Top Austin chefs and entertainment pros cultivate new farm-focused food festival

Austin chefs and entertainment pros cultivate farm-focused food fest

Rain Lily Farm
Rain Lily Farm in East Austin will host a portion of the Field Guide festivities. Rain Lily Farm/Facebook
Michael Fojtasek
Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie will participate as chef advocate and a presenter. Courtesy of Field Guide Festival
Philip Speer
Comedor's Philip Speer will act as the chef curator and will be a participating chef at the festival.  Courtesy of Field Guide Festival
Rain Lily Farm
Michael Fojtasek
Philip Speer

Several of Austin’s most notable entertainment industry powerhouses and a bounty of the city’s best culinarians are having a field day with their latest endeavor: a two-day festival that aspires to educate, elevate, and celebrate local food, farmers, and chefs.

Field Guide Festival, which is set to take place October 29-30 at Rain Lily Farm and Fiesta Gardens in Austin, will explore the pathway food takes from seed to table through a variety of food, drink, farming, and wellness experiences.

Tickets for the first-year festival go on sale on Tuesday, July 13 at fieldguidefest.com, and include general admission, all-day, and VIP options, as well as tickets for specific festival events. 

Far from simply another large gathering where attendees can stuff their faces with grub, Field Guide Festival showcases important collaborations between Austin farmers — the backbone of the local food industry — and the area chefs who are inspired by regional ingredients to create wholesome, innovative — and totally delicious — fare, with the fest aiming to provide insights on the future of food and health in the community in a very Austin-centric manner.

It’s no surprise the fest is cultivating some major attention from local foodies, as the organizers of Field Guide Festival boast a pretty impressive history of connecting Austin with unique experiences and cuisine. The fest is spearheaded by former longtime ACL Music Fest festival director Lindsey Sokol of Blue Norther Live and Trisha Bates of Urban American Farmer, who are working alongside Philip Speer of Austin eatery Comedor as the chef curator and Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie as chef advocate.

“Austin hosts one of the most vibrant food scenes in the country, and Field Guide Festival brings our community a fresh perspective on where their food comes from through the close collaboration between local chefs and farmers,” co-founder Sokol says. “We invite guests to explore and celebrate the ways their hard work and dedication transforms raw materials into nourishing food. This festival has truly been a dream of ours, and we are so excited to bring it to life.”

As a long-term nonprofit partner of the Field Guide Festival, the Central Texas Food Bank will benefit from a portion of the profits and event ticket sales.

Featured festival events include:

  • Rain Lily Farm Dinner: The Friday night kickoff event includes a four-course outdoor dinner hosted at Rain Lily Farm featuring Austin’s intentional female chefs, farmers, and winemakers. The evening will feature live cooking, paired wine and spirits to complement the menu, and a live-music performance.
  • East Austin 5K Run: Led by Comedor Run Club, this event includes a run through East Austin, ending at the Field Guide Farmer’s Market located at Fiesta Gardens.
  • Revival Brunch: Here, runners can refuel after the 5K with vibrant dishes and drinks full of flavor and nutrition.
  • Field Guide Farmer’s Market: This family-friendly market, hosted by Farmhouse Delivery, features local produce and producers like Steelbow Farm, Boggy Creek Farm, Gundermann Acres, and more. The artisan market will include demos with health-forward snacks, and this event will be open to the public.
  • All-Day Grazing: Culinary collaborations between chefs and farmers are spotlighted during this event, featuring menu items crafted from local farm ingredients. Farmers will be present alongside chefs in the presentation of their dishes. Vegan and vegetarian dishes will be available.
  • Local Sips: Drink options will be flowing as Central Texas spirits, wines, and zero-proof beverages will be served as the perfect pairing for every bite. While attending tastings, guests can engage with Central Texas’s top winemakers, producers, and brands.
  • Symposiums: Panel discussions will dig up the dirt on local and national innovators in the fields of hospitality and agriculture. Guests will also be able to learn from each other in peer-led conversations about the future of food. The full symposiums schedule will be released soon.
  • Live Music: It wouldn’t be an Austin festival without live local music. And Field Guide doesn’t disappoint, featuring a lineup of Austin musicians bringing the festival to life with live performances throughout the two-day event.

Austin chefs currently scheduled to participate in the festival include:

  • Amanda Turner
  • Ariana Quant, Uchi
  • Damien Brockway, Distant Relatives
  • Daniel Cacheaux, The Well
  • Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria
  • Fiore Tedesco, L’Oca d’Oro
  • Jo Chan, Eberly
  • Jules Stoddard, Olamaie
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie
  • Natalie Gazaui, Comedor
  • Nick Belloni, Trill Foods
  • Philip Speer, Comedor
  • Rosie Mina-Truong and Kevin Truong, Fil N’ Viet
  • Sarah Heard, Foreign & Domestic
  • Sarah MacIntosh, Epicerie
  • Sonya Cote, StoreHouse and Eden West
  • Tebi and Trinh Nguyen, Le Bleu

Austin-area farmers currently scheduled to participate in the festival include:

  • Anamaria Guttierez and Lea Scott, Este Garden
  • Ben McConnell, Bouldin Food Forest
  • Bill McCranie, Chickamaw Farm
  • David Barrow, Eden East Farm
  • Finegan Ferreboeuf, Steelbow Farm
  • Jenna Kelly-Landes, Bee Tree Farm
  • Joe and Kasey Diffie, Joe’s Organics
  • Julia Poplawsky, Cielito Lindo Farm
  • Marysol Valle, Marysol’s Mushrooms
  • Matt Simon, New Leaf Agriculture
  • Perrine and Aubrey Noelke, Belle Vie Farm
  • Ryan Farnau, F-Stop Farm
  • Sean Henry and Cory Nellissen, HiFi Mycology
  • Tara Chapman, Two Hives Honey
  • Montana Stovall, Montana’s Dancing Bear Farm

“Our goal with Field Guide Festival is to create an exciting food experience for the guests and to connect our local chefs and farmers to one another and to the community. We hope the connections made during the festival will strengthen our local food economy, creating a lasting impact for the future,” says co-founder Bates. “We want guests to leave feeling happy, healthy and informed about how to eat well daily in Austin.”