Austin Food & Wine Festival preview sampler and predictions

Tyson Cole’s Applewood Smoked Masu Taco at the Austin Food and Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco event at Republic Square Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (Deborah Cannon AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The Austin Food & Wine Festival returns this weekend for its sixth year. The festival started in 2012, but was cancelled due to rain last year. The weekend will see dozens of chefs from around the country descend on Auditorium Shores and Fair Market for three days and two nights of events. Here are a few things about which we are excited. (You can still purchase Weekender and All-In tickets at austinfoodandwinefestival.com and join in the delicious madness.)

  • The Friday night kick off event as been rebranded as Lone Star Nights and features a “global market” theme, so I am curious to see what cultures the chefs will honor. I talked to chef Diego Galicia of Mixtli in San Antonio and Austin’s Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye about the Mexican, Peruvian and Italian touches they will bring to Texas flavors.
  • The Lone Star event is a great way to taste food from chefs around Texas whose restaurants I don’t get too very often or whose restaurants I’ve never visited. Sadly not been to Nonna in Dallas yet, so I’m happy to get a chance to see what chef Julian Barsotti cooks up.
  • The hands-on grilling demo with Tim Love is always a good, booze-soaked time. I cooked the greatest steak of my life at one a couple of years ago. And while I won’t be participating this year (leaving a grill free for an All In ticket holder), I will keep an ear out Saturday and Sunday at the fest for any new tips or bon mots from the chef.
  • The Fire Pit is always a good place to get your char fix, and sometimes you might learn a thing or two, like the name of the new restaurant concept from Contigo owners Andrew Wiseheart and Ben Edgerton a few years ago. Interested to see what Sonya Cote has in store Sunday.
  • Saturday night’s Rock Your Taco will see Love defend his crown against multiple winner Tyson Cole, and I’m curious to see what the all-star cast from around the country has prepared. I’m predicting first timer Ludo Lefebvre or Alon Shaya wins this year.
  • Watching DJ Mel get drunk rich people to dance at the Grand Tasting Saturday and Sunday.

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