Foodie Paradise

Austin Food & Wine Fest packs 2015 lineup with celeb chefs and local favorites

Austin Food & Wine Fest packs lineup with celeb chefs and local faves

Richard Blais Austin Food & Wine Festival
Celeb chef Richard Blais returns to Austin Food & Wine Festival to defend his Rock Your Taco title. Photo by Nick Simonite/Courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Festival

Austin Food & Wine Festival has released a lineup flooded with local talent and national names for the fourth annual foodie extravaganza. More than 40 events will take place during the three-day festival running April 24-26. 

After an exclusive Feast Under the Stars dinner on April 23, the festival officially kicks off with Taste of Texas, showcasing the Lone Star State’s brightest chefs, on April 24. Hometown heroes (including Tatsu Aikawa of Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Alexis Chong of Sway, and Ned Elliott of Foreign & Domestic) will share the stage with such Texas culinary darlings as Justin Yu of Houston's Oxheart, Steven McHugh of San Antonio's Cured, and Michael Sindoni of Dallas' CBD Provisions. 
 
The main events take place April 25-26 when Auditorium Shores transforms into a culinary stage full of cooking demos, tastings, book signings and Chef Tim Love's infamous hands-on grilling event (yes, there will be tequila involved). The festival's ever-popular fire pits return this year and will be manned by a roster of chefs including David Bull (Congress), Paul Qui (Qui), Jack Gilmore (Jack Allen’s Kitchen) and Bryce Gilmore (Odd Duck, Barley Swine), and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo and Gardner). 
 
Also on Saturday and Sunday, local favorites will serve up signature fare at the annual Chef Showcase. Participants include John Bates (Noble Sandwich Co.), Shawn Cirkiel (Olive & June), Tyson Cole (St. Philip), Sonya Cote (Eden East), Andrew Curren and David Norman (Easy Tiger), Todd Duplechan (Lenoir), Kevin Garrett (Bufalina), Jesse Griffiths (Dai Due) and James Holmes (Olivia).  
 
Still hungry? Possibly the most talked about festival experience is Rock Your Taco, which returns to Republic Square Park on Saturday evening. Lee Fields will perform, while 2014 champion Richard Blais (FLIP Burger, San Diego’s Juniper & Ivy) defends his title against the likes of Hugh Acheson (Atlanta’s Empire State South, Five & Ten, The Florence, The National), Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer (Coppa & Toro in New York City and Boston) and many more.
 
Saturday night caps off with Sips & Sweets at Mellow Johnny's, featuring signature drinks and dessert bites from Texas pastry chefs Mary Catherine Curren (Easy Tiger, Arro), Thomas Calhoun (Lenoir), Janina O’Leary, (LaV), Callie Speer (Swift’s Attic) and Finney Walter (Olivia). 
 
The 2015 festival features expanded ticketing options which go on sale January 21 at 10 am. The All-In option ($550) grants access to the aforementioned events (excluding Thursday's dinner) and guarantees a spot at Love's grilling demo. The Weekender pass ($250) includes access to the daytime events on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets to Feast Under the Stars ($225), Taste of Texas ($150), Rock Your Taco ($200) and Sips & Sweets ($75) can be purchased individually. 

For the full talent lineup and more details, visit www.austinfoodandwinefestival.com.

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