This past week, organizers of the Austin Food & Wine Festival released the super-secret lineup of culinary talent for next year’s event, scheduled for April 26-28, 2013, with a promise that this year’s bag of culinary tricks will be bigger and better than last year.
The 2013 festival will feature more than 40 events over three days, including Grand Tasting tents, hands-on seminars, food, wine and cocktail tastings, book signings, and live music at its original location on Auditorium Shores.
Although the festival kicked off its inaugural year in 2012 with a delectable bang — as well as a few hitches and glitches — the founders and partners are confident they can build on the highlights and remedy the lowlights from the festival’s first year.
Expanded ticket options
Ticket prices are about the same as last year with two levels, called “flavors,” and they include a few more perks than before.
The Taste ($250) pass includes access to more than 40 demos, seminars and tastings, plus daily Grand Tasting events. Purchasers of the Taste pass can also add on tickets for Friday night’s Taste of Texas event ($150) and/or Saturday night’s Rock Your Taco event ($200).
The Savor ($850) pass includes priority access to all demos, tastings and hands-on experiences; private Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday; access to a VIP lounge with a bar and additional tastings; and access to both the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco evening events.
Friday night highlights
The Taste of Texas Kickoff returns to Republic Park with live music from Delta Spirit and the Whiskey Shivers. It will also focus on featuring a smattering of the top culinary talent in the Lone Star State:
- Tim Byres (Smoke)
- Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurant Group)
- Ned & Jodi Elliot (Foreign & Domestic)
- Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue)
- Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner (The Pass & Provisions)
- Sarah Grueneberg (Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia)
- James Holmes (Lucy’s Fried Chicken and Olivia)
- Paul Qui (East Side King)
- John Russ (Lüke)
- Chris Shepherd (Underbelly)
- Philip Speer (Uchi and Uchiko)
- Blaine Staniford (Grace)
- Danny Trace (Brennan’s)
- Tre Wilcox (Marquee Grill)
- Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo)
- Jamie Zelko (Zelko Bistro)
“We checked out the festival last year as guests and were blown away by it,” says Terrence Gallivan of Houston’s Pass & Provisions who, along with business partner Seth Siegel-Gardner, are recent additions to the 2013 lineup.
“More than just a food festival, it showcases the music and culture that makes up Austin’s DNA. It brings consumers and media from all over the country to our home state and shines a spotlight on the phenomenal depth of culinary talent that we have here.”
Saturday night highlights
Following a full day at Auditorium Shores, the festival moves back to Republic Park for a reprise of the Rock Your Taco competition, which will not only include a few Texas-based chefs, but also a few celebrated out-of-state contenders who will serve up their best taco dish in an effort to dethrone last year’s champ, Tyson Cole.
Following a live music performance from Allen Stone, Rock Your Taco judges Christina Grdovic, Adam Richman and a special guest judge will reveal their top taco choice from this year’s list of Rock Your Taco chefs:
- Tyson Cole (Uchi & Uchiko)
- David Bull (Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen and Bar Congress)
- Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal and Son of a Gun)
- Susan Feniger (Border Grill)
- Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine)
- Tim Love (Love Shack, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed)
- Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Cafe Spiaggia, Terzo Piano and Bar Toma)
- Marc Murphy (Landmarc NYC and Ditch Plains)
- Rene Ortiz (La Condesa Austin, La Condesa Napa Valley and Sway)
- Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club and FoodRepublic.com)
- Laura Sawicki (La Condesa & Sway)
- Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar)
- Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto NYC)
- Andrew Zimmern (chef, author, teacher, James Beard Foundation Award winner from Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel)
In addition to the above culinary talent, the festival will welcome a star-studded collection of local sommeliers, mixologists and authors, including Devon Broglie (Master Sommelier), Craig Collins (Master Sommelier), Russ Kane (author, The Wineslinger), Bill Norris (Alamo Drafthouse), June Rodil (Qui Restaurant), Jason Stevens (Bar Congress) and Nate Wales (La Condesa and Sway).
A portion of festival proceeds will benefit The Austin Food & Wine Alliance, a nonprofit that helps foster awareness and innovation in the Central Texas food and wine community. Tickets are now on sale on the Austin Food & Wine Festival website.