Pâté Letelier and Tiff’s Treats detail their ACL prep work
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On Friday, I began looking into how different food vendors and restaurants were gearing up for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. So far, I’ve spoken with Second Bar + Kitchen, Torchy’s Tacos, and The Salt Lick; today, I finish off my inquiry with Pâté Letelier and Tiff’s Treats. Read further to see how Jackie Letelier of Pâté Letelier and Tiffany Chen of Tiff’s Treats have been diligently preparing their businesses for the three-day music event. Jackie Letelier of Pâté Letelier What factors go into deciding what dishes you’ll serve at an event like this? This year, just like last, we were lucky enough to be included in the HOPE Farmers Market area at the food court. I decided to make a picnic box for ACL. It’s sort of like a “lunchable,” but it’s filled with local artisanal products. My idea was to make something nobody else was making; something you can eat alone or share. It gives a bunch of people a chance to try some local products they may have never heard of. Our picnic boxes include Antonelli’s Cheese featuring Birdville Reserve by Eagle Mountain Farmhouse, pickled Asian pears (Engel Farms) made by SOURCE, roasted nuts from Austin Nuts, Dr. Kracker Snackflats, and of course some of our pâté. What sort of prep work and labor goes into an event like this? Planning started months ago. Ever since I decided on the cheese at Antonelli’s, they have been aging it at their cheese house. I had to stock up on liver starting a month ago to make sure I had enough for production day. We have spent all week in the kitchen. One full day of making sixty pounds of chicken liver pâté and packaging them in two-ounce containers. One full day making mushroom pâté, cutting tons of pounds of cheese, and packaging pickles. Last thing is assembling the box. We got five long tables, set them up with containers, and filled them with all five items. Lids on, label on, and we are ready to go. On Thursday, we load in at Zilker Park and pack all our product in large refrigerated trucks. The fun part begins Friday; it’s nice to talk to so many people about all these products and tell them where they can find them after the festival. Are you going to catch any shows during ACL? I am going to try to get out from behind the booth and check out as much as I can. I am really looking forward to seeing Neil Young. He is one of my favorite musicians. I’ve never seen him live, so he has been on the top of my must see list for years. Tiffany Chen of Tiff’s Treats What factors go into deciding what dishes you’ll serve at an event like this? For simplicity, we stick to our top two flavors- chocolate chip and snickerdoodle, plus brownies. We also sell our Tiffwiches, which is an ice cream sandwich made with our warm cookies and Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream. That is a popular snack because it’s easy to carry and fun to eat- especially when it gets warm. This year we are also debuting a brand new item that will only be sold at ACL. It’s called a Tiffblitz and it’s a blend of our chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream. It’s topped with sugar cookie crumbles. You can even top it with a warm cookie. This new snack will be easier to eat on the go – not messy at all. It should also make our line move even faster, since they are already packaged and quick to hand out. What sort of prep work and labor goes into an event like this? Tons of prep work goes into ACL. We have one manager who is in charge of running our booth for all the festivals we participate in, including ACL. He puts lots of work into getting ready. You have to get enough staff to work the booth, on top of the normal hours we are still running at the stores. You have to rent and get all of your temporary equipment out to the site, get the booth ready, and bake cookies and scoop ice cream in such a small space. There is a lot of prep work that goes into deciding the perfect layout for efficiency. We also gear up to produce lots of extra cookie dough just to use at ACL as well as producing our new Tiffblitz product. Planning for the next year starts the day after the current festival ends. Our manager immediately starts booking hotels and reserving ovens for the next year. During the event, he coordinates with Sysco to make sure we have as much of our supplies and dough as we need. You can only access the truck once an hour, so it’s important to plan correctly for what you’ll need in that hour. The actual week of the festival begins on Tuesday with a staff meeting to prep everyone for what to expect. Loading in equipment is on Wednesday, our manager meets with the health and fire departments on Thursday, and then baking begins on Friday when ACL starts. Monday is used for dismantling and organizing the sales and financial figures. Are you going to catch any shows during ACL? Yes, I’ll be catching several shows at ACL. Specifically, I’m looking forward to The Shins. I remember hearing one of their songs on a boat returning from a snorkeling trip in Key West, and it was such a perfect moment. I’ve always loved that song and I’m excited to see them live for the first time. I’m also planning to see Weezer, whom I saw in 2005 when they were at the Frank Erwin Center. It was a great show. I’ve recently been listening to The Civil Wars on a recommendation from a friend, and we are planning to see them at ACL as well as their after show at Stubb’s.