SOBE 2014: Chefs vs. Models Volleyball Tournament

By Dan Entin  |  February 21, 2014
Credit: Getty Images

The 2014 South Beach Wine and Food Festival has begun! We'll be bringing you coverage all weekend long so stay tuned for more.

First of all, we have no idea why this wasn’t a pivotal scene in an 80s or 90s teen movie, but this event turned the corner from “what are we all doing here?” to “holy sh*t” when a small white luxury bus with black tinted windows turned off Ocean Drive on to South Beach and a pack of Sports Illustrated swimsuit models got out. Twenty of them in a row, one after the other. (Cue slow motion, hair flips, and cheesy 80s rock soundtrack). Most of them were on their cell phones and were looking pretty apathetic, but it caused a stir; people were jogging over to the bus to take photos.

The cool thing: DC chef Spike Mendelsohn pulled off a SOBE event that avoided two big pitfalls of SOBE events - it wasn’t mobbed with consumers, probably because of the time of day, and you didn’t feel the insular crush of the industry. It felt like a fun beach party with 150-200 people. It was better than we were expecting.

Spike Mendelsohn was the host and master of ceremonies -- it was a volleyball tourney between celeb chefs and SI models -- along with Mark Pastore of LaFrieda Meats. Participating chefs included: Chris Santos, Harold Dieterle, Josh Capon, Franklin Becker, Marc Murphy, Tim Love, Jeff Mauro and more. Also Jamie Foxx was there. (Random.)

The models included: Jessica Gomes, Chanel Iman, Marloes Horst, Cris Urena, Emily Ratajkowski, Nina Agdal, Chrissy Teigen.

Here's what Spike had to say about the event:

Zagat: Why do this?
Spike: “We love all the events and the Food and Wine Festival but it can get repetitive for a lot of us. I saw a lot chefs getting burned out last year so I wanted to do an event where we just had fun, we don’t have to cook anything. We can have a food tie in but lets just take a few hours and have some fun. Last year we did it and we got a following - nothing huge, but people were talking about it. This year we wanted to do it again and Sports Illustrated wanted to team up with us, and we’re supporting the troops so its great.

Zagat: Any favorites to win?
Spike: My team is going to win, of course. First of all, I'm going to live up to my name Spike, and secondly we’re going to win." (HIS TEAM DID WIN.)

Zagat: I heard the models are good. That’s what two of the photographers were saying.
Spike: “They probably are. Why wouldn’t they be? Listen, if your job is to be in a bikini on the beach I think you must stay in pretty good shape.”

Zagat: What are you looking forward to this weekend?
Spike: “I always love throwing down at Burger Bash. I’m playing some golf with Jose Andres, to support his charity, on Friday morning. But i think Ill be looking forward to most Sunday morning when I can sleep in and not do anything.”