After months of hype and anticipation, Austin’s most popular food festival closed out another successful year at the C3 Presents, 7th annual Austin Food + Wine Festival.
Attendees arrived hungry in their most fashionable Spring attire, ready for an exciting itnerary packed with cooking demos, cocktail seminars, hands on grilling and culinary tastings. Those in attendance enjoyed tacos, tequila, and fired meats to spoil themselves with all of the delicious signature flavors that have helped make Austin the culinary destination it is today.
As usual, there was enough alcohol, beer and wine at this year’s festival to fill Lady Bird Lake. Nearly every major brand was available for tastings, including locals like Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix and Celis Brewery to well known brands from around the world including; Makers Mark, Miraval Rosé, Bulleit and wines from Napa Valley. If you found yourself thirsty for a drink for more than 5 minutes, you were probably attending the wrong festival.
This year’s festival featured bites from local restaurants and the always entertaining fire pit area where chefs presented their own unique offerings. Bites included Austin themed fare from BBQ and fired meats, to fancy cheeses and chef driven finger foods. Stations daily and Fire Pits provided interactive experiences cooking with live fire from local and national pitmasters and chefs.
The festival grounds were alive with cooking demos, book signings and an interactive area where chefs offered tastings to attendees throughout the weekend. Local chefs included the likes of David Bull (Second Bar + Kitchen, La Corsha Hospitality Group); Sonya Coté (Eden East, Hillside Farmacy); Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller Barbecue) and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo, Contigo Catering, Chicon). The Chef Showcase in the Grand Taste Pavilion featured signature dishes from participating chefs, including: Brandon Martinez (Noble Sandwich Co.); Stephen Bonin (Geraldine’s); Jeff Brown (Old Thousand); Ji Peng Chen (Wu Chow); Austin Ewald (Grizzelda’s); Kazu Fukumoto (Fukumoto: Sushi and Yakitori Izakaya) and Albert Gonzalez (Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile) with more many more talented chefs included.
Rock Your Taco
Saturday evening’s signature, Rock Your Taco, brought out the competitive side of the chefs involved as they squared off against one another to create the ultimate taco. Chefs included Tatsu Aikawa & Takuya Matsumoto (Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya); Nyesha Arrington (Native; Los Angeles); Jamie Bissonnette (Toro, Coppa, Little Donkey; Boston & NYC); 2017’s Rock Your Taco champion, Tyson Cole (Hai Hospitality: Loro); Andrew Curren (ELM Restaurant Group); Cassidee Dabney (The Barn at Blackberry Farm; Walland, TN); Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurants; San Antonio); Amanda Freitag (Chopped); Diego Galicia & Rico Torres (Mixtli; San Antonio); Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish; Los Angeles); Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat; Chicago); Paul Kahan (One Off Hospitality Group; Chicago); Tim Love; Bryan Voltaggio (Volt; Frederick, MD); and Michael White (Altamarea; London, Istanbul, Hong Kong, New Jersey, NYC, Washington, D.C.). In the end, Chef Jamie Bissonnette took home the famous guitar trophy with his winning taco.