5 Best Things Spotted at South Beach Wine & Food Festival

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Paula Deen and Lee Brian Schrager

Paula Deen makes an unannounced public appearance and Sports Illustrated swimsuit models take over Delano -- it was all part of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

On Sunday, South Beach Wine & Food Festival wrapped up a stellar event that saw more than 60,000 attendees at private dinners and ticketed events with a slew of celebrity chef hosts like Tyler Florence, Danny Meyer and Rachael Ray. South Beach was overrun with foodies and celebrities alike, who forked into some pretty tasty dishes. These were the five best things that happened during SOBEWFF.

VIDEO: Paula Deen Says She's 'Back in the Saddle,' Rides Food Network Star Robert Irvine

Paula Deen's Unannounced First Public Appearance Since Her Shameful Exit

Despite raised eyebrows, SOBEWFF's founder Lee Schrager's somewhat BFF stance with Paula Deen allowed her an all-access pass to the festival, of which she took full advantage. During the Fried & True fried chicken seminar hosted by Schrager at Ritz Carlton South Beach, Deen herself crashed the party with an unexpected cameo. She also had a basket of biscuits in tow. "We have come from a very hard summer, my family and I,” she announced. “I want to apologize to those who did not hear me." She also made another cameo at both the Grand Tasting demo and the hipster-laden Thrillist.com BBQ at Eden Roc, supporting her son, Bobby Deen, who was hosting the event. When Bobby was addressing the crowd, he pulled his mom on stage and called her "my hero." Pandora Vanderpump (daughter of Lisa Vanderpump from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and now on Vanderpump Rules) showed up with her husband Jason Sabo.

The Raleigh Hotel Gets Much Top Chef Love

The Raleigh, taken over by the SBE Group last year, had a small Buddhas and Bellinis Yoga event for SOBEWFF but the hotel itself seemed to draw tons of famous chef fans. Anthony Bourdain, who hosted the sold-out Ocean Liner Dinner aboard a cruise ship, shacked up at the Raleigh while most chefs were being hosted at Loews Miami Beach. Jose Andres, who helms several restaurants at SLS properties, dined at the Raleigh's new signature restaurant, Restaurant Michael Schwartz. "We're great friends," he said regarding Schwartz. Andres also hosted the Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament at Turnberry Isle Resort.

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Daniel Boulud Hugged It Out with his Fans

While many top chefs held private dinners where tickets were upward of $300, they didn't get too intimate with their dining fans. As most chefs do, many made their cameos, quick speeches and escaped back into the kitchen. This wasn't the case for Daniel Boulud, who hosted an intimate lunch at JW Marriott’s db Bistro Moderne to celebrate his new coffee table book Daniel: My French Cuisine. During the dessert course, Boulud visited every single table to take photos, shake hands and hug it out with 100-plus guests, personally signing books. Pre-lunch, he stood on top of the marble bar and thanked everyone for coming. 

2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Take over Delano

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit models have been banging out some major promotion for the 50th anniversary issue. This past month, Air New Zealand debuted their in-flight safety video in the Cooks Islands that features the models. It’s already garnered more than 3 million views. At SOBEWFF, the models helped host Michael Symon (The Chew co-host) for The Q Volleyball Tournament with Moet Hennessy at Delano. John Legend was arm in arm with wife and SI cover model Chrissy Teigen. The models suited up for a game of volleyball against Spike Mendelsohn, Michael Symon, March Murphy and Pat LaFrieda. Jamie Foxx and Seattle Seahawk's Richard Sherman joined the festivities.

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Best Swag was at Modern Mexican with a Spanish Twist

At Modern Mexican with a Spanish Twist, held at Intercontinental Miami's Toro Toro, famed Mexican chefs Richard Sandoval and Bruno Oteiza hosted an intimate dinner with Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, a master tequila sommelier who co-owns Casa Dragones out of San Miguel. The exclusive tequila is founded by MTV creator and media mogul Robert W. Pittman. Tickets for the plated dinner were $250, but diners were treated to full Casa Dragones bottles at their tables. One bottle of the limited run of tequila, only 24,00 bottles a year, costs $275;  a shot of Casa Dragones is nearly $100 at high-end bars. In attendance was executive chef Craig Strong of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach

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