Q&A: Greg Rice, Grand Wine Meister for the Lake Worth Food and Wine Experience (Part 1)

Categories: The Verbal Nosh


Greg Rice is one of South Florida's most recognizable personalities. The self-made millionaire and his twin brother, John, overcame tremendous adversity in their lives and in the process, became Palm Beach County legends. Though best-known as the pint-sized pitchman for Hulett Environmental Services -- the exterminators who had the foresight to snag Bugs.com as a domain name -- he's also a man who loves his food and drink. And he's not afraid to show it. 

Tomorrow, Friday, October 15, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., fans and foodies can meet him at the Lake Worth Food and Wine Experience. He's acting as "Grand Wine Meister" for the American Lung Association benefit, where a few dozen restaurants will allow you to sample lots and lots of little plates of their comestibles. Held downtown at the Cultural Center, it's a big night for the little guy. Greg tells us what to expect in this nifty Q&A:

New Times: I'm curious -- how does one get a title like "Grand Wine Meister"?

Greg Rice: 

Well, I haven't Googled it or looked up the term on Wikipedia to find out what it might mean. Two years ago, I started doing this for the American Lung Association. As you know, I'm very active in the community. I'm very visible not just in South Florida but the whole state. What I do is I host the event, and I'm the MC. I talk in between the music acts. There are People's Choice awards, like for favorite entrée or best dessert, so it's an opportunity for me to announce those winners. But I function mostly as the MC.

So, you must be a wine expert.

No. No, I've always said after the first glass, it's all good wine to me. I'm not a well-studied individual, but I love good food. And that's what some of South Florida's best restaurants are going to be exhibiting, if we can use that term. Big chains, small operators, and everything in between. They'll be doing entrées and desserts, sometimes both. The event is always at the mercy of the weather, but hopefully we'll be all right. 

It sounds like a good deal -- for 50 bucks, it's pretty much all you can eat and drink?

Yes, it is. It includes everything. And I know a lot of people don't like the idea of walking and eating at the same time, but the portions are smaller, and they're served on a really neat plate with a cutout for your wine glass, so you can hold your plate, your glass, and still have a free hand. 

Wow -- I've never seen one of those.

Me neither!

Which of your favorite restaurants are participating?

I have a few favorites, but they're very diverse -- if you look at my CD collection, you'd have a hard time figuring out what kind of guy I am. I'm a big fan of small plates. Not just because of my size; that's because I really, really love variety. I love everything except for liver.

Tomorrow Greg talks about Lake Worth politics and getting over the loss of his twin brother, John, who passed away nearly five years ago.

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