The James Beard Foundation is bringing its fifth annual Taste America national culinary tour to Austin this fall. The weekend-long program will feature an exclusive kick-off event and a special dinner prepared by Taste America All-Star Ludo Lefebvre, local star chef Tyson Cole, and pastry chef Laura Sawicki.
Also on the agenda are free in-store events at Sur La Table at The Domain, featuring celebrity chef appearances, cooking demonstrations, book signings, and tastings from local producers and artisans.
Austin's itinerary will kick off on November 2 with Smoke Session, a night of barbecue, brews, and blues hosted by Aaron Franklin and featuring up-and-coming local chefs Teddy Bricker (Soursop), Zach Hunter (The Brewer's Table), Evan LeRoy (LeRoy and Lewis), Ben Runkle (Salt & Time), and Callie Speer (Holy Roller).
“I’ve always admired the way that James Beard Foundation not only celebrates the food community but also supports the next generation of talent with its programming and scholarship programs,” said Zach Hunter, executive chef of East Austin’s forthcoming restaurant and brewery The Brewer’s Table. “I’m beyond honored to support their mission and showcase at the Smoke Session VIP kick-off, alongside many amazing young chefs and JBF award winner Aaron Franklin.”
On November 3, W Austin will host A Night of Culinary Stars, an exclusive dining event benefiting the Foundation. The evening will begin with a reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvre from Illiana de la Vega (El Naranjo), Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue), Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine), James Zoller (Trace at W Austin), and Philip Speer (Bonhomie).
Following the reception, dinner will be prepared by chef Ludo Lefevbre (Trois Familia, Petit Trois, Trois Mec, and Ludo Bird in Los Angeles), Tyson Cole (Uchi), and pastry chef Laura Sawicki (Launderette).
“It’s something we’ve known for years, but it’s exciting to know that the leadership team at the James Beard Foundation also views Austin as a distinguished culinary city,” says Tyson Cole, James Beard winner and chef/owner of Uchi and Uchiko.
On November 4, Sur La Table will host free in-store fun, including cooking demonstrations and book signings by Lefevbre and Cole, tastings from local producers and artisans, as well as product demonstrations and tastings from national sponsors.
The all-star event will also stop in Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle.