The James Beard Foundation’s 2018 Taste America® cross-country culinary series, which will visit Austin from November 15-17 for a weekend of food-filled events, is fast approaching.

“James Beard Foundation’s Taste America is such a great opportunity for chefs around the country to collaborate with each other and feel connected. We always look forward to events like these ones, and we’re thrilled to be in Austin and in such fine company,” said Visiting All-Stars Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson, Chefs and Owners of Kismet in Los Angeles.

“Cooking for The James Beard Foundation’s Taste America is an honor of the highest level. The work done by the Foundation is so powerful and important in this critical time. To represent Austin, and our talent-rich restaurant community, is something I will always be grateful to have done,” said Local All-Star Michael Fojtasek, Executive Chef and Owner of Austin’s Olamaie.

A limited number of tickets for the Gala are now available to the public starting at $250. All Taste America benefit dinner VIP ticket holders and table purchasers will participate in an exclusive meet & greet with the chefs, and have access to the November 15 kick-off event Smoke Session, an evening of BBQ, brews, and blues.

Austin’s Friday, November 16th benefit dinner will kick off with a reception filled with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from local chefs and restaurateurs. Afterwards, guests will be seated for an exceptional dinner prepared by Taste America Visiting All-Stars Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson and Local All-Star Michael Fojtasek.  To cap off the evening, guests will be treated to a walk-around dessert reception featuring sweet bites from local chefs.


Kemuri Tatsu-Ya - Hot Luck

Tasting Reception Menu

Kemuri Tartare with Smoked Miso, Shiso Oil, Salted Shishito Peppers, and Pickled Daikon

(Tatsu Aikawa, Kemuri Tatsuya, Austin)


Fall Squash Barbecue with Apple–Saison Marmalade, Sunchoke Cream, and Candied Seeds and Grains

(Zach Hunter, The Brewer’s Table, Austin)


Swordfish pancetta with Green Papaya

(Ben Lustbader and Jason Vincent, Giant, Chicago)


Verlasso Salmon Crudo with Dashi, Lemon, Avocado, and Oregano

(Rene Ortiz***, Launderette**, Austin),


Pickled Gulf Shrimp Cocktail with Okra and Pepper Rémoulade

(Manuel Rodriguez, Host Chef, W Austin, Austin)


Beet Pastrami Sandwiches with Collard Greens, Swiss Cheese Whiz, and Puffed-and-Candied Rye Berries on Fried Rye

(Callie Speer, Holy Roller, Austin)

 Assorted Cheeses sponsored by Kerrygold.


wine pour

Seated Dinner Menu:

1st Course: Sarah Hymanson*** and Sara Kramer, Kismet**, Los Angeles

Little Gem Lettuce with Roasted Tomatoes, Grapefruit, and Sheep’s Milk Feta

2nd Course: Michael Fotjasek, Olamaie***, Austin

Potato–Country Ham Salad with Veldhuizen Cheddar 

3rd Course: Sarah Hymanson*** and Sara Kramer, Kismet**, Los Angeles

Verlasso Salmon with Moroccan-Spiced Carrots, Almond Broth, and Green Zhoug

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2014


Menu is subject to change


A sweet finale to the dinner, the dessert reception menu will feature items such as:


Dark Chocolate Mousse with Milk Chocolate–Texas Pecan Mole, White Chocolate Crumbs, and Citrus Marmalade

(Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Emmer & Rye, Austin)


Chèvre Cheesecake with Honey Apples and Bourbon Pecans

(Sarah Prieto, Austin)


Grapefruit Curd with Aloe Foam, Grapefruit Sorbet, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

(Ariana Quant, Uchi + Uchiko, Austin)

Tickets for Austin’s Taste America benefit dinner are available for purchase at For the full schedule of events and more information, visit An infographic on JBF’s 2018 Taste America can be downloaded here (abridged version here).


About The Author

Hayden Walker
Executive Editor | Co-Publisher

Hayden Walker is the Editor in Chief and Director of Operations for Austin Food Magazine

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