What was your favorite food story of 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the trending stories and topics on CultureMap Austin this year. We'll start with a look at the hottest news in the world of food and wine. Which one of the trending food-related stories below left you hungry for more in 2012?

The votes are in. See who won!
Chef Paul Qui wins Top Chef Texas

In February, Austin's Paul Qui, former executive chef at Uchiko, took home the $125,000 grand prize on Bravo’s Top Chef: Texas. Week after week Qui exposed the nation to his culinary talent and the Capital City as he worked his way to victory. Soon after his big win, Qui, now a hometown hero, announced expansion of his East Side King food trucks into several brick-and-mortar spaces.



Trader Joe's announces Austin store

In Late April, Trader Joe's announced it's setting up shop in downtown Austin, making it the first confirmed retail or restaurant tenant to be nailed down for the Seaholm mixed-use development. The announcement was welcome news for Trader Joe's loyal following in Austin. Known for its unique organic and natural food, Trader Joe's is expected to bring some competition to Whole Foods Market. 

The debut of the Austin Food & Wine Festival

In March, C3 Presents, the team behind the Austin City Limits Music Festival, debuted the Austin Food & Wine Festival at Auditorium Shores. The event showcased top chef talent, sommeliers and winemakers from Austin and across the nation in a weekend full of tasty events. C3's first stab at a food and wine festival received its fair share of criticism (some were not so happy about the ticket prices) but overall, most agree the festival raised Austin's culinary presence on the national scene.



Drama at the Pit

In October, LeAnn Mueller announced her brother, John Mueller, would no longer be the manager and pitmaster of J Meuller BBQ. Few details were given, but LeAnn Mueller said he "mismanaged again," and there were rumors of substance abuse issues. The news was heartbreaking for fans of Mueller, considered one of the most accomplished pitmasters in town.  



Adios to the 2nd and Congress food trailers

In June the food trailer lot located on 2nd and Congress closed up shop for good. The food court, which included trailers such as Snap Pod, Kebabilicious and Turf and Surf had to move to make way for a new 33-story hotel.