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Trends Of The Food Industry

The music industry comes together at South by Southwest in Austin every year, and the film industry gathers at Sundance in Park City. So where do the big names in the culinary world flock? To the hot scene at Miami's South Beach, where they attend the annual South Beach Wine and Food festival (SOBE), presented by industry magazine Food & Wine.

More than 53,000 foodies, eaters and chowhounds attended the event last month, serving up signature dishes at hip venues around Miami.

The nearly $600 billion restaurant industry is the nation’s largest private sector employer, according to the National Restaurant Association. Sales declined for the first time in 40 years in 2009, but industry analysts are optimistic about 2011 and say consumers are starting to dine out again.

CNBC was there talking with the culinary world intelligentsia to get their take on trends in the industry. Click ahead for a virtual taste trip.

By Eileen Wu, CNBC Producer
Posted 22 Mar 2011

Photo: South Beach Wine and Food Festival