More than 125 contestants crowded around tables in the Shoal Crossing Event Center for a culinary battle of wits at Sunday’s annual Slow Food Austin Grub Trivia fundraiser. Emcee Josh Watkins, chef of Carillon Restaurant, led more than two dozen teams — comprising chefs, food artisans, culinary students and food bloggers — through six rounds of often tricky questions.
Folks dropped their cellphones and tablets into pitchers to discourage cheating, and more than one correct answer solicited groans of disapproval from participants. Several rounds had to be decided by tiebreaker in which contestants stood onstage, hoping to be the first with the right answer.
To soften the blow in between rounds, attendees enjoyed small bites and sips. Participating restaurants included Trace, Benji’s Cantina, Eden East, Epicerie, Say La V, Max’s Wine Dive, Noble Sandwich Co. and restaurant-in-planning Red Wattle.
Also dishing out tastes were bakeries Easy Tiger, Amity, Flour, Princess and Moose’s Sister, and Blackbird, as well as artisans from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Confituras, Pate Letelier and Pogue Mahone Pickles. Barton Springs Soda Company and Zhi Tea poured beverages, while Lick Ice Cream scooped out sweet endings.
During the event, Slow Food Austin also bestowed Carol Ann Sayle and Larry Butler of Boggy Creek Farm with a Snailblazer Award, which honors individuals who exemplify the Slow Food movement’s ideals of “Good, Clean and Fair.” The couple started Boggy Creek Farm in 1992 and have served as pioneers in the urban farm movement in the United States and as mentors to countless farms in Central Texas.
Following the awards presentation was a live auction of cuts from half a hog carcass, which was carved onstage — head to tail — by butchers Bryan Butler and Ren Hogue of Salt and Time. Popular cuts such as pork belly sold for $80, while half the hog’s head fetched $50. Even the feet (trotters) and skin went for a pretty penny. In total, the auction alone raised $1,800.
Cocktails kept flowing through the raffle, during which lucky winners took home gift certificates to popular restaurants like Qui, Foreign & Domestic, Uchi and Uchiko, as well as baskets of wine or alcohol from Duchman Family Winery, Austin Wine Merchant and Treaty Oak Rum.
The event wound down with two final rounds of questions. Team Comte Cheese, comprising Austin Food Blogger Alliance members Meredith Bethune, Carla Crownover, Melanie Haupt, Kathryn Hutchison and Cecilia Nasti, emerged victorious, winning a private tour of Argus Cidery and gift certificates to Alamo Drafthouse.
The celebration of local food and friendly competition helped raise money for local scholarships, education and programs for Slow Food Austin.