Last month I had the opportunity to go to my first food and wine festival. I was pretty excited since I have had ‘attend a food and wine festival’ on my life’s bucket list since practically I started eating. And even though I was working the event, I had so much fun mixing and mingling with new friends and some famous chefs.
Here are a few highlights from the 2013 Austin Food and Wine Festival. If you follow along on Instagram or Twitter you saw many of these photos, but here are a few more and the ‘dish’ behind each photo.
If you have never been to a food and wine festival, I am here to say it is totally like what you imagine. You go around eating and drinking all.day.long. But it is more than that too. There are live cooking demos from popular TV and cookbook chefs, as well as popular local chefs. Not to mention the hands on grilling classes as part of the Grilling 101 class with the king of grilling, Chef Tim Love.
I was able to catch a handful of chef demos. One of my favorite demos was watching Chef Graham Elliot, known for his appearances on Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters; and a judge, alongside Gordon Ramsey and Joe Bastianich on the ever popular TV cooking series MasterChef. Chef Elliot also has several popular restaurants in the Chicago area and was named the youngest ever Four Star Chef. I thoroughly enjoyed Chef Elliot’s cooking demo, American Classics 2.0, because he was just laughing and having such a good time during the demo, which was so good to see since those TV shows can be so serious. He also stayed to take pictures with some of his fans after the demo and was so nice and friendly in person (he even responded to one of my Tweets about the event!).
The other chef demos I caught, were Chef Andrew Zimmern (side note: Andrew is now one of my newest followers on Twitter, eekk!), the king of Bizarre Foods. Zimmern’s demo, Wild Bird 3 Ways, was very informative as well as fun as he shared stories and entertained the crowd. Another fun cooking demo, was watching Chef Marc Murphy, known as one of the judges on Chopped. I am a huge (like seriously huge) fan of chopped, so I was elated to finally see this Chopped judge cooking it up in the kitchen.
It was also entertaining to watch local Chef Jack Gilmore (local Austin chef personality and owner of Jack Allen’s Kitchen) just casually ‘hangout’ and grill with cookbook author and TV cooking personality Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Oh yeah… and how can you go wrong with whole roasted pig… prepared by these two fine chefs.
And if ‘sipping’ is more your thing, there was plenty of that too! From wine classes taught by professional sommeliers to beer and liquor tastings. These classes were very informative and educational. I had to attend the class Texas Wines: Ready for the Main Stage; which discussed the great wines being produced here in Texas and how they are award winning wines competing against other wines from around the world. It was very interesting to learn how these Texas wineries are working with grape growers, scientists and farmers to produce the best grapes, to yield the best wines, all while enduring the crazy Texas climate.
Then there was the Grand Tasting room (the most popular spot in the festival). Full of all you can eat, and drink, ‘tastes’ from brands, companies, local restaurants near and far.
Seriously. Eating, drinking and mingling with world renowned chefs… A foodie’s dream!