Austin Food & Wine Festival announces lineup; tickets go on sale

Matthew Odam
modam@statesman.com
Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto will once again compete in the Rock Your Taco event at the Austin Food and Wine Festival. [STATESMAN FILE]

Celebrity chefs will battle for taco bragging rights; chef Tim Love will fire up amateur grillers and work them into a frenzy; and some of the best chefs from Texas will serve bites to wine-sipping park strollers when the 9th annual Austin Food & Wine Festival comes to Auditorium Shores and East Austin’s Fair Market. Tickets for the event that runs April 24-26 are now on sale at austinfoodandwinefestival.com/tickets.

Things heat up Friday with Tim Love’s Grillin and Chillin’ demo at Auditorium Shores, which is available to All-In ticket holders ($625), and the festival swings into full gear Saturday and Sunday at the park for all attendees (Weekender tickets cost $250), as chefs descend on Auditorium Shores for cooking demos, tastings and book signings. Chefs participating in the weekend events this year include Jo Chan (Eberly), Taylor Hall (Apis), Lance Kirkpatrick (Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew), Margarita & Nestor Mendez (Pueblo Viejo), Rich Reimbolt (Better Half), Edgar Rico (Nixta Taqueria), James Robert (Fixe), Ryan Samson (Vespaio), Lakana Sopajan-Trubiana (Dee Dee ATX), Carmen Valera (Tamale House East) and more. The live Fire Pits area will include John Bates & Brandon Martinez of InterStellar BBQ and an expanded live fire cooking area from Contigo’s Andrew Wiseheart. The daytime events on Saturday and Sunday will also include wine and cocktail tastings and book signings.

Arguably the event’s most popular programming, Rock Your Taco, which is open to All-In ticket holders, takes place on the fest’s Saturday night and will feature some of the biggest names in Austin and from around the country offering their creative taco takes at Fair Market. The list of competitors trying to dethrone reigning champ Andrew Zimmern will include first-time attendees Mashama Bailey & Johno Morisano (The Grey in Savannah), JJ Johnson (Field Trip, New York City) and TV personality Anne Burrell, who will join a group that includes multiple winner and fest partner Tyson Cole (Uchi), Aarón Sánchez (Johnny Sánchez, New Orleans), Philip Speer (Comedor) and Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley of Foreign & Domestic.

A separately ticketed event entitled Feast Under the Stars ($250) take places on April 23. The dinner will feature chefs Kevin Fink (Emmer & Rye, Hestia), Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine) and Trevor Moran (Nashville’s Locust) and benefits the Zero Foodprint initiative in support of Austin’s Zero Waste program, which aims to reduce 90% of the trash sent to landfills by 2040.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, a non-profit that fosters awareness and innovation in the Central Texas food and wine community through grants, educational programming and events. AFW has contributed more than $1 million to the organization since their partnership began.