Austin Food & Wine Festival: 10 Questions with … Tyson Cole

Tyson Cole and his 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.
Tyson Cole and his 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.

Uchi founder and James Beard Award winner Tyson Cole will compete in Saturday’s Rock Your Taco (which he has won twice). He will also serve composed small plates at the Chef Showcase on Sunday afternoon at Republic Square Park.

First important meal you ever cooked for another person?

The first catering gig I did by myself for 20 or so people has to be it. The off-site cooking gave me the confidence to attempt to open Uchi in 2003.

Favorite cooking tool in the kitchen?

Sheet pans and aluminum foil.

Most overrated/underrated food?

Overrated: cake. Underrated: vinegar.

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

Water

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

Carrots

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

ABC Kitchen (New York City)

Neapolitan or New York style-pizza?

Neapolitan

Cake or pie?

Pie

Dream four-person dinner party?

Mario Batali, Matthew McConaughey, Thom Yorke, Jimmy Fallon.

Bagel or breakfast taco?

Taco, of course!

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

Austin Food & Wine Festival: 10 Questions with … Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson holds his Braised Lamb taco at the Austin Food and Wine Festival's Rock Your Taco event at Republic Square Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (Credit: Deborah Cannon)
Hugh Acheson holds his Braised Lamb taco at the Austin Food and Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco event at Republic Square Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (Credit: Deborah Cannon)

Owner of restaurants across Georgia, famed chef Hugh Acheson has won multiple James Beard awards and was named Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2002. He also has gained celebrity as a judge on “Top Chef.” Acheson will conduct a demonstration on the wonders of the avocado at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Auditorium Shores. He will also compete in the Rock Your Taco event, beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday at Republic Square Park.

First important meal you ever cooked for another person?

I remember cooking an elaborate (at the time) meal for my dad one time when I was maybe 15. It was a seared tuna dish with some sort of rice and a carrot sauce. Very ’80s.

Favorite cooking tool in the kitchen?

I love a good spoon, one that feels right in your hand and acts as everything a knife can’t be: spatula, baster, turner, stirrer, plating device.

Most overrated/underrated food?

Truffles are overrated and are just a ludicrous amount of money for earthy umami. Done with the truffle. (I am a cheap person.) Onion is the most underrated flavor and ingredient. It is a versatile workhorse.

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

A glass of red Burgundy. Nothing fancy, maybe a simple Beaune.

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

More vegetables. We have learned how to cook vegetables and it kind of makes me giddy.

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

Sushi Gen in Los Angeles. I like sushi a lot.

Neapolitan or New York-style pizza?

Neapolitan

Cake or pie?

Pie

Dream four-person dinner party?

Tom Waits, Kurt Vonnegut, Yoda.

Bagel or breakfast taco?

Bagel

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

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

oleary

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 austinfoodandwinefestival.com

Austin Food & Wine Festival: 10 Questions with … David Bull

David Bull, executive chef and co-owner Second Bar + Kitchen.
David Bull, executive chef and co-owner Second Bar + Kitchen.

Second Bar + Kitchen chef-partner David Bull, who earned the honor of Best New Chef from Food & Wine in 2003 and came to prominence at the Driskill Grill, will join with Driskill Grill executive chef Troy Knapp ahead of the fest on Wednesday to pay tribute to the elegant hotel that is celebrating its 130th birthday.

First important meal you ever cooked for another person?

Personally: we had large family gatherings growing up, and my aunts and uncles were always in charge of the food. I remember I was asked to make the deviled eggs for Christmas one year — this was a huge honor to be included in the preparations of the meal. I felt like I was a “mad man” cooking deviled eggs!!

Professionally: I had the privilege to cook for the late Charlie Trotter at the Mansion on Turtle Creek. Dean (Fearing) joined him at the table along with Charlie’s mother, who was celebrating her birthday at the time. I lost a few nights sleep over this one. But it went off without a hitch and I have a signature and message from chef Trotter that I cherish.

Favorite cooking tool in the kitchen?

The standards come to mind: my knives, blender, zester — but I don’t have a favorite — I’m a firm believer that every task has the right tool and you should use any tool available to make your life easier!

Most overrated/underrated food?

Another hard question — I’m not sure I can answer this. I find value in all foods — I think vegetables have gotten a bad rap but are starting to get the attention that they deserve. I find that root vegetables are underrated on the consumer side but chefs have often loved their depth of flavor and versatility.

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

Water for sure, followed by a cold Lone Star and scotch

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

Also a tough question. We are working on tempeh at the moment, and I love the versatility and health properties of this product.

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

I would go home and have an old-school Italian family get-together. These gatherings are what began my inspiration, and I’ve never had better meatballs or lasagna!

Neapolitan or New York-style pizza?

Neapolitan

Cake or pie?

Carrot cake

Dream four-person dinner party?

Elon Musk, Bernie Sanders, my father, Mike Tyson

Bagel or breakfast taco?

Depends on where I am: In New York, I would have a bagel, for sure. But in Texas, it’s a taco all the way.

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

Trace hosting Crush, an unofficial AFWF after party April 23

crush

You don’t have to have a badge or pass to attend Trace’s 5th annual after party following Austin Food & Wine Fest’s Rock Your Taco event on April 23. Crush, the “mid-summer night’s dream”-inspired event features entertainment (contortionists, an interactive art exhibit), music, a raffle and more. Bites and sips will be provided by Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Austin Winery and Rodney Strong Wines. Tickets cost $35 in advance and $40 at the door for the event that runs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the grant program of the benefiting the Austin Food & Wine Alliance. More information and tickets at whotelaustin.com/crush.

 

 

Austin Food & Wine Festival releases schedule

Chicago chef Graham Elliott returns to the Austin Food & Wine Festival for a demo on April 23.
Chicago chef Graham Elliott returns to the Austin Food & Wine Festival for a demo on April 23.

National names and first time Austin Food & Wine Festival participants Jimmy Bannos and Jimmy Bannos Jr. (Purple Pig in Chicago) and Los Angeles partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Son of a Gun and Animal in Los Angeles) will be a few of the stars at AFWF’s presentations and demos on Saturday afternoon. Headlining the day’s afternoon festivities will be returning favorites Graham Elliot and Andrew Zimmern, who pulled a WWE-style smackdown at last year’s festival. Famed chef Jonathan Waxman returns to take one of the late afternoon spots Sunday, along with Austin Master Sommeliers Craig Collins and Devon Broglie. The exact topics of the demos is not listed on AFWF’s site.

The roster of talent for the popular Fire Pits was also released and includes Ned Elliot (Foreign & Domestic), Jack Gilmore (Jack Allen’s Kitchen); Paul Qui (Qui), and Blaine Staniford (Grace, Little Red Wasp) on Saturday and Brian Moses (Contigo), Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine, Odd Duck), Jack Gilmore(Jack Allen’s Kitchen) and Kent Rathbun (Abacus, Hickory, Jasper’s) on Sunday.

Fore complete schedules and ticketing information, visit austinfoodandwinefestival.com.

 

 

Austin Food & Wine Festival: New events, a slew of new faces and a ticketing change

Hugh Acheson holds his Braised Lamb taco at the Austin Food and Wine Festival's Rock Your Taco event at Republic Square Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015.
Hugh Acheson holds his Braised Lamb taco at the Austin Food and Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco event at Republic Square Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

The fifth annual Austin Food & Wine Festival will feature a couple of new events and a host of new faces when it takes over Auditorium Shores and Republic Square Park on April 22-24. There will also be a new/old look to ticketing for the festival that features dozens of tastings, book signings, demonstrations and interactive discussions.

Two new events will help bookend the festival, with a separately ticketed Social Hour, featuring Austin mixologists Justin Lavenue and Dennis Gobis of the Roosevelt Room, taking place at the Madison on Friday night, and a Sunday gospel brunch featuring pedal steel great Robert Randolph and the Voices of Greater Cavalry Gospel Choir at Auditorium Shores.

In addition to welcoming returning chefs like Tyson Cole of Uchi and David Bull of Second Bar + Kitchen, the festival will see a flood of new talent from around the state and country. Friday night’s Taste of Texas event at Republic Square Park will welcome familiar faces Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio and Tatsu Aikawa of Austin’s Ramen Tatsu-ya, as well as newcomers Matt Blake of Bolsa in Dallas, Mary Cuclis of Indian restaurant Pondicheri in Houston and pastry chef Susan Querejazu of Barley Swine and Odd Duck.

The daytime events Saturday and Sunday include the popular fire pit cooking demonstrations from chefs like Barley Swine’s Bryce Gilmore and Qui’s Paul Qui, and the chef showcases both days will include food from veterans Todd Duplechan (Lenoir) and Rick Lopez (La Condesa), as well as bites form first-timers Frank Mnuk (Geraldine’s), Tim Lane (Burn), Nicholas Yanes of Juniper and many more.

Rock Your Taco, one of the festival’s most popular events each year, will take place Saturday night, with talented chefs from Texas and across the country trying to outdo each other with inventive tacos. Reigning champion Tim Love (Lonesome Dove) will defend his crown against a group that includes two-time winner Cole and impressive Rock Your Taco rookies like Jimmy Bannos and Jimmy Banos Jr. of the Purple Pig in Chicago, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Trois Mec in Los Angeles, and Seamus Mullen of Containers at Mondrian London.

Ticketing will revert to the format of the first few years, as the festival has eliminated a la carte ticketing options for the Friday and Saturday night events at Republic Square Park. The Weekender pass ($250) gives attendees access to the Saturday and Sunday events, tastings and live fire demos at Auditorium Shores, including the Gospel Brunch, while the $625 All-In badge gives festival goers admission to all day and night events, as well as an opportunity to participate in chef Love’s rowdy and popular hands-on grilling demos one of the weekend days. Tickets for the Social Hour and Thursday night’s unofficial kick-off dinner, Feast Under the Stars, must be purchased separately. Tickets are on sale at austinfoodandwinefestival.com/tickets.