When she received the call from Lee Schrager, founder and executive director of the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®), Belkys Nerey didn’t hesitate.
“He asked me to be a judge, and of course I said yes!” says the WSVN-7 anchor and FIU alumna with a laugh.
Nerey will be judging the “King’s Hawaiian presents the Taste of Aloha and Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown” event, which will be hosted by celebrity chef Anne Burrell on Friday, Feb. 23. Although she has had a few different roles with SOBEWFF® in the past, this will be her first time as a judge.
“I love [SOBEWFF®],” Nerey says. “It’s my favorite time of the year. I’ve been a big supporter since it started.”
For those who know Nerey, it probably comes as no surprise that she’s a huge fan of the annual Festival. Although her career is built upon roles as a reporter and news anchor, the Emmy award-winning journalist has found a way to incorporate one of her life-long passions — food — into her job.
“I’ve always been a foodie,” Nerey explains. “I’ve always loved going to restaurants and talking to chefs.”
While working as a co-anchor on Deco Drive, Nerey pitched her first food segment, which aired in September of 2000. “Bite with Belkys” — back then just a two-minute segment — was born. As time passed, she noticed that the compliments she had once received about Deco Drive had morphed into kudos for and questions about her food segments. She soon realized that there was potential for an entire show about this topic.
She was right, and it has led to quite a full plate.
These days, you can find Nerey hosting her “Bite with Belkys” cooking segments, as well as her recently Emmy-nominated 30-minute “Bite” specials. She’s still bringing South Florida the news, too, co-anchoring the 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts, alongside Craig Stevens.
When asked how she manages to keep achieving new goals, Nerey credits her drive in part to her time spent at FIU.
“As a student, I learned the discipline and tenacity that it takes to keep working at your goal — whatever that goal may be,” she says. “I’m still reaching new goals based on what I learned at FIU.”
When Nerey returned to her alma mater to participate in the “Hispanics in the Media” roundtable event, which took place at the Biscayne Bay Campus, she couldn’t help but be impressed with how much the university has changed since she graduated in 1989 with a bachelor of science in communication.
“It’s grown in leaps and bounds,” she says. “It’s so good to see how many students are choosing FIU for their education. It’s a testament to the leadership.”
When the Festival rolls around, she hopes that many of her fellow alumni will come out and support FIU.
“If there’s one thing Panthers love, it’s a good party, and SOBEWFF® is one not to be missed,” Nerey says. “See you there!”