Austin Food & Wine Festival: 10 Questions with … Janina O’Leary


Executive pastry chef and native Texan Janina O’Leary, who has worked at Per Se, Del Posto and Trace at the W Hotel, will join several other chefs for the festival’s unofficial kickoff event, Feast Under the Stars, on Thursday for a family-style al fresco meal.

Most overrated/underrated food?

Fried chicken sandwich is both underrated/overrated. They are everywhere, but they are pretty darn good when they are made right.

Just home from a long night in the kitchen, what are you drinking?

A margarita or a glass of wine.

What’s the next buzzy food coming to restaurant menus?

New Orleans-style food.

Last meal in America (not at one of your restaurants), where do you go?

I would stay home and eat anything my husband cooks or go to Tia Pol in NYC … We can eat the whole menu in one sitting.

Neapolitan or New York-style pizza?

New York-style pizza that’s been sitting on the counter and reheated to order. (Great memories.)

Cake or pie?

I wouldn’t dare choose.

Dream four-person dinner party?

My husband and two sons. The only thing better than a great meal is enjoying it with loved ones.

Bagel or breakfast taco?

Breakfast taco. Chorizo and eggs, please.

The Austin Food and Wine Festival takes place April 22-24 at Auditorium Shores and Republic Square Park. For tickets and more information, visit

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