A taste of Texas featuring culinary all-stars.
For a third year, the Austin Food & Wine festival will bring a bevy of culinary all-stars, including world-class chefs, sommeliers, cocktail experts, culinary personalities and rising stars to Austin. From April 25 through 27, the festival will offer more than 40 events taking place during three days, including hands-on grilling demonstrations, interactive firepits helmed by an all-star lineup of Texas chefs, panel discussions, Grand Tasting tents offering food, wine and cocktail tastings, live music and book signings.
Highlights: A New Addition
Feast Under the Stars will be hosted at Austin’s Butler Park. This pre-festival dinner will be a separately ticketed event, held April 24. Feast Under the Stars is an intimate, outdoor celebration featuring five Texas chefs preparing an al fresco dinner. The collaborative, family-style menu will be prepared by Chefs Tim Love, Tyson Cole, Kent Rathbun (Abacus), Chris Shepherd (Underbelly) and Jodi Elliott (Bribery). Tickets for Thursday’s Feast Under the Stars are $185 per person, and include paired wine and parking. They can be purchased separately from the festival pass here.
The 2014 festival kicks off April 25 with the Taste of Texas, held at Republic Square Park in the heart of downtown Austin, with a performance by Escort. With a lineup showcasing the Lone Star State’s brightest chefs, the Taste of Texas will feature Tatsu Aikawa (Ramen Tatsu-Ya), Alexis Chong (Sway), Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurant Group), Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher (Lenoir), Omar Flores (Driftwood), Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner (The Pass & Provisions), Diego Galicia (Mixtli), James Holmes (Lucy’s Fried Chicken and Olivia), Matt McCallister (FT33), Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller Barbecue), André Natera (Village Kitchen and Toko V), Hugo Ortega (Hugo’s Restaurant and Backstreet Café), Jesse Perez (Arcade Midtown Kitchen), Blaine Staniford (Grace), Philip Speer (Uchi and Uchiko) and Justin Yu (Oxheart).
Rock Your Taco Competition
Saturday evening’s Rock Your Taco competition brings out the competitive side of all participants. With live music from JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, the event features chefs who will square off against one another to create the ultimate taco. Winners will be chosen by an esteemed panel of judges, including Christina Grdovic, Graham Elliot (Graham Elliot Bistro) and Andrew Zimmern (television personality). Two-time Rock Your Taco champion Tyson Cole will defend his crown against the likes of Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO, Tortas Frontera and Frontera Fresco), David Bull (Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen and Bar Congress), Richard Blais (author, Juniper & Ivy, FLIP Burger and The Spence), John Currence (author, City Grocery Restaurant Group), Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine and Odd Duck), Mike Lata (FIG and The Ordinary), Tim Love, Georgia Pellegrini (chef and author), Monica Pope (Sparrow and Beaver’s), Kent Rathbun, Chris Shepherd, Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon) and Tandy Wilson (City House). Jeni Britton Bauer (Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams) will offer a sweet end to the night.
Take to the Pits
The festival grounds at Butler Park will once again be activated with interactive live-fire stations, where Texas chefs will cook over firepits and offer tastes to attendees throughout the weekend. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from last year, the 2014 program will feature two firepit stations, showcasing four chefs each day, each offering a front-row experience cooking with live fire. Chefs include Tim Byres (Chicken Scratch and Smoke), Jason Dady, Ned Elliott (Foreign and Domestic), Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue), Bryce Gilmore, John Russ (Lüke San Antonio), Paul Qui (Qui and East Side King) and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo).
The Chefs’ Showcase features a dynamic roster of chefs serving tastes of their signature dishes to attendees. On Saturday and Sunday, mix and mingle in the tents while enjoying bites from Chefs’ Showcase participants John Bates and Brandon Martinez (Noble Sandwiches), Stefan Bowers (Feast Restaurant), Shawn Cirkiel (Parkside, Olive & June, Chavez and The Backspace), Kassie Harris (Whip In), Chris Hurley and Jennifer Costello (Bonneville), Allison Jenkins and Janina O’Leary (LaV), Josh Jones (Salt and Time), Lawrence Kocurek (Trace), Rick Lopez (La Condesa), Jeff Martinez (El Chile), Sarah McIntosh (Épicerie Café and Grocery), Scott Mechura (Goodall’s Kitchen), Sandi Reinlie (Vespaio), Josh Watkins (The Carillon) and Kevin Williamson (Ranch 616).
Drinks to Consider
A star-studded collection of sommeliers, beverage directors, mixologists and craft beer experts rounds out the Austin Food & Wine Festival lineup, including Master Sommelier Devon Broglie, Master Sommelier Craig Collins, sommelier Jill Gubesch (Frontera Grill), Food & Wine’s Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle, sommelier Vilma Mazaite (LaV), author Mark Oldman and Nate Wales (La Condesa and Sway). Tickets for the 2014 Austin Food & Wine Festival are available in two options: Taste ($250) and Savor ($850). The Taste pass includes access to more than 40 demos, hands-on experiences, seminars and tastings, and daily Grand Tasting events. Attendees who purchase the Taste pass also have the option to add on tickets for Friday night’s Taste of Texas event ($150) and/or Saturday night’s Rock Your Taco competition ($150). The Savor experience includes priority access to all demos, tastings and hands-on experiences, private Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday, access to a VIP lounge with a bar and additional tastings, and access to both the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco evening events. Tickets for Thursday’s Feast Under the Stars are $185 per person, including paired wine and parking, and are purchased separately from the festival pass.
All tickets available at austinfoodandwinefestival.com/tickets.
Photo by Cambria Harkey.