a lot more once it’s fully built.”

For now, she’s joining celebrity chef, JJ Johnson on stage at “The Cookout.”

JJ Johnson: “Doing everything from jerk to beef patties, to fish fry like myself, vegetarian items, vegan items. I don’t think you’re going to get food better at any other event. ‘The Cookout’ for sure will have the best food.”

OK, chef’s calling it! It’s all love at this foodie get-together.

JJ Johnson: “I love going. I love the camaraderie. I love the food. I love being able to touch people. You’d be meeting great folks, you’d be drinking, having a great time. But the one thing you’ll be doing is celebrating Black culture.”

One local chef pulling up is Daren Reid of Purple Lit Oyster Company.

Daren Reid: “I’m just grateful to be in a room with a lot of popular chefs that’s already established. I do chargrilled oysters in different flavors. I have the original chargrilled oyster with Cajun butter, and I have another one, it comes with an andouille sausage on it.”

Sharing this unusual pairing is his love language to the world.

Daren Reid: “It’s life-changing, to be honest, and I’m not just trying to sell myself, but it’s a very good taste, very different taste, and they’re not going to be able to eat just one.”

Tickets for “The Cookout” are $150. The event is on Feb. 24 from 4 to 7 p.m.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

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