Watch: Recap of Rock Your Taco at Austin Food & Wine Festival

[cmg_anvato video=”4382028″ autoplay=”true”]

More than a dozen chefs from around the country competed for taco supremacy at Austin Food &Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco event Saturday night at Fair Market. Check out the highlights in the video.

Chef Amanda Freitag poses with her lechon de coco taco during the Austin Food and Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco celebrity chef showdown on Saturday April 28, 2018, in Austin. (Rodolfo Gonzalez FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


Austin Food & Wine Festival: Chatting with C3 Presents partner Charlie Jones

[cmg_anvato video=”4382005″ autoplay=”true”]

Noted foodie and partner of festival producer C3 Presents Charlie Jones talks about this year’s fest and his favorite event at the festival.

Racks of ribs grill over a fire pit during the Austin Food & Wine Festival. (Nick Wagner AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


Austin Food & Wine Festival: Chatting with Brooklyn’s Billy Durney about Texas and barbecue

[cmg_anvato video=”4382003″ autoplay=”true”]

We headed up to Brooklyn last year to check in on their much-discussed barbecue scene. The only place we visited that would’ve cracked the Top 10 in Austin? Billy Durney’s Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook. We chatted with the barbecue cook at the Austin Food & Wine Festival.

A pig cooks on a rotisserie during the Austin Food & Wine Festival. (Nick Wagner AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


Austin Food & Wine Festival: A chat with Poke-Poke owner Jason McVeary

[cmg_anvato video=”4382002″ autoplay=”true”]

Austin’s Poke-Poke made its first appearance at the Austin Food & Wine Festival this year. We caught up with restaurant co-owner Jason McVeary.

Poke Poke



See which celebrity chefs and big Austin names will be cooking at the Austin Food & Wine Festival

[cmg_anvato video=3934259]

The Austin Food & Wine Festival will welcome a host of new faces and introduce a few changes at the seventh annual event that takes place at Auditorium Shores April 27-29. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. at

During a year in which much attention has been brought to the culture of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is worth noting that the festival will welcome a large number of female chefs, wine experts and celebrities, including Stephanie Izard of Chicago, the first woman to win “Top Chef;” fellow “Top Chef” alumnus Nyesha Arrington; Southern chef Cassidee Dabney of The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee; chef and renowned cookbook author Lidia Bastianich and Helen Johannesen, wine director of a mini empire of restaurants in Southern California. Those women, all first timers at AFWF, will join a group of fellow festival rookies that includes barbecue master Rodney Scott from South Carolina; James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur Paul Kahan of Chicago and New York City pitmaster Billy Durney of Hometown Barbecue in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 

Chef Amanda Freitag of “Chopped” fame is one of many female chefs coming to this year’s Austin Food & Wine Festival. (Tom McCarthy FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The chefs will participate in the three-day event that includes more than 40 events, tastings and demonstrations, including Friday night’s Grillin’ and Chillin’ with chef Tim Love and the always-popular Saturday night Rock Your Taco competition, which will pit Tatsu Aikawa & Takuya Matsumoto (Ramen Tatsu-Ya / Kemuri Tatsu-Ya), Tyson Cole (Hai Hospitality: Loro), Amanda Freitag (“Chopped”), Diego Galicia & Rico Torres (Mixtli in San Antonio), Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish in Los Angeles),  Izard (Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat), Kahan (One Off Hospitality Group), Michael White (Altamarea) and others against one another in a battle for taco supremacy.

As we mentioned earlier this week, both the Fire Pits experience and Chefs Showcase during the Saturday and Sunday afternoon portions of the fest have grown this year to feature more chefs and more food, with names like Sonya Coté (Eden East, Hillside Farmacy), Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller Barbecue) and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo, Contigo Catering, Chicon) cooking over open flames at the former and Austin chefs including Ji Peng Chen (Wu Chow), Kazu Fukumoto (Fukumoto), Taylor Hall (Apis), Lance Kirkpatrick (Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew), Stephanie McClenny (Confituras), Jason McVearry (Poke Poke), Sterling Riddings (Guild), Maribel Rivero (Yuyo), Max Snyder (Pitchfork Pretty), Carmen Valera (Tamale House East) and Miguel Vidal (Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ) serving dishes at the latter.

The unofficial kick-off for the festival is a separately ticketed Feast Under the Stars dinner on Thursday night, with a meal prepared by Tyson Cole (Uchi), Mary Catherine Curren (ELM Restaurant Group), Todd Duplechan (Lenoir), Kevin Fink (Emmer & Rye), and Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie). Tickets to that cost $250 and can be purchased online.

Tickets for the April event go on sale at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at


Win hotel stay, flights to Austin and all-access tickets to Austin Food & Wine Festival

The Austin Food & Wine Festival has announced a series of changes to their annual festival. Chef Tim Love, a festival partner, will move his massively popular hands-on grilling session from the weekend afternoons to Friday night. As per recent years, the event, at which attendees learn to cook a perfect steak, veggies and more, is for All-In ticket holders. That session will supplant the Lone Star Nights event, which has kicked off the festival in years past and was an add-on ticket possibility for regular ticket holders.  

Tim Love’s Grilling and Chilling event will take place on the Friday night of the festival and be open to all All-In ticket holders. (Jay Janner AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The Fire Pits, an area at the daytime slate of events, will expand this year to include more chefs, more live fire cooking and more food for attendees. The Chef Showcase, which features food from festival chefs, will also grow, giving attendees a chance to more fully get their grub on.

In addition to the changes, the festival has announced a massive Giveaway Getaway package. The winner will receive two round-trip flights to Austin (if you’re a local and win, you can fly in a friend), a room for three nights at the new Fairmont Hotel, two All-In tickets (normally priced at $625 each), rideshare credits and a merch bag full of swag. Head to the festival’s website to enter the Giveaway Getaway.

The Austin Food & Wine Festival takes place April 27-29 at Auditorium Shores in Austin. Tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. 

Austin Food & Wine Festival announces 2018 dates

Ready to hang out with celebrity chefs, learn how to make homemade pasta and get drunk with Tim Love while singing your eyebrows? Well, now you’ve got a weekend to circle on your calendar.

Chef Tim Love hands a taco to Mikaela Blood as the country’s best chefs compete with their own versions of taco dishes in the Rock Your Taco showdown during the Austin Food and Wine Festival at Fair Market April 29. 04/29/17 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Austin Food & Wine Festival posted an Instagram photo today teasing the dates for next year’s festival. It will take place April 27-29.  More details on tickets, talent and more in the weeks and months to come (the lineup and tickets were released in January for this year’s festival). In the meantime, take a look at some of last year’s coverage: