Some Austinites mark the return of spring by taking selfies in a field of wildflowers or digging out their jorts selection from under the bed. For local foodies, there is another seasonal ritual — buying tickets to one of the city’s many culinary festivals.
It’s time for them to wake their credit cards up from hibernation. On March 5, nonprofit Austin Food & Wine Alliance announced the sizzling lineup for Live Fire, its annual event held April 4 at Camp Mabry.
The party, featuring Texas beef dishes cooked on an open flame, is a fundraiser for the nonprofit's culinary grants program, which supports innovation in the area food system, and the annual Culinary Arts Career Conference, a free day of learning offered to Central Texas high school students interested in a career in food.
By popular demand, Live Fire is once again asking its chefs to focus on the the diverse flavors of Mexico. The roster includes some of the most dynamic chefs in Austin and San Antonio working in the cuisine.
Austin talent includes Alma Alcocer-Thomas (El Alma Cafe), Andre Natera and Daniel Noguera (Rules & Regs at the Fairmont Austin), Daniel Brooks (Licha’s Cantina), Evan LeRoy (LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue), Joe Becerra (Asador), Kevin Taylor (ATX Cocina), Miguel Vidal (Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ), Rick Lopez (La Condesa), Sasha Grumman (Launderette), Simon Madera (Taco Flats), and Stephanie Garcia (Dai Due Taqueria).
Other local highlights include Fermín Núñez of Suerte, fresh off being named a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. Edgar Rico will also be previewing Nixta Taqueria, an upcoming East Austin concept.
San Antonio will be represented by Alex Paredes (Carnitas Lonja), David and Jose Cáceres (La Panadería), and Rico Torres and Diego Galicia (Mixtli). Jason Dady, one of the most celebrated chefs in Alamo City, will also be on hand representing his brand-new Austin concept, Chispas.
Sweets will be provided by Brent Fogarty of Cold One Pops and Bob Williams of SRSLY chocolate, a former culinary grant recipient from the organization. Three other previous winners — Lost Pines Yaupon Tea, The Grower Project, and Alejandra Rodriguez Boughton of La Flaca Urban Garden — will also be in attendance.
In addition to the bites, guests will be offered a welcoming glass of bubbles from Washington State Wines. They can also try the 2018 Official Drink of Austin from Juniper or sip from a special agave experience from Las Perlas Mezcaleria.
General admission tickets are on sale now for $95, but the first 150 sold will have a $10 discount. The VIP pass, limited to only 150 people, sells for $150 and includes a custom Yeti wine tumbler and early entry.