Austin Food and Wine Festival

Austin Food & Wine Festival announces all-star chef lineup for a sweet and savory weekend

Austin Food & Wine Festival announces all-star chef lineup for a sweet and savory weekend

Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Dupuy_food and wine recap_may 2012_skyline
Austin Food and Wine Festival will take place April 26 - 28, 2013.
  Courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Festival
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Dupuy_food and wine recap_may 2012_grandtasting
Austin Food and Wine Festival will take place April 26 - 28, 2013. Photo by Nick Simonite
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Dupuy_food and wine recap_may 2012_skyline
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Dupuy_food and wine recap_may 2012_grandtasting

Food and wine fans, it’s time to whet your appetites. As promised, the Austin Food & Wine Festival is back for a reprise in 2013 — April 26-28, 2013 to be exact — and tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday.

This morning, organizers of the event— which include Charlie Jones (founding partner, C3 Presents), Tim Love (Love Shack, The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse), Tyson Cole (Uchi and Uchiko) and restaurateur Jesse Herman (La Condesa and Sway), along with Christina Grdovic (publisher, Food & Wine magazine) — released the super-secret lineup of culinary talent with a promise that this year’s bag of culinary tricks will be bigger and better than last year. And being that this is a Texas event, bigger and better are certainly words we like to hear.

 We can also look forward to a much larger Grand Tasting area with a wider selection of local food, wine and spirits vendors as well as a food court of some of Austin’s favorite local food trailers. 

The 2013 AFW Festival will offer more than 40 events over three days, including Grand Tasting tents, hands-on seminars, food, wine and cocktail tastings, book signings, live music performances and more at its original location on Auditorium Shores.

"Austin Food & Wine Festival is an incredibly unique and dynamic festival held in one of my favorite cities in America, and I'm thrilled to return for its second year,” says Marcus Samuelsson, chef/owner of New York City's acclaimed Red Rooster Harlem restaurant and New York Times best-selling author. “The city's incredible vibe shines through at this festival."
 
And while the festival kicked off its inaugural year in 2012 with a delectable bang — as well as a few hitches and glitches — the founders and partners are confident they can build on the highlights and remedy the lowlights from the festival’s first year. Among some of the changes we can expect:

Expanded ticket options
Ticket prices are about the same as last year with two levels, or “flavors,” and they include a few more perks than before. 

The Taste ($250) pass includes access to more than 40 demos, seminars and tastings and daily Grand Tasting events. Purchasers of the Taste pass can also add-on tickets for Friday night’s Taste of Texas event ($150) and/or Saturday night’s Rock Your Taco event ($200), an option that did not exist last year.

The Savor ($850) pass includes priority access to all demos, tastings and hands-on experiences, private Grand Tastings on Saturday & Sunday, access to a VIP lounge with a bar and additional tastings and access to both the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco evening events.

Enhanced seating, staggered demos and a grander Grand Tasting
Similar to last year, attendees will line up in two separate lines: one designated for Savor pass holders, and the other for Taste pass holders. 15 minutes prior to the start of each event, the Savor line will be allowed in to choose seating. Taste pass holders will be allowed in to choose remaining seats once the Savor line has dissipated. 

The difference this year is that there will be no option for VIP (Savor) pass holders to pre-register for events and all seminar and demo tents will be much larger than in 2012 to accommodate a larger audience. Festival organizers are working with participating chefs to secure recipes in advance of their demos to post online and to make samples available for at least some of the demos.

The 2013 festival schedule has also been restructured so that attendees can maximize their chances of checking out the variety of cooking demos, wine tastings, book signings and grand tastings — even if  it’s just for a few minutes at each one. There will also be a selection of wine, spirits and food vendors and interactive chef stations throughout the park. Participating chefs will cook throughout the day, interact with attendees and offer samples of their dishes. Additional food, wine and spirits vendors will be set up throughout the festival grounds offering samples as well.

We can also look forward to a much larger Grand Tasting area with a wider selection of local food, wine and spirits vendors as well as a food court of some of Austin’s favorite local food trailers.

A better Auditorium Shores
Last year, festival organizers made no secret about their disappointment in the condition of Auditorium Shores. In a CultureMap interview with Charlie Jones following the 2012 festival weekend, he commented that “The condition of the grounds was really unfortunate." 

But this year, the festival partners are encouraged by restoration plans passed in 2012 by the Austin City Council for the park and are committed to working with them to make the 2013 edition of Austin Food & Wine Festival a lush, green epicurean experience.

"After last year's festival, we really wanted to take the feedback seriously and address some of the challenges we faced," says festival partner Tyson Cole. "The folks at C3 knew how to execute on some of the event planning changes and Tim Love, Jesse Herman and I worked to add real value and flavor from our talented and growing local culinary scene. I think people will see a real difference."

Friday night highlights
The Taste of Texas Kickoff returns to Republic Park with live music from Delta Spirit and the Whiskey Shivers. It will also focus on featuring a smattering of the top culinary talent in the Lone Star State including:

  • Tim Byres (SMOKE)
  • Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurant Group)
  • Ned & Jodi Elliot (Foreign & Domestic)
  • Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue)
  • Terrence Gallivan & Seth Siegel-Gardner (The Pass & Provisions)
  • Sarah Grueneberg (Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia)
  • James Holmes (Lucy’s Fried Chicken and Olivia)
  • Paul Qui (East Side King)
  • John Russ (Lüke)
  • Chris Shepherd (Underbelly)
  • Philip Speer (Uchi and Uchiko)
  • Blaine Staniford (GRACE)
  • Danny Trace (Brennan’s)
  • Tre Wilcox (Marquee Grill)
  • Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo)
  • Jamie Zelko (Zelko Bistro)

"We checked out the festival last year as guests and were blown away by it,” says Terrence Gallivan of Houston’s Pass & Provisions who along with business partner Seth Siegel-Gardner are recent additions to the 2013 lineup.

“More than just a food festival, it showcases the music and culture that makes up Austin's DNA. It brings consumers and media from all over the country to our home state, and shines a spotlight on the phenomenal depth of culinary talent that we have here."

Saturday night highlights
Following a full day of chef demos and food and wine tastings at Auditorium Shores, the festival moves back to Republic Park for a reprise of the Rock Your Taco competition, which will not only include a few Texas-based chefs, but a few celebrated out-of-state contenders to serve up their best taco dish in an effort to de-thrown last year’s champ, Tyson Cole.

Following a live music performance from Allen Stone, Rock Your Taco judges Christina Grdovic, Adam Richman and a special guest judge will reveal their top taco choice from this year’s list of Rock Your Taco chefs. Participating chefs include:

  • Tyson Cole (Uchi & Uchiko)
  • David Bull (Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen and Bar Congress)
  • Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo (Animal and Son of a Gun)
  • Susan Feniger (Border Grill)
  • Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine)
  • Tim Love (Love Shack, The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse)
  • Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Cafe Spiaggia, Terzo Piano and Bar Toma)
  • Marc Murphy (Landmarc NYC and Ditch Plains)
  • Rene Ortiz (La Condesa Austin, La Condesa Napa Valley and Sway)
  • Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club and FoodRepublic.com)
  • Laura Sawicki (La Condesa & Sway)
  • Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar)
  • Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto NYC)
  • Andrew Zimmern (chef, author, teacher, James Beard Foundation Award winner from Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel)

“I'm thrilled to be headed to Austin for the festival this year,” says first time Rock Your Taco contestant and executive chef of Landmarc, Marc Murphy. “I've always heard that the food scene there is amazing and I can't wait to check it out for myself. Plus, I'm a huge music fan, and I'm looking forward to checking out some of the local clubs and venues while I'm in town.”

Additional culinary talent for the festival includes Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen and Kevin Williamson of Ranch 616, the Rattle Inn and Star Bar, as well as a star-studded collection of local sommeliers, mixologists and authors including Devon Broglie (Master Sommelier), Craig Collins (Master Sommelier), Russ Kane (author, The Wineslinger), Bill Norris (Alamo Drafthouse), June Rodil (Qui Restaurant), Jason Stevens (Bar Congress) and Nate Wales (La Condesa and Sway).

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A portion of festival proceeds will benefit The Austin Food & Wine Alliance, a non-profit organization that helps foster awareness and innovation in the Central Texas food and wine community. Tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. on the Austin Food & Wine Festival website.