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clock Feb 25, 2007 1:01 am US/Eastern

Rachael Ray Serves Up Fun At Wine & Food Festival

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Lisa Petrillo
Reporting

(CBS4) SOUTH BEACH The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is in full swing, with more than 18,000 people expected to visit the annual food-fest before it comes to a close on Sunday.

On Saturday, celebrity cook and national talk show host Rachael Ray made an appearance on South Beach as she whipped up some popular dishes before a sold out crowd that came to see her.

“I love it, it’s great,” said Ray. “We come every year.”

On Saturday’s menu was a special “Kid’s Kitchen” event, where children helped Ray create special breakfast and dinner lunchboxes. For Ray, the Kid’s Kitchen is her favorite part of the Wine and Food Festival because she says cooking with children is a good way to teach them some very helpful life lessons.

“Food teaches kids to share and to not take themselves too seriously,” says Ray. “You have to have a sense of humor if you want to be a cook because it doesn’t always come out perfectly.”

When Ray wasn’t catering to kids, she was also enjoying some of the more adult segments the Wine and Food Festival had to offer.

“We started off the festival with 20 different burgers and beer from Amstel Light,” said an exuberant Ray. “It’s not a bad way to go.”

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, hosted by the Food Network, is a national, star-studded, four-day event that showcases the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirit producers, chefs and culinary personalities.

Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University, the festival benefits the Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center, both located at FIU.

The South Beach Wine and Food festival will also serve as host for the first-ever awards show, the Food Network Awards. The Awards were taped on Friday night and will premiere on Food Network, Sunday, April 15th at 9 PM.

Now in its sixth year, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival began as a one-day festival known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. For five years, the Florida Extravaganza showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with food from local restaurants and chefs working with students of FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Last year, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary and today is one of the largest and most well-known festivals of its kind in the country.

The Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival will run through Sunday. Click here for a complete list of events from the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s official website.

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