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Photo courtesy of Central Market

To celebrate Black History Month, Central Market is hosting a series of virtual cooking school classes featuring the stories and recipes of notable Black chefs and makers. The specialty grocer will also highlight the products and services of several Black-owned brands throughout the month.

Here's who you'll be learning from, and what signature dishes they'll be preparing for you live:

Chef Pierre Thiam is a celebrated chef, restaurateur, author, entrepreneur, and environmental activist known for his innovative cooking style rooted in the rich culinary traditions of West Africa.

His critically acclaimed New York restaurant Teranga introduces healthy fast-casual fare sourced directly from farmers in West Africa. He'll be making salmon and cassava croquettes with a tamarind glaze, grilled chicken yassa with onion and lime confit over fonio, and chocolate fonio pudding with honey roasted mango.

Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide, including Red Rooster Harlem, Marcus Montreal, Marcus B&P, Red Rooster Overtown, and Marcus Fish + Chop House in the Bahamas.

Samuelsson was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times and has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards. He's also the head judge of the new show Top Chef Family Style. You'll learn to make blackened catfish with aioli and lime, coconut fried chicken, and roasted carrots with orange and fresh cheese.

Classically trained in French, Mediterranean, West Indian, and East African cuisine, chef Chris Williams has made a name for himself serving up refined Southern food with international infusions at Lucille's, his nationally acclaimed restaurant.

Cook along with the chef to make smoky citrus salmon on the half shell, coconut rice, and collard green salad.

Winemakers André Mack, Mahalia Kotjane, and Donae Burston join Central Market's wine expert for a guided tasting of four delicious wines, featuring grapes from Willamette Valley, Provence, and the High Plains of Texas.

You'll come to understand what a difference terroir can make and learn tips on pairing these wines with a variety of foods.

Central Market was founded on the unwavering belief that each and every person counts. Through its Be The Change initiative, they pledge to do their part to advance equity and inclusion across Texas.

Be The Change builds upon Central Market's established diversity and inclusion framework, driving the company to be a better employer, retailer, and community partner.

Learn from some of the best this month.

Photo courtesy of Central Market
Learn from some of the best this month.
Photo courtesy of Pioneer

The ultimate comfy giveaway + 3 holiday recipes to make your holiday bright

Turning Meals Into Memories

Have you been eyeing the popular Our Place Always Pan or super-soft Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Throw for this year's holiday list? Any chance you could use a tasty new recipe for get-togethers with family and friends? Pioneer has you covered on all fronts.

The contest
For 170 years, Pioneer has spread comfort during the holiday season. From sharing a basket of warm biscuits for breakfast to passing the gravy around the dinner table to the people you love, Pioneer specializes in turning meals into memories. This year, to celebrate the big milestone, Pioneer is introducing the Ultimate Holiday Comfort Kit Giveaway.

Valued at around $300, the kit includes the aforementioned Barefoot Dreams throw and Always Pan plus a Pioneer Prize Pack that includes Pioneer products and branded swag.

Here's how to enter: From now until December 16, follow both @culturemapatx and @pioneer_1851, like this post on CultureMap Austin's Instagram, and tag a friend in the post's comments. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

The recipes
Since Pioneer is the nationwide leader in gravy, what better dish to bring to the table than one that utilizes Pioneer’s Country Gravy Mix and Country Sausage Gravy Mix?

Here are three mouth-watering recipes from the iconic Texas brand:

Turkey Casserole
Topped with Pioneer biscuits and made even more savory with bacon, it's the perfect way to use up leftover turkey.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
A wonderfully simple staple for chilly days and festive nights.

Skillet Breakfast Casserole
No-fuss but full of flavor, this easy breakfast can feed a crowd without taking too much time in the kitchen.

Click here to find Pioneer products near you, and be sure to sign up for Pioneer's weekly newsletter for the latest news, recipes, and seasonal tips.

Photo courtesy of Bacardi

How to mix up ACL Fest's tropical Zilker Spritz cocktail at home

Recipe for Fun

Austin City Limits Musical Festival weekend one is done, and even if you're not planning to attend the second weekend you can still enjoy a bit of ACL Fest at home.

We're talking about the Zilker Spritz, aka the official rum cocktail from Bacardi that's being served at all liquor bars inside the festival and at select bars around Austin.

But you can make the drink yourself by buying Bacardi Coconut Flavored Rum at your favorite retail store and mixing up some tropical vibes at home. Here's how:

Zilker Spritz
Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Bacardi Coconut Flavored Rum
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 0.25 oz. lime juice
  • Splash of soda water
  • Pineapple garnish

Instructions

  • Fill a highball glass with cubed ice.
  • Pour in the Bacardi Coconut Rum, followed by the pineapple juice, lime juice, and soda water.
  • Give it all a gentle stir.
  • Garnish with a pineapple slice and enjoy.

If you are headed to ACL Fest this weekend and happen to be hanging out in the VIP area, be on the lookout for Casa Bacardi, a Caribbean front porch party where festivalgoers can make friendship bracelets and possibly win a custom Bacardi and ACL Music Festival merch pack.

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Want to mix up your own Zilker Spritz at home? Find participating Bacardi retailers here.

Photo courtesy of Pioneer

3 must-try brunch recipes to wow Mom this Mother's Day

Bunch of Brunch

It can be hard to find the perfect gift for the Mom in your life, so this year why not keep it simple and stick with a classic? Homemade brunch. Serve it in bed, al fresco, or with her finest china — any way you spin it, she's sure to love it.

If your mom loves to cook, Pioneer has a chance for her to win big. From now until May 5, you can enter to win a Le Creuset 6.5-liter Dutch oven packed full of Pioneer favorites, valued at $300. To enter, complete these three steps: Like this post on CultureMap Austin's Instagram, follow @pioneer_1851, and tag a friend in the post's comments.

But back to brunch: If figuring out what to make and which recipe to use feels a little intimidating, take heart. Pioneer helps make at-home cooking a cinch, and because the Texas brand has been around since 1851 (it's celebrating it's 170th anniversary this year) you can feel confident in the tried-and-true ingredients.

Pioneer carries a wide range of products you want in the kitchen, including pancake and waffle mixes, seasoning blends, flour and cornmeal, gravy mixes, and gluten-free options. It's all available at H-E-B, Walmart, and select stores nationwide. Check here to see if your favorite grocer carries Pioneer.

Start planning for May 9, and take a look at these three favorite recipes, straight from the Pioneer kitchen. Make one, or make them all to wow her with a serious spread this Mother's Day.

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Sausage Biscuits and Southern Gravy
Servings: 6-8
Time: 16 minutes

Ingredients
3 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix
1 cup Milk
1/2 pound breakfast sausage
1 package Pioneer Country Gravy Mix

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 450°F.
-Prepare biscuits according to Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix packaging.
-In a skillet over medium-high heat, crumble sausage and cook until golden brown. Set aside.
-Prepare Pioneer Country Gravy Mix to package instructions.
-Using a slotted spoon, add crumbled sausage to the prepared gravy.
-Split open fresh-baked biscuits and spoon warm gravy on top.

Use two pouches of Pioneer Country Gravy mix if cooking one pound of breakfast sausage.

Photo courtesy of Pioneer
It can be hard to find the perfect gift for the Mom in your life, so this year why not keep it simple and stick with a classic? Homemade brunch. Serve it in bed, al fresco, or with her finest china — any way you spin it, she's sure to love it. If your mom loves to cook, Pioneer [http://pioneerbrand.com] has a chance for her to win big. From now until May 5, you can enter to win a Le Creuset 6.5-liter Dutch oven packed full of Pioneer favorites, valued at $300. To enter, complete these three steps: Like this post [http://www.instagram.com/p/COLLuEWFUSR/] on CultureMap Austin's Instagram, follow @pioneer_1851 [https://www.instagram.com/pioneer_1851/], and tag a friend in the post's comments. But back to brunch: If figuring out what to make and which recipe to use feels a little intimidating, take heart. Pioneer helps make at-home cooking a cinch, and because the Texas brand has been around since 1851 (it's celebrating it's 170th anniversary this year) you can feel confident in the tried-and-true ingredients. Pioneer carries a wide range of products you want in the kitchen, including pancake and waffle mixes, seasoning blends, flour and cornmeal, gravy mixes, and gluten-free options. It's all available at H-E-B, Walmart, and select stores nationwide. Check here [https://pioneerbrand.com/where-to-buy/] to see if your favorite grocer carries Pioneer. Take a look at these three favorite recipes, straight from the Pioneer kitchen. Make one, or make them all to wow her with a serious spread this Mother's Day. --- Sausage Biscuits and Southern Gravy [https://pioneerbrand.com/2019/08/26/southern-biscuits-sausage-gravy/] Servings: 6-8 Time: 16 minutes Ingredients 3 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix [https://pioneerbrand.com/portfolio-posts/pioneer-buttermilk-biscuit-baking-mix-40-oz/] 1 cup Milk 1/2 pound breakfast sausage 1 package Pioneer Country Gravy Mix [https://pioneerbrand.com/portfolio-posts/country-sausage-gravy-mix-2-75-oz/] Instructions -Preheat oven to 450°F. -Prepare biscuits according to Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix packaging. -In a skillet over medium-high heat, crumble sausage and cook until golden brown. Set aside. -Prepare Pioneer Country Gravy Mix to package instructions. -Using a slotted spoon, add crumbled sausage to the prepared gravy. -Split open fresh-baked biscuits and spoon warm gravy on top. Use two pouches of Pioneer Country Gravy mix if cooking one pound of breakfast sausage.
Courtesy photo

Peek inside the Austin Tastemaker Awards exclusive Tasting Totes

In the Bag

This year, the biggest party of the Austin and San Antonio food and beverage scenes came right to your living room. CultureMap's Tastemaker Awards — Virtual Edition brought all the delicious and innovative ideas from our cities' best chefs and bartenders straight to you, courtesy of Tasting Totes that were brimming with goodies.

If you purchased a ticket to the online awards show, hosted by hip-hop legend Bun B, then you also got to indulge in generous samples from nominees. Missed out this year? When you see what you could have enjoyed, you'll be first in line to purchase in 2021, whether the party is virtual or in-person.

VIP ticket-holders had their Tasting Totes delivered right to their door, while general admission attendees swung by 7Co to pick up their swag bags.

Once home, a feast awaited, complete with a bottle of Grandes Vinos Monasteria Reserva or Old Vine Garnacha (read more about their history here), a six-pack of Topo Chico, and a variety of craft beers from Oskar Blues Brewery along with their Wild Basin boozy sparkling water.

The next best thing to having 2018 Bartender of the Year winner Erin Ashford make you a drink in person is to have her show you how to do it yourself, step by step onscreen. Equipped with Dripping Springs Vodka, Topo Chico, and a to-die-for lavender lemonade mix, guests could mix their own cocktails to get the party started.

Guests could also shake things up with the first edition of the Tastemakers Cocktail Book, filled with exclusive recipes by Bartender of the Year nominees from across the state.

As for delicious bites from the nominees, VIP guests could dig into paté from Comedor; an appetizer board from Swedish Hill; house-made salsa and street puffy duros from El Alma; gougeres with black pepper and gruyere from Foreign & Domestic; and a savory trio from Dai Due that included landjäger sausage, liptauer cheese spread, and Alpine-spice rye schüttelbrot.

Chocolate chip, lemon meltaway, and peanut butter milkshake cookies from Paper Route Bakery were waiting for dessert.

GA diners certainly weren't left out in the cold. A seafood ceviche tostada from Comedor joined the aforementioned offerings from El Alma, Foreign & Domestic, and Dai Due, with lasagne alla bolognese from Enoteca Vespaio rounding out the main dishes.

Chocolate chunk cookies from Swedish Hill ended everything on a sweet note.

You can relive the virtual awards ceremony all over again here, as well as toast to all the 2020 Texas Tastemaker winners here. See you next year!

Delicious bites from nominated restaurants filled the bags.

Courtesy photo
Delicious bites from nominated restaurants filled the bags.
Club Home Made/Instagram

Austin's new farm-to-table cooking service turns meal prep into party

Chop it like it's hot

Food documentaries and reality cooking competitions may increasingly dominate Netflix, but it seems Americans are enjoying the programs more for entertainment than inspiration. In 2017, researcher Eddie Yoon shared two decades of data in the Harvard Business Review that showed that only 10 percent of people actually like cooking.

It doesn’t take years of study to guess the reasons why. Between long work weeks and family life, few have the luxury of spending hours in the kitchen to make dinner, much less the capacity to make three square meals every day, even as worrying about what goes into packaged and prepared foods has become a national obsession.

There is a middle ground, however, between heating up chicken nuggets in the microwave and laboring over the stove. An Austin startup, launched in mid-April, hopes to take the drudgery out of nutrition by providing a new take on an old idea — meal prep.

Club Home Made is the brainchild of friends Ada Broussard and Becky Hume. Both employees of Johnson’s Backyard Garden (Hume as farm manager and Broussard as marketing and community-supported agriculture manager), the pair have made meal prepping with a group of friends a weekly tradition. Now, they are translating that idea for a much wider audience.

The service works in much the same way as those gatherings. Broussard and Hume source local vegetables and proteins for meals prior to each gathering, which members prep while the pair demo recipes. The service is not a CSA box or a traditional meal kit, but it does ready guests for the week. And the social environment (complete with BYOB) helps prep work feel like less of a chore.

The Monday gatherings, running at $50 per session, focus on specific dishes like quiches and sheet pan sausage and roasted veggies. The recipes are meant to be used as guidelines rather than strictly followed, ushering creativity back into the kitchen.

“This isn't really about cooking fancy food,” says Broussard, “it's about learning how to feed yourself with simple, no-fuss methods of cooking. Austin chefs know it best, but if you start with fresh ingredients, cooking delicious and healthy food doesn't have to be difficult. It kinda blows my mind how many of my peers don't really know how to cook a pot of rice, or feel like they need to spend $70 at Whole Foods to follow a specific recipe for a casual weeknight meal.”

Hume and Broussard also hope the service will inspire members to be more engaged in local food systems. “I think a lot of people have goals to cook more, eat more local food, support local farmers, but find it hard to get to a farmers market or are a little stumped when they get a giant CSA box,” says Broussard.

Sessions are now open for May. Future hangouts will get guests acquainted with stews, tacos, and curries — and maybe a few friends along the way.

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Austin chefs turn out for farmer-focused food festival, returning this spring

Field Guide

Sometimes reinventing the wheel is a good thing, which may explain the immediate and warm welcome Field Guide Festival received upon its launch in 2021 and return in 2022. Moving past the food festival trope of tiny bites, loud music, and general Baccanalian vibes, Field Guide Festival seeks to foster connections between farmers, chefs, consumers, and everyone in between. Returning to East Austin on Saturday, April 22, the innovative event invites Central Texans to consider their role in the future of food in the Austin community.

Founded by female powerhouses, Lindsey Sokol and Trisha Bates, the goal of the fest is to leave guests inspired to participate in their local food system, equipped with the knowledge of where to find the best, most sustainable food available in Austin and the surrounding area.

"Field Guide Festival presents an answer to the question, ‘Where does your food come from?’ by highlighting the local farmers and chefs of Austin," Bates shares in a release. "Our festival is the only place in the city where you will see the farmers side-by-side with the chefs who transform their food, creating dishes uniquely representing this exact time and place. You'll never have this food, presented in this way, again."

The recently-released 2023 lineup features an impressive roster of 34 farmer and chef partners who will partner together to create dishes exclusive to the festival using in-season produce. Tickets will include a full day of food and beverages, cooking demonstrations, symposium conversations, live music, and a farmer’s bodega — all benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank.

“The Central Texas Food Bank is honored to be a partner of such a special gathering,” says Mark Jackson Chief Development Officer of Central Texas Food Bank in a releasE. “Not only will revenue from the event help ensure that thousands of our neighbors facing food insecurity have enough to eat, but attendees will learn about the impact food has on our whole community while having fun.”

Curated by Field Guide Culinary Director Chef Philip Speer, the 2023 chef and farmer lineup is below:

  • Abby Love (Abby Jane Bakeshop) & Amalia Staggs (Farmshare Austin)
  • Colter Peck (Elementary) & Becky Hume (VRDNT Farm)
  • Fiore Tedesco (L’Oca D’Oro) & Sean Henry (Hi-Fi MYCO)
  • Graeme Little (Fairmont Austin) & Julia Poplawsky Lewis (Cielito Lindo Farm)
  • Graham Fuller (Emmer & Rye) & William Nikkel (Trosi Farms)
  • Joaquin Ceballos (Este) & Anamaria Gutierrez (Este Garden)
  • Krystal Craig + Ian Thurwachter (Intero) & Celia Bell (Two Hives Honey)
  • Mia Li (Ora King Salmon) & Joe + Kasey Diffie (Joe’s Microgreens)
  • Natalie Gazaui (Chef Consultant) & Gregory Mast (Central Texas Food Bank Garden)
  • Nicholas Yanes (Juniper + Uncle Nicky’s) & Perrine Noelke (Local Pastures)
  • Rhys Davis & Michael Fojtasek (Maie Day) & Marianna Peeler (Peeler Farms)
  • Kevin & Rosie Truong (Fil N Viet) & Travis Breihan (Smallhold)
  • Susana Querejazu (Lutie’s) & Hannah Gongola (H2Grow Farms)
  • Todd Duplechan (Lenoir + Vixen’s Wedding) & Ryan Gould (Geosmin Regenerative)
  • Zechariah Perez (Sour Duck Market + Odd Duck) & Montana Stovall (Dancing Bear Farm)
  • Ooni Chef Demos by Casey Wilcox (Little Trouble) & Christina Currier (Comedor)
  • Force of Nature Chef Demo by Katrina Ferraro and Freddy Diaz (Las Brasas)

Featuring a mix of savory, sweet, and plant-based options, all food and beverages are included with each ticket, allowing guests to roam and sample everything. Tickets are $100 for adults, while a new Young Foodies ticket option ($50 for ages 13-30) and free entry children 12 and under encourages the whole family to come savor and celebrate the best of Central Texas food.

“New this year, Field Guide will welcome guests of all ages!" says founder Lindsey Sokol. "We’ve created a food festival that puts education first in order to strengthen the food system for the future, including the next generation. Our goal is to present food in a way no one else in Austin is doing, where the local food system is the priority.”

For more information and to purchase tickets for the event, please visit fieldguidefest.com or follow along on social media @fieldguidefest.

Trendy boxing gym knocks out Cedar Park with more planned

Out of the Box

New or aspiring boxers who worry about punching above their weight may have a new solution that caters to all. Rumble Boxing, a gym that boasts clients including David Beckham, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber, is now open in Cedar Park, with plans to expand elsewhere in Austin in February.

Unlike the boxing-solo-before-dawn movie trope, Rumble offers group classes that make the sport accessible and fun, including some workouts that aren’t just traditional boxing (called “boxing-inspired circuits”). Boxers of all levels get together for something that looks in videos like a spin class with boxing equipment.

The gym calls it a “10-round, 45-minute fight,” but an explanation on the website reveals “fight” to be more of a metaphor. Some rounds involve punching bags, while others incorporate floor training with bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. The classes promise a balance of both; half and half throughout the class.

Ambiance plays a significant part in the experience, and the gym emphasizes its music and lights along with “the program, and the collective heartbeat of the room.” Although the program contemporizes boxing for greater accessibility, the core elements are still there. Boxers will learn “the six punches”: the jab, the cross, front and back hooks, and front and back uppercuts.

The system has proven popular so far, and not just with celebrities. In business since just 2017, Rumble has 35 studios in the United States, plus some in Australia and the Dominican Republic. In Texas, there are also locations outside of Houston and Dallas, with more set to open in both by March.

Rumble Boxing is now open at 12160 W Parmer Lane, Suite #150. Hours of operation vary by day and are available at rumbleboxinggym.com.

This professional development group is working to connect Black Austinites and keep them in Austin

Fellowing the Leader

Even though Austin is generally understood as friendly and good for transplants, it’s always hard to land in a new city and gauge your longevity there. Finding resources takes time and connections, and for new Austinites who experience social marginalization, it may not feel possible to thrive.

Seeking to create those connections, the African American Leadership Institute (AALI) is a professional development group focused on increasing civic awareness and leadership opportunities for Austin's Black population. According to the website, their mission is to "build a stronger Black Austin community by equipping exceptional leaders to live up to their moral responsibility ... to make life better for everyone in our city, state, and the world."

Established in 2021, the idea for AALI evolved out of the Leadership Austin model, which also provides civic leadership training and is in turn an evolution of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. After participating in the 2002 class at Leadership Austin, AALI founder Heath Creech noticed a pattern: Companies were bringing Black employees to Austin, but underutilizing their skill sets when they arrived. Feeling more like guests than active community members, those employees packed up and looked for a new place to hit the ground running.

Creech realized Black Austinites needed their own program like Leadership Austin, so he connected with BiNi Coleman, a strategist who prioritized Black leadership through her organization 212 Catalysts. Partnering with Leadership Austin to create a parallel system, the pair started AALI to target exceptional leaders through its annual Leadership Cohort. This group of annual fellows learns how to engage in intensive community building and “deep dives” into multiple issue areas — all with a lens toward the Black community in Central Texas.

In just two years, AALI has seen in its first two groups that a third of participants say they were thinking of leaving Austin, but decided to stay. To find people willing to offer the vulnerability to apply even while feeling untethered from the Austin community, AALI had to drop some pretenses that other organizations may use to ensure commitment to applying.

“[The] AALI launch committee … determined for one that our Northstar metric should be connection: Addressing this lack of belonging in the community,” says Coleman, now AALI’s CEO. “If people emphasize that they feel a greater sense of connection to the Black community, or the overall community, we are doing our jobs. So far, that's never been less [affirmative feedback] than 96 percent or so.”

The only eligibility requirement is that participants must live in the Austin MSA (the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metropolitan area). The organization waived the minimum years of residence requirement. Applications could be written or recorded via video, to ensure that different communication styles made their strongest possible impacts. It’s working.

“We've had people that range from being … essentially homeless, and made it in AALI because they are relentless about being out in the community, and delivering basic needs to families and things of that nature,” says Coleman. “And then we have people that are corporate VPs, and we have people who are executive directors of nonprofits. In our inaugural year we had [Austin ISD Police Chief] Wayne Sneed, for instance. It really ranges the gamut.”

The 2023 fellows are no exception: Announced in January, the group of 34 includes an associate professor addressing education policy and philanthropy, the CPO of the Boys & Girls Club of Austin, the director of the Downtown Austin Alliance, a doula, multiple school principals, and more. Throughout the program, these Fellows’ main objective is to get to know each other and make themselves known, so when program leaders can offer connections to outside organizations, they know who to recommend. Coleman tells a story about Aaron Demerson of the Texas Workforce Commission speaking at a session, and having a meeting booked with one of the fellows within "a couple of hours."

AALI has further expanded its outreach by launching a one-day event, Black X Conference, which allows anyone who registers to join and make connections whether or not they plan to pursue a fellowship. Scheduled annually for the Friday leading into the Juneteenth holiday, this year's Black X Conference is set for June 16.

"People ... seem to just really enjoy it and it lights a fire beyond just connecting with each other" says Coleman. "They learn about all these different issue areas and the Black community history and lens ... and then they're connected. So now if they choose to activate, they'd have what they need: They've got the information, they're aware. They know where to get more information."

More information about the African American Leadership Institute (AALI), including a full list of 2023 fellows with LinkedIn pages, is available at aaliaustin.org.