Symphony of the Americas Society

Nine of South Florida’s top chefs will showcase their talents during a multi-course dinner at Wines of the World, a gala benefiting Symphony of the Americas. The event will also feature scores of international wines.

The evening appeals to both serious wine collectors and novices just learning about the pleasures of the grape. Set for Friday, Oct. 23 at Hyatt Regency Pier 66, it includes a VIP reception followed by a wine tasting of 50 + vintages, passed hors d’oeuvres, an appetizer competition by student chefs and an elegant sit-down dinner. Capping the gala is an auction featuring rare vintages coveted by wine collectors, and dining packages from top Broward chefs. 

One of WOW’s most unusual features: Although wines are served with dinner, guests are invited to bring bottles from their own collections. “It encourages camaraderie and socializing that often doesn’t happen at other events,” said wine collector James LaBonte, who co-chairs the evening with fellow collector Jerry Rosenthal.

Chef & Vintner Honorees

Each year, WOW pays tribute to one of South Florida’s celebrity chefs, as well as a talented vintner. This year’s honorees are Angelo Elia, chef-owner of Casa D’Angelo in Fort Lauderdale and recipient of Wine Spectator’s “Best of” Award of Excellence and Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Award; and Antinori Family Wines, an Italian company that traces its roots back to 1385. Chef Elia will prepare one of the five dinner courses, and a member of the Antinori family will be on hand to chat with guests and share some history of their 28 generations of wine-making.

Other collaborating chefs are Oliver Saucy, Café Maxx; Gran Forno Bakery; Marco Pindo, Sapori; Per Jacobsen and Courtney Burks, Vienna Café & Wine Bar; Gregory McGowan, Hyatt Regency Pier 66; Toni Lampasone, Wine Watch Catering; Wes Bonner, Publix Aprons Cooking School & Chris Nealon of Aruba.

International Wines

The evening’s wines represent vineyards from all over the world. Founding Sponsor Andrew Lampasone, owner of Wine Watch, a boutique wine shop in Fort Lauderdale, encourages his suppliers and distributors to donate to an event that can showcase their pours. 

Amazing Appetizers

A 6 p.m. VIP reception will feature Antinori wines and Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. The main event & Vintners Tasting Tour starts at 6:30. In addition to passed hors d’oeuvres from participating chefs, guests will sample appetizers prepared by culinary students from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and vote for their favorites.

Jack Kane, director of the AI’s culinary programs, said the competition is a valuable opportunity for students to use their creativity. 

WOW is also an official event of the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international food and wine group.  “It’s a good fit for us,” said Kane, who is chapter president. “Chaine members, like supporters of the symphony, share an appreciation for the good things life has to offer.”

“Wines of the World is a way to enjoy great food and wines while benefiting Symphony,” said Renée LaBonte, SOA’s executive director. “Our 20th anniversary will be the best ever.”

For more information, call 954.335.7002 or visit

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