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Austin Food + Wine Festival 2019 returns with hot events, all-star chefs, and plenty of booze

Austin Food + Wine Festival drops highly anticipated 2019 chef lineup

Austin Food and Wine Festival auditorium shores woman drinking wine
Austin Food + Wine Festival returns with its most popular events. Austin Food + Wine Festival/Facebook

Start breaking in a new pair of shoes now. On January 24, the organizers of the Austin Food + Wine Festival announced the lineup for the 2019 party and you are going to want to hit the ground running.

The Capital City’s biggest foodie event is returning to Fair Market and Auditorium Shores on April 26-28 for another year of tasty bites, drink samples, and appearances from some of the culinary world’s biggest names. The chefs participating this year not only represent the hottest restaurants in Central Texas, but some of the most renowned eateries in the world.

As is tradition, the fun kicks off the night before the festival with Feast Under the Stars on April 25, a separately ticketed event held on the grounds of Auditorium Shores. The collaborative dinner features a family-style meal from some of the city’s most respected chefs including Kristen Kish (Arlo); Stephanie McClenny (Confituras); Nicholas Yanes (Juniper); Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie); and Grae Nonas (Carpenters Hall). The event will be a reunion of sorts for Fojtasek and Nonas, who were co-executive chefs of Olamaie before the latter parted ways with the restaurant in 2016. 

The festival proper roars into town April 26 with the return of Tim Love’s popular Chillin' and Grillin'. As usual, the Lonesome Dove chef guides participants through a raucous hands-on live fire cooking demo with plenty of drinks on hand to keep the event spirited.

Rock Your Taco will also be back for 2019 to anchor the April 27 programming. Jai Malano will provide the tunes as guests graze from more than a dozen tacos, ranging from traditional to decidedly new school. A celebrity panel of judges will determine if multi-time winner Tyson Cole takes home bragging right again.

Joining Cole in the battle will be Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto (Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya); Andrew Curren (ELM Restaurant Group); Jason Dady (Jason Dady Group, San Antonio); Tiffani Faison (Big Heart Hospitality, Boston); Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde, Chicago); Antonia Lofaso (Dama, New York); Tim Love; Fermín Núñez (Suerte); Aarón Sánchez (Johnny Sánchez, New Orleans); Chris Shepherd and Nick Wong (UB Preserv, Houston); Nancy Silverton (Mozza Restaurant Group, Los Angeles); Max Snyder (Pitchfork Pretty); Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto, New York); and TV host Andrew Zimmern.

The signature attraction on both days of the fest will be the Grand Taste tents. The stellar group participating this year are Jeff Balfour (Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery, San Antonio); John Bates and Brandon Martinez (Noble Sandwich Co.); Stephen Bonin (Geraldine's); Daniel Brooks (Licha’s Cantina); Jeff Brown (Old Thousand); Thomas Calhoun (Aviary Wine & Kitchen); Jo Chan (Eberly); Ji Peng Chen (Wu Chow); James Cole (Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile); Austin Ewald (Grizzelda's); Alexandra Gates (Cochineal, Marfa); and Taylor Hall (Apis).

Also on hand will be Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley (Foreign & Domestic); Ethan Holmes (Mattie's); Clinton Kendall (East Side King); Lance Kirkpatrick (Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew); Geronimo Lopez (Botika, San Antonio); Jason McVearry and Trisha Fortuna (Poke Poke); Brian Moses (Olive & June); Ashley Neave (Forthright); Josh Neises (Lonesome Dove); Steve Nelson (Wild Kitchen + Bar); David Norman (Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden); Daniel Olivella (Barlata); Ling Qi Wu (Lin Asian Bar); Sterling Ridings (Guild); Maribel Rivero (Yuyo); James Robert (Fixe); Ryan Samson (Vespaio); Charles Schlienger (Sway); Eric Silverstein (The Peached Tortilla); Anthony Sobotik (Lick Honest Ice Creams); Lakana Sopajan-Trubiana (Dee Dee); Carmen Valera (Tamale House East); and Kevin Williamson (Ranch 616).

Throughout the festival grounds, Sonya Coté (Eden East, Hillside Farmacy); Lance Kirkpatrick (Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew); Evan LeRoy (LeRoy and Lewis); and Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller Barbecue) will helm interactive Fire Pits. Andrew Wiseheart will also host Contigo Catering & Friends, an expanded fire pit area featuring a few surprise guests.

The culinary talent will be joined by an array of sommeliers and beverage experts. Devon Broglie (associate global beverage buyer, Whole Foods Market) and Craig Collins (Italian portfolio sales manager, Vintus) have been confirmed but more headliners will be announced throughout the spring.

Tickets are available now. 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 Fire Pits, and a Sunday morning gospel brunch.