The Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce Fine Food & Wine Festival

Where: Sheraton Suites
Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek • 555 NW 62 Street, Fort Lauderdale

When: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Main Event 6:30-9:00 VIP 5:30-6:30

VIP tickets $85 each, or four for $300 Tickets $60 each, or four for $200

Must purchase tickets online at

The 2016 Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Festival, will gather some of the city’s finest culinary institutions and wine distributors for one day dedicated to pleasing the senses. If delectable food and fine wine isn’t enough to draw you in, then perhaps a charitable heart will. In addition to benefiting the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce, some of this year’s festival proceeds will benefit Woodhouse Inc., a non-profit dedicated to providing a safe and supportive residential community for individuals struggling with debilitating Cerebral Palsy. Here is your guide to this year’s festival.

A Tour of Isle Casino’s Fantastical Culinary World

By Danielle Charbonneau

Taking the behind-the-scenes tour of Isle Casino’s culinary world with Executive Chef Aaron Andryka made me feel a lot like Dorothy dropping into Oz or Charlie into the chocolate factory. My stomach grew giddy, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped in awe of the complex inner-workings of a casino that operates two enormous kitchens, four full-service restaurants (including a steakhouse called Farradday’s, an Italian restaurant called Bragozzo, a farm-to-table buffet called Farmer’s Pick and a Jewish delicatessen called Myron’s), plus a shiny, custom food truck dubbed the Lone Wolf, a quick-service Italian cafe and a coffee shop with a rainbow of homemade baked goods (guaranteed to bring out your inner fat kid).

There were no Oompa Loompas or flying monkeys, but there was a flurry of sights, smells and sounds equally mesmerizing. There were the complimentary bowls of juicy, kosher pickles at Myron’s; an aquarium with live Maine lobsters in the open-concept kitchen at Farradday’s; homemade gnocchi, a crank-wheeled rotisserie and gargantuan abstract chandeliers made of red, blown glass at Bragozzo (which looked a lot like giant fusilli pasta noodles intertwined and suspended from the ceiling). There were trays of asteroid-sized apple-cinnamon muffins fresh from the oven in the bakery. Then there was Farmer’s Pick buffet—a world in and of itself.

Bragozzo’s Creme Brûlée with Drunken Berries, Pasta e Fagioli, a classic Italian soup, and Mussels Ravigote

“There are little pockets of hidden jewels here,” said Jennifer Swope, Marketing Director of Operations at Isle Casino, “I think we have something that’s distinct and original. I think there’s something for everybody here.”

Farmer’s Pick is an à la minute style buffet with dishes inspired from around the world, each made from local ingredients (some as local as just behind the casino where Isle operates a two-and-a-half acre, seasonal farm). The buffet features a sushi station, made-to-order Asian wok, pizza window, mouth-watering dessert counter and Mexican bar replete with a lineup of about two dozen local Florida hot sauces, each with quirky names, a few with hand-drawn Iron Maiden art. (The hot sauce bar was Andyka’s idea, by the way). For the Pompano Fine Food & Wine Festival, Farmer’s Pick will be bringing single-serving Creme Brûlée with Drunken Berries: Blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are tossed in sugar, then cooked down with Grand Marnier. The sweet-n-tart drunken berries go perfectly with the creaminess of the brûlée and the crispness of caramelized sugar.

Bragozzo is an Italian eatery that takes a fresh approach to old world, Italian classics. Bragozzo boasts a wood-fired grill and serves several homemade pasta options including fettuccine and gnocchi. On the edge of the kitchen there is a long bar where guests can admire the chefs in action. Andyka recommends sitting there at least once as the chef will often pass over samples of piping-hot, homemade ravioli. For the Pompano Fine Food & Wine Festival, Bragozzo will bring pasta e fagioli, a classic Italian soup made with ditalini pasta, mirepoix pancetta, chicken stock, white kidney beans, tomato and shaved Parmesan cheese.

From the outside, Farradday’s (Isle’s upscale steakhouse) looks like a chic cocktail lounge. A round exterior wall made of floor-to-ceiling glass gives voyeuristic outsiders a look into the exclusive lounge, where a classy bar boasts high ceilings, a decorative stone wall, back-lit bottles and intimate, low cocktail rounds. Once one walks through the lounge to the dining room, however, the mood shifts. The dining room is lined with cavernous, private booths. Dim lighting and an impressive wine wall bring elegance to the space. Juicy steaks are Farradday’s specialty, but the menu also features a host of chicken and seafood options. For the Pompano Fine Food & Wine Festival, Farradday’s will be serving Mussels Ravigote—green lipped mussels on the half shell topped with a Ravigote sauce made of capers, gherkins, tarragon and parsley.

Chef Oliver Saucy & Cafe Maxx

Chef Oliver Saucy
Chef Oliver Saucy

By Danielle Charbonneau

It has probably been said before, but celebrity Chef Oliver Saucy has the perfect name. His stunning culinary creations are absolutely “saucy” — they’re creative, colorful, multi-cultural and have an emphasis on local seafood and produce. Whether it’s Atlantic hogfish snapper, fruits and citruses from the tropics, Creole spices from New Orleans, zesty Cuban herbs or chilies from Mexico, Chef Saucy draws inspiration from South Florida’s surrounding cultures. By letting ingredients drive the plate, Chef Saucy keeps things fresh for both his guests as diners, and himself as a longtime chef.

His creativity, however, can never be overshadowed by proper technique.

“At the end of the day, if you can’t put it all together with the French and Mediterranean roots I grew up studying, it just doesn’t work,” said Saucy, “One culture, one plate. We don’t want to get too confusing or it takes your red wine drinker right off the table. That’s the bread and butter for us–the red wine drinker.”

This blend of classic technique and innovative ideas is what Chef Saucy and Café Maxx is known for. It has made Café Maxx a Pompano Beach culinary destination for almost three decades. Saucy has been at the helm for almost as long. In 1988, Saucy co-purchased Café Maxx with the restaurant’s general manager Darrel Broek. The dynamic duo has run the restaurant ever since. Broek’s hospitable charm welcomes guests in the front of the house, while Saucy’s creations make them salivate at the table.

To keep things balanced, Chef Saucy breaks down the menu into thirds: one third is classic, so regulars know what to expect; another third is standard proteins prepared with seasonal ingredients; and the last is where Chef Saucy gets to be creative.

“The other third is whatever exciting thing we can get our hands on — whatever we feel like doing,” said Saucy. “We try to get the best available ingredients all the time.”


Sometimes those ingredients can include fresh fish straight from the boat. Other times a vibrant produce item from a local farmer, or a fine cut of meat. Saucy is proud to carry local ingredients. He showcases his proteins in a display case on the edge of the dining room, which he dubs the “Raw Buffet.”

After almost three decades of cooking, Saucy still exudes passion. Perhaps it runs thick in his blood; He learned his first fundamental cooking techniques watching his father in action as the Executive Chef in a resort kitchen nestled in the back of a medieval German Castle in the Black Forest region of New York.

“I grew up eating all kinds of crazy stuff. It would be like, ‘oh what did you have for dinner?’ ‘Oh, we had calves brains’,” said Saucy laughing.

As a young adult, Saucy studied at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park where his father also taught for 28 years. Saucy’s son worked in the Café Maxx kitchen for two years and is now studying at CIA and working at a high-end restaurant in Manhattan called Gotham Bar & Grill.

Saucy has also passed on his skills to non-relatives. For the 20th Anniversary of Café Maxx, 26 of Saucy’s protégés, who now run kitchens all over the country, came to congratulate him and thank him for his mentorship. For over 20 years Saucy has also been teaching cooking courses at Café Maxx during the summer months when the restaurant slows.

“The biggest class we had was 99 people. Holy moly,” said Saucy.

At the end of Saucy’s classes — which include topics like grilling meats, cooking lobster, or Mediterranean technique — Saucy serves a four to five course dinner, plus dessert with the recipes he taught.

“The classes bring a lot of energy in here. It’s a lot of fun,” said Saucy. “It’s relationship building.”

So what’s next for Chef Saucy and Café Maxx?

“You know I think it’s just to keep the focus on making quality food,” said Saucy. “That never goes out of style.”

Papa’s Raw Bar & Seafood World

Papa Hughie and his family, the Ganters, have been in the seafood business for four decades. August marks both the 40-year anniversary of Papa Hughie’s beloved restaurant Seafood World, and Papa’s 75th Birthday. Seafood World has become a Lighthouse Point institution — a must-visit for tourists, a regular destination for locals and a hot-spot for celebrity appearances through the years (including chef Gordon Ramsay, Priscilla Presley, Steve Wynn and
Muhammad Ali).

In 1976 Hugh (“Papa”) and his wife Joy Ganter opened Seafood World at a time when seafood was rarely celebrated as a culinary ingredient. Papa Hughie jokes that at the time, the only people who consumed seafood were Catholics on Fridays.

“People didn’t like or know enough about seafood. It was very tough for us at first,” said Papa, who had been a pilot before running Seafood World. Papa had been transporting wholesale products, including seafood, between the Bahamian islands and the mainland, and had supplied the original restaurant where Seafood World now stands. When the original owner racked up some debt with Papa, he offered Papa the restaurant as payment. Papa was reluctant at first.

“I didn’t want to do it, but we decided to stick it out. We ran it as a family with four to five tables,” recalled Papa. When his plane crashed shortly after acquiring the restaurant (which was originally called Fishtails & Seafood World), the Ganter family was left with little choice but to make the restaurant their bread and butter.

After having spent many years in the Bahamas, Papa and Joy had a clear idea of the kind of restaurant they wanted — one where guests could enjoy the freshest of seafood in a relaxed, Caribbean-esque and friendly atmosphere where recipes were simple and tasteful. They wanted the sauces and spices to enhance, not overpower, the seafood. It was this original vision that has carried the business for four decades and spawned a second family restaurant next door, Papa’s Raw Bar, which was opened by Papa and Joy’s son Troy about a year-and-a-half ago. Troy’s half-brother Christopher, a local fisherman and ocean enthusiast, works to supply both restaurants with seafood, while Troy operates the front-of-the-house at the Raw Bar.

“I’m a huge foodie and I cook,” said Troy, “but I’d rather be in the front of the house. I love entertaining.”

Troy, now 36, started busing tables at Seafood World when he was just 13. He went to college and swore he wouldn’t follow in the family footsteps. Instead, he started a wholesale operation, Best Stone Crabs, supplying fish, shellfish and signature salads to restaurants locally and throughout the Caribbean. Fate, however, had another plan. When a spot opened up in the strip next to Seafood World, Troy couldn’t resist. He bought the space and turned it in to an entertainment venue, raw bar and extension of the family business. The decor is an ode to Lighthouse Point pride — T-shirts from local businesses are pinned to the ceiling, photographs of regular customers line the walls and nautical souvenirs give the bar a welcoming, festive vibe. Local bands play live music regularly, and the menu is fun, with dishes such as Papa’s Gone Hibachi, Stonies by Billy Paradise and Fast Eddie’s Fried Rice, Papa’s Raw Bar boasts sushi and hibachi “better than Benihana,” said Papa Hughie. The bar sells more than 110 beers and 65 wines, features the Bimini Room, which is quickly becoming the go-to place for parties, and maintains a family-style theater. Troy also has his eyes on the lookout for a property to open a Latin fusion location in Pompano Beach and hopes to start an “Eat, Drink & Be Local” website.

For the Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Festival, Papa’s Raw Bar will be bringing their famous sushi boat, hibachi fried rice and some sweet chili shrimp.

The Pompano Beach Fine Food & Wine Festival Guide

The Committee

Starting at the bottom left to right Lisa Spinelli, Christine Ferns, Leila Moavero, Gail Farkas second row, France Miville, Marilyn Berkebile, Kathy Busker, Ruthie Brooks, Shane LaMar third row Ronnie Staton, Teresa Sebastian fourth row Ann Wernicke, Marina Single fifth row Richard Lewine, Sharon Bacon, Becky Ryan, Mike Franklin, Rosanna Meyers, Ken Stolar
Starting at the bottom left to right: Lisa Spinelli, Christine Ferns, Leila Moavero, Gail Farkas
Second row: France Miville, Marilyn Berkebile, Kathy Busker, Ruthie Brooks, Shane LaMar
Third row: Ronnie Staton, Teresa Sebastian
Fourth row: Ann Wernicke, Marina Single fifth row Richard Lewine, Sharon Bacon, Becky Ryan, Mike Franklin, Rosanna Meyers, Ken Stolar

Woodhouse: A House and a Home


Super National

About Author


This post was prepared by staff at Point! Publishing. For inquiries call 954-603-4553.

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