chefs

The Hotel at Auburn University’s executive chef, Chef Leonardo Maurelli, and Chef David Bancroft, of Auburn’s Acre restaurant, will be participating in the South Beach Food & Wine Festival.

Contributed

The Hotel at Auburn University’s executive chef, Chef Leonardo Maurelli, and Chef David Bancroft, of Auburn’s Acre restaurant, will be participating in the South Beach Food & Wine Festival for the first time on Friday, Feb. 26 in Miami Beach, Fla.

They will be working closely with Chef Michel Nischan at the "Best of the Best" tasting table. Chef Michel Nischan is a renowned chef in addition to a three-time James Beard Foundation Award winner.

The "Best of the Best" is an event sponsored by the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. This particular event offers guests the rare and unique opportunity to directly sample the best and most gourmet creations from 60 of the nation’s top chefs. These samples will additionally be paired with more than 100 wines.

After working alongside Chef Michel at last year’s Hospitality Gala, which has served as the main fundraising event for the Hospitality Management program at Auburn University since 1992, both Chef Leo and David were personally asked by Chef Michel to assist with the tasting table that will be featured at the festival. 

“It is a huge honor to have such a decorated, prolific and award winning chef, like Michel, think highly enough of you to ask for your assistance and participation,” said Chef Leo.  

The tasting dish that will be featured at the "Best of the Best" event will include a recipe from Chef Michel’s cookbook as well as various dishes from Chef Leo and David. In fact, Chef Leo will feature an assortment of dishes that are available at A∙T (Ariccia Trattoria) including the smooth kabocha squash puree and raw Brussels salad. The other dishes that will be available for tasting include Seared Salmon with Ancient Grains and Hull Pea Chow Chow, Shrimp Croquettes and Manchego Truffle Mini Bites.

Chef Leonardo Maurelli returned to The Hotel at Auburn University in June 2015 to take on the role of executive chef. He was named the “2011 Chef of the Year” by the Alabama Restaurant Association/Alabama Hospitality Association. Born in the Republic of Panama and raised in South Alabama, Chef Maurelli’s cooking style is greatly influenced by his family’s Italian and Latino backgrounds as well as the years he has spent living in the South.

The South Beach Food & Wine Festival is an annual festival held in South Florida throughout the last week of February. This four-day destination event will feature the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. This particular festival consists of more than 80 different events across South Florida, including intimate dinners, seminars and walk-around tastings. The "Best of the Best" tasting event will be held in Miami Beach, Fla. from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26.