Music fans have Austin City Limits Fest, tech geeks have SXSW, and comedy lovers have Moontower, but there’s no bigger event for Austin’s many food obsessives than the Austin Food + Wine Festival. On January 18, organizers announced the lineup for the 2018 shindig to be held at Fair Market and Auditorium Shores on April 27-29.
Tickets are now on sale for the popular event, featuring three days of cooking demonstrations, book signings, dinner parties, exclusive tastings, and appearances from some of the nation’s most famous chefs.
This year, the team is shaking things up with a few changes, including moving chef and AFWF partner Tim Love’s popular Chillin' and Grillin' demonstrations to Friday, April 27 for All-In ticket holders. The switch allows more room on the festival grounds for an expanded tasting pavilion and more fire pits featuring interactive live fire cooking experiences with chefs and pitmasters.
To kick off the fest on Thursday, April 26, Feast Under the Stars is returning to Auditorium Shores featuring a five-course feast from local superstars Tyson Cole (Hai Hospitality); Mary Catherine Curren (ELM Restaurant Group); Todd Duplechan (Lenoir); Kevin Fink (Emmer & Rye); and Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie) paired with selections from Jackson Family Wines. The event tickets are $250 and must be purchased separately from the festival passes.
Rock Your Taco, the signature tasting event and contest, will feature iconic chef and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich on the judging panel and live music from local luminary Gina Chavez.
Competing for taco glory on Saturday, April 28 at Fair Market this year are Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto (Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Austin); Nyesha Arrington (Native, Los Angeles); Jamie Bissonnette (Toro, Boston and New York City); 2017 champion Tyson Cole (Uchi, Austin); Andrew Curren (ELM Restaurant Group, Austin); Cassidee Dabney (The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee); Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurants, San Antonio); Amanda Freitag (Chopped); Diego Galicia and Rico Torres (Mixtli, San Antonio); Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish, Los Angeles); Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat, Chicago); Paul Kahan (One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago); Tim Love, Bryan Voltaggio (Volt, Frederick, Maryland); and Michael White (Altamarea, multiple locations).
On Saturday and Sunday of the festival, Fire Pits will be scattered across the festival grounds and helmed by David Bull (La Corsha Hospitality Group, Austin); Sonya Coté (Eden East, Austin); Billy Durney (Hometown BBQ, Brooklyn, New York); Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller Barbecue, Taylor); Rodney Scott (Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Charleston, South Carolina); Victor Sandoval (Parkside Projects, Austin); and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo, Austin).
This year's Chef Showcase, held in the Grand Pavilion, is bigger than ever with bites from the area’s finest chefs. This year the roster includes some longtime favorites and a few new faces including John Bates and Brandon Martinez (Noble Sandwich Co.); Stephen Bonin (Geraldine’s); Jeff Brown (Old Thousand); Thomas Calhoun (Aviary Wine & Kitchen); Taylor Chambers (Justine’s Brasserie); Ji Peng Chen (Wu Chow); Austin Ewald (Grizzelda’s); Kazu Fukumoto (Fukumoto: Sushi and Yakitori Izakaya); Natalie Gazaui (Eberly); Albert Gonzalez (Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile); Taylor Hall (Apis); Clinton Kendall (East Side King); Lance Kirkpatrick (Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew); Geronimo Lopez (Botika, San Antonio); Harold Marmulstein (Salty Sow); Stephanie McClenny (Confituras); Jason McVearry (Poke Poke); Brian Moses (Olive & June); Ashley Neave (Forthright); David Norman (Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden); Sterling Ridings (Guild); Maribel Rivero (Yuyo); James Robert (Fixe); Charles Schlienger (Sway); Eric Silverstein (The Peached Tortilla); Max Snyder (Pitchfork Pretty); Anthony Sobotik (Lick Honest Ice Cream); George Thomas (Unit D Pizzeria); Joshua Thomas (Mattie’s); Carmen Valera (Tamale House East); Miguel Vidal (Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ); and Josh Williams (Texas French Bread).
Joining the chefs this year is a group of stellar beverage experts including Devon Broglie (master sommelier and associate global beverage buyer for Whole Foods Market); Craig Collins (master sommelier and beverage director for ELM Restaurant Group); Helen Johannesen (owner Helen’s Wines, Los Angeles); and June Rodil (master sommelier and beverage director for McGuire Moorman Hospitality).
Tickets are currently available online. The All-In pass, at $625 per person, gives guests access to the Chillin’ and Grillin’ event with Tim Love, Rock Your Taco, and both days of the festivities. The $250 Weekender ticket includes access to the chef showcase, the annual Sunday Gospel Brunch, and Fire Pits.