Moran plays culinary maestro at U.S. festival

Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:34pm EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - He does not have his own television show or line of cooking ware, but Mike Moran acts as the ring master for the largest annual U.S. food event.

As the culinary coordinator of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival since 2002, Moran makes sure some half a million servings of high-end burgers, exotic seafood and other gourmet dishes are properly served to 50,000 visitors.

The New York native said he oversees the preparation of nearly all the festival dishes planned by celebrity chefs like Tom Colicchio and Masaharu Morimoto.

At a sold-out barbecue and champagne beach party, for example, the 48-year-old would taste 50 or so of these dishes.

While not working on the festival, Moran has been the chef instructor at the Florida International University's school of hospitality and tourism management for 18 years.

He spoke to Reuters about last month's festival and what it is like dealing with top chefs.

Q: Describe the atmosphere of the festival.

A: "This is like a food Olympics."   Continued...

<p>Chef Mike Moran poses in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout</p>