Eat, Drink, Repeat

The foodie's guide to Austin's biggest food and wine festival

The foodie's guide to Austin's biggest food and wine festival

Austin Food + Wine Festival
Austin Food + Wine Festival's famous Rock Your Taco competition takes place April 29. Austin Food + Wine Festival/Facebook

After last year’s last-minute cancelation due to rainy weather, the Austin Food + Wine Festival is back with an excellent lineup and exciting schedule of events throughout the weekend. Ahead of the big event, taking place April 27-30, we offer a taste of what's in store.

The fest kicks off with an exclusive Dinner Under the Stars on Thursday, April 27, followed on Friday, April 28, by Lone Star Nights, a walkabout event at Fair Market featuring global “night market cuisine” executed by an impressive lineup of local and national chefs.

The following night, heavy hitters will gather at the same location for the popular Rock Your Taco competition. Attendees will be able to sample traditional and offbeat taco creations from chefs like Aarón Sanchez, Tyson Cole, Hugh Acheson, Ming Tsai, and Jonathan Waxman as they enjoy libations and a live performance from Tameca Jones.

Daytime events on Saturday and Sunday take place at Auditorium Shores. We recommend you check out the schedule and plan your visit ahead of time, because there is so much to do, see, and taste. Events include food, lifestyle, wine and spirits activations, chef book signings, interactive cocktail lounges, cooking demonstrations, informative presentations from wine experts, live fire grilling, and much more.

Among the new activations is Entertain! by Toyota, featuring live music from Brian Pounds and special appearances from festival chefs Acheson, Graham Elliot, Amanda Freitag, and Tim Love, plus the chance to customize a grilling spatula, create an herb garden, mix up a dry rib rub, and take it all home in a tote bag. 

In the Kitchen with H-E-B features prominent chefs like Joey Campanero and Jonathan Waxman presenting modern takes on classic dishes, accompanied by wine and 4J coffee. Winemaker Austin Hope of Hope Family Wines will be hosting attendees in a custom-made tiny home for a tasting of his Liberty School wines paired with savory bites from chef Jack Gilmore.

"Austin Food + Wine is unique because it is thoroughly Austin, one of the best food cities in the country, with all of its wonderful quirkiness and awesomeness," says Southern celebrity chef Acheson, of Top Chef fame. "The vibe of the festival is still a cozy one and the location is really a great one for flow and fun. The Grand Tasting is a great place to be, but I really think demos are the best way to see what a chef has to show. Put your learning hat on and come on down."

Chef Tyson Cole, one of the founders of the festival, agrees. "I love the stunning diversity of local and national chefs. Even better, there are tons of opportunities for one-on-one face time with chefs and fun interactive cooking demos to participate in during the three-day experience. I love the long list of local Austin chefs stepping in and showing the world what ATX is all about. Amazing local chefs like Shawn Cirkiel, Andrew Wiseheart, and Bryce Gilmore grilling food outside on huge grills? I’m there!"

One of the most popular events — it requires the All-In ticket — is Hands-On Grilling with Tim Love. Georgia chef Ford Fry recommends it as "an amazing way for guests to really get involved and engaged in the process and learn some tips and tricks along the way."

But don’t overlook less flashy offerings like the wine seminars offered by renowned experts Ray Isle and Mark Oldman. We are very much looking forward to these, as well as the intriguing A Most Curious and Peculiar Cocktail Academy from Hendrick's Gin.

Atlanta’s celebrated restaurateur and James Beard nominee, Fry sums it up just about right. “This festival is so special because it embraces the local flavor of Austin. From the talent to the music, everything at the festival celebrates this amazing city and food community ... Be prepared to eat all day and pace yourself, so you can try everything!"