SERVED TWO WAYS
THE GRAZER AND GOURMAND’S GUIDE TO THE AUSTIN FOOD + WINE FESTIVAL.
The Grazer and Gourmand’s guide to the Austin Food + Wine Festival.
After the rainout of the 2016 Austin Food + Wine Festival, C3 Presents brings back a highlight of Austin’s spring social calendar April 28–30. As always, the core Texas chef lineup will be complemented by appearances from national luminaries like Christina Tosi, Ludo Lefebvre, and Ming Tsai. With two options for tickets— The Weekender ($250) and The All-In ($625)—the fest appeals to Grazers and Gourmands alike.
Big bites: The Weekender pass provides access to daytime events at Auditorium Shores on Saturday and Sunday, so head straight for the Chef Showcase. On Saturday, make a beeline for the trio of Supper, Stiles Switch, and Southerleigh; Sunday’s worthy stops include newcomers The Brewer’s Table, Fukumoto, and Bonhomie by Uchi veteran Philip Speer, who says: “It will we great to show people who we are. It’s an awesome opportunity in one four-ounce bite.”
Hot topics: Another signature feature of the festival are chef “fire pits.” Gather around the flames and ask questions of Bryce Gilmore (Odd Duck), Sonya Coté (Eden East),
and Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie) as they grill on the fly.
Learn something: Seminars fill up early, so plan ahead. Catch Food & Wine’s Ray Isle for witty, practical wine advice, and learn from local Master Sommeliers Craig Collins and Devon Broglie during their deep dives on California’s Paso Robles region. Must-see chefs include California cuisine godfather Jonathan Waxman and Food Network star Aarón Sánchez.
Dance and dine: The final blowout is the Grand Tasting Tent, a collection of wines, spirits, and light bites served to danceable sounds from Austin’s DJ Mel, famous for serving as former President Barack Obama’s regular DJ.
Love fest: The All-In pass, which includes everything mentioned above, is a foodie’s dream. During the day, Lonesome Dove chef Tim Love (a festival co-founder) presides over his grilling workshop in grand fashion: ZZ Top is played, and Tuaca shots are inevitable.
Night delights: Two evening parties cater to celebrity chef spotters. Taste Of Texas combines top-tier Austin talent with notable chefs from across the state. Festival veteran Diego Galicia of San Antonio’s Mixtli says: “Taste of Texas gathers the best Texas chefs and guests with the best palates, so the pressure is on.”
Saturday’s Rock Your Taco is the most competitive event of the weekend. San Antonio restaurateur and Iron Chef: Gauntlet star Jason Dady’s thoughts? “Everyone walking through that door wants the title. I’m from Tacotown, USA, and I’m ready to bring that guitar back to where it belongs!” Dady is joined by national stars like Amanda Freitag, Hugh Acheson, and Alon Shaya in the showdown, judged by Graham Elliot and Food & Wine’s Nilou Motamed. Since 15 tacos can be a bit much, try sharing or prioritizing your favorite chefs. austinfoodand winefestival.com
“I’M FROM TACOTOWN, USA, AND I’M READY TO BRING THAT GUITAR BACK TO WHERE IT BELONGS!”—JASON DADY
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Head to the Chef Showcase for delectable bites; Austin Food + Wine Festival co-founder Tim Love won the last Rock Your Taco contest with a fried beef tendon taco, made of braised oryx and pickled vegetables; pastry chefs will dish out the sweets; as a prelude to the fest, the five-course Feast Under the Stars is a separate ticketed event on Thursday night, featuring a course each from star festival chefs.
If the festival itself isn’t enough, snap up a ticket to the Feast Under The Stars prelude event on Thursday night. ƛELOW RIƠơT: Returning chefs include Austin’s Drew Curren (LEFT) and California’s Jonathan Waxman. Sweet treats (ƛELOW LEFT) are always a hit.