This year’s weekend festival, which takes place April 25 to 27, will feature dozens of tantalizing culinary events, a slew of interactive cooking demos, professional panel discussions and a bounty of opportunities to feast and booze.
Here’s a snippet of what you’ll find at the 2014 Austin Food & Wine Festival:
Feast Under the Stars
This brand new addition takes place on Thursday, April 24, prior to the commencement of the gluttonous festival. A lineup of Texas chefs will put together a family-style, al fresco feast for exclusive ticket-holders at Austin’s Butler Park. Featured chefs include familiar faces Austin’s Tyson Cole and Fort Worth’s Tim Love, as well as Kent Rathbun of Abacus in Dallas, Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, and Jodi Elliott of Foreign & Domestic and the soon-to-open Bribery bakery, both in Austin. Tickets for Feast Under the Stars are $185 and must be purchased separately from both the Taste and Savor admission tickets.
Even more Texas – not just Austin – chefs
This year’s Taste of Texas features acclaimed chefs from all corners of the Lone Star State. Here’s the full list of chefs who are preparing bites for the Taste of Texas event: Tatsu Aikawa of Austin’s Ramen Tatsu-Ya; Justin Yu of Oxheart, in Houston; Alexis Chong of Sway, in Austin; Jason Dady of Tre Trattoria, in San Antonio; Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher of Lenoir, in Austin; Omar Flores of Driftwood, in Dallas; Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of The Pass & Provisions, in Houston; Diego Galicia of Mixtli, in San Antonio; James Holmes of Lucy’s Fried Chicken and Olivia in Austin; Matt McCallister of FT33, in Dallas; Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue; Andre Natera of Marquee Grill & Toko V, in Dallas; Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s Restaurant & Backstreet Café, in Houston; Jesse Perez of Arcade Kitchen, in San Antonio; Blaine Staniford of Grace, in Fort Worth; and Philip Speer of Uchi and Uchiko, in Austin and Houston.
Tyson Cole making more kickass tacos
Yup, Rock Your Taco is back again. This year’s competition features two-time taco winner Tyson Cole pitted against national contenders: Rick Bayless; Richard Blais; Monica Pope; Tim Love; John Currence; Bryce Gilmore; Chris Shepherd; Jeni Britton Bauer; and a handful of others. Food & Wine publisher Christina Grdovic, celebrity chef Graham Elliot, and Bizarre Foods personality Andrew Zimmern will judge the fan-favorite event.
Wine-makers, Brewers, and Mixologists
In addition to its dining and drinking events, the AF&W festival has pieced together an impressive lineup of beverage professionals, such as master sommeliers Devon Broglie and Craig Collins; sommelier Jill Gubesch of Frontera Grill; Food & Wine magazine’s executive wine editor Ray Isle, and a number of other distinguished beverage figures.
And, yes, pricey tickets
Admission to the festival has never been cheap and will remain thus. For $850, a Savor pass grants attendees priority admission to all demos, panels, seminars, a VIP lounge, Grand Tasting events, and entrance to the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco events. Those who purchase the Taste pass ($250) are granted several of the same perks as Savor attendees (sans the VIP lounge and Grand Tastings), but must purchase tickets to the Taste of Texas ($150) and the Rock Your Taco ($150) events separately.
The full lineup and schedule for the Austin Food & Wine Festival will be released on Tuesday, February 25. Until then, Texas Monthly will be featuring interviews from a few of the participating chefs. For more information, visit the Austin Food & Wine Festival website.