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Culinary Convergence of Greatest Names in Industry to Benefit
Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management 
at Annual Fund Raiser; 2010 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

December 2009 - When the greatest names in the restaurant industry converge for FIU School of Hospitality annual fundraiser: 2010 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, February 25 – 28, 2010 it will not only be for good food and good fun, it was also for a good cause: Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. More than $2 million dollars has been raised for FIU School of Hospitality for student scholarships, and to enhance the experience of students by investing in program, faculty and facility enhancement.
For the 2010 Festival celebrity chefs and personalities such as Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Ming Tsai, Paula Dean, Bobby Flay, Michael Lomonaco joined famed South Florida based chefs such as Michelle Bernstein, Kenny Lyon, Michael Schwartz, Jonathan Eismann and Allen Susser – to name just a handful of participants -- to once again position Miami-Dade County as the culinary capital of the world during the festival. Everyone is drawn to the event, not just for the celebration, but also for the opportunity to benefit one of the leading hospitality programs of its kind in the world.
Formerly known as the “Florida Extravaganza”, proceeds from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival benefit FIU’s School of Hospitality. Over the past 10 years, over a $6 million dollars has been raised to enhance the students experience at the School of Hospitality by expanding the School of Hospitality Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were set aside for student scholarships.

In addition to lending their services to the cause of benefiting FIU’s School of Hospitality, many chefs worked with numerous students individually, offer the students an unparalleled experience. At this year's Festival, students will be paired with, in a mentorship style relationship, the following chefs: John Besh (Restaurant August, New Orleans), Scott Conant/Michael Priolo (Scarpetta/ Miami Beach), Todd English (Olives, NYC), Adam Perry Lang (Daisy May’s BBQ, NYC), Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s/New Orleans), Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto, NYC), Tom Neely (Neely’s Bar-B-Que, Memphis), Alfred Portale/John Suley (Gotham Steak, Miami Beach), Sue Zemanick (Gatreau’s, New Orleans), among others.

Video: 2009 FIU South Beach Wine & Food Festival
“The students of FIU are the real winners of this festival. They provide tireless support for the four-day weekend of events while reaping indispensable real world industry experience,” says Joan Remington, Interim Dean, FIU School of Hospitality.

FIU Hospitality Management senior AJ Mindermann, assistant culinary manager at the 2009 festival, knows first hand the value of working with industry leaders in a real-world experience. “The experience is priceless,” Mindermann said. “You can’t put a number on it. I got so many internship opportunities from chefs last year. The networking is terrific. It’s probably one of the biggest career-jumpers there is.”
Having just completed his second year in a leadership role at the Festival, Arthur was honored with the Barilla Best FIU Student Chef Award, and a $1500 cash prize.  Barilla established this award to recognize students at FIU’s School of Hospitality and who exhibit their commitment to and passion for the culinary arts.

Hundreds of other students benefit from real-world experience at the Festival. Experiences range from fulfilling thousands of ticket orders to restaurant solicitation, sponsorship fulfillment to meeting and greeting guests at myriad activities throughout the annual four-day festival. Overall, some 850 Hospitality majors – most with excellent internship experience already under their belts – worked in a variety of key capacities both before and during the festival.
“I hear comments like ‘the experience changed my life’,” said FIU Chef-Instructor and South Beach Wine & Food Festival Culinary Director, Michael Moran. “You don’t expect to go to school and have a teacher say that there’s a field trip to cook barbecue for 500 people.”
It’s little wonder that so many famed names are willing to lend their time and expertise to the festival and to FIU students. Hospitality and tourism industry executives from around the world visit the school annually to interview and hire graduates for key management-track positions in the vast array of fields in which FIU’s students are prepared. Today many of the school’s 9,000 graduates hold prominent positions in the hospitality industry around the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Asia.
Students at FIU’s School of Hospitality are highly sought-after for key reasons. One is the comprehensive curriculum that includes tracks for Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Hospitality Management, Executive Master of Science in Hospitality Management Degree Programs, PhD in Business Administration as well as Certificate Programs in various Hotel, Restaurant, Hospitality, Travel and Tourism specializations. Over 100 courses and 35 expert faculty members focus exclusively on hospitality and tourism management including finance, law, beverage management, culinary arts and hotel operations.
Students are required to work 1,000 hours in the hospitality industry and then complete a 300-hour internship. Upon graduation, students are prepared to compete for top positions in every aspect of the hospitality industry. To date, the School’s graduates have a 100% career placement record.
FIU’s excellence was one reason student Caroline Karlberg chose it when she decided to leave the world of finance for logistics management.
“I wanted real, hands-on experience and that was definitely something FIU’s School of Hospitality, offered in addition to its programs and staff,” Karlberg said. “I can’t believe this, but last year at this time, I was a financial analyst in New York City. And this year I am a graduate student at FIU School of Hospitality, working as a member of South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s logistics team, the largest such event in the country.” Caroline, assistant to SoBe W&F Logistics Manager Susan Gladstone, is also Student Associate Coordinator, working with her team of students to place 1000 students in various jobs at the festival.
“And what I have learned is unbelievable: just the amount of moving parts and people it takes to put together such an event is mind-blowing. I have never been on this side of an event, and I had no idea what goes into the back-end. Working this event has helped me appreciate all special events.”
“We provide our students the opportunity to get their foot in the door in the hospitality field of their choice,” said Dean Remington, FIU School of Hospitality. “Our students work on the ground, having real life experiences while making important contacts with industry leaders. It is gratifying to the faculty to know that international hospitality companies and corporations are selecting our students.”
It is also reason why, year after year, top figures in the industry are eager to help contribute to FIU’s School of Hospitality.

About Florida International University
Florida International University is a Miami-based, multi-campus, research university serving South Florida, the state, the nation and the international community. It fulfills its mission by imparting knowledge through excellent teaching, promoting public service, discovering new knowledge, solving problems through research, and fostering creativity.   For more information on Florida International University, visit

<>About Florida International University School of Hospitality
Collaborating with vibrant faculty, exploring a breathtaking array of real-lie opportunities in and outside of the classroom, and living the global experience in a one-of-a-kind metropolis -- this is the Florida International University’s School of Hospitality, home to one of the top six ranked hospitality and tourism programs in the US, as reported by the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education.  The school offers a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management. It also offers a Master of Science degree in hospitality management (available on campus and via long distance learning). In addition, the school offers an Executive Master of Science in hospitality management (available via long distance learning), as well as certificate programs in numerous specializations.   The school’s building on FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus includes state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for product and service development, research and testing facilities, and food management instruction. The 45,000 square foot building houses the school’s administration and faculty, the Hilton Training Kitchen, the practicum dining room, the Angostura Culinary/Lecture/Demo Classroom, the Statler Foundation Distance Learning Classroom, the Herbert W. Joseph Lecture Hall, the Jay W. Weiss Wine & Spirit Lab, the Marriott Executive Seminar E-Studio, the Sheraton Auditorium, and the Carnival Resorts Conference Room. The School is also home to the state-of-the-art Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center, a 4,500 square foot facility that features the latest technology for beverage tasting and analysis.  For further information, visit

Media Contact:

Lisa B. Palley
Palley Promotes
305 642.3132

Also See: Burt Cabañas Appointed Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board at Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management / March 2009

Burt Cabañas, Chairman & CEO of Benchmark Hospitality, Honored with Two Awards from Florida International University / July 2006

The Tianjin University of Commerce Completing $30 million Complex Where Students Will Study Hospitality and Tourism Management in a Joint Program with Florida International University / October 2005


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