Culinary Stars From Coast to Coast Spice Up Texas’ Biggest Wine & Food Party
Rising Star Chefs Join State’s Best at Festival Culinary Showdown
A bevy of celebrated rising star chefs will join Texas’ top chefs in a four-day culinary showdown at the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, the state’s premier celebration of wine, food, brews and spirits, March 31 – April 3.
Celebrity Chef John Besh will headline the Stars Across Texas Classic, Thursday, March 31, a supreme tasting event showcasing 25 top chefs from the Lone Star State set to the tune of fine wines and spirits-both Texan and international. Besh’s benchmark New Orleans’ fine dining restaurants extended to Texas last fall with the opening of Lüke San Antonio River Walk. His list of culinary accolades includes the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast, Top 10 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine Magazine, finalist on the Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” and the winner of “Iron Chef America,” besting renowned TV Chef Mario Batali.
Another television favorite, Season 3 Top Chef finalist and fan pick Casey Thompson, whose culinary career began at Dallas’ famed Mansion on Turtle Creek where she became sous chef under Texas legend Dean Fearing, will take on other guests and local chefs in a battle of beef in the festival’s new signature event Live Fire! Beef Supremacy Over Flames at the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch on Friday, April 1. Thompson is currently chef at Brownstone in Fort Worth.
“This is one of the most exciting lineups of cutting-edge culinary talent the festival has ever brought together,” said Cathy Cochran-Lewis, festival president. “With the unequaled talent of these Texas chefs coming together with some of the most highly celebrated chefs in the nation, there’s no doubt that festival attendees will have the opportunity of a lifetime to experience extraordinary culinary craftsmanship.”
Considered among the country’s top restaurants, L.A.’s Animal restaurant will be represented by renowned chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. The chef duo was awarded Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2009, received a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant and named Rising Star Chefs by Star Chefs. They were hand-selected by actor and winemaker Kyle MacLachlan to join acclaimed local chefs David Bull of Congress + Second, and Josh Watkins of The Carillon to present dinner under the stars at Star Power: An Evening with Kyle MacLachlan & Animal Restaurant in the courtyard at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center on Saturday, April 2.
Celebrated for his creative, global approach to cooking, Chef Brad Farmerie of Michelin-awarded, James Beard-awarded Public restaurant in New York City, will turn his attention to mastery of beef at Live Fire! just after capturing the 2011 title as pork champion at NYC Cochon 555. Extending his culinary reach as executive chef of Double Crown and Madam Genera, Farmerie was spotlighted on Iron Chef America and Food Network’s Next Iron Chef America in 2009.
From behind the stoves at Portland’s famed Pok Pok Restaurant and his second restaurant, Ping, comes Chef Andy Ricker to show his own beef prowess at Live Fire! Ping was named one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America 2009 by GQ Magazine and Ricker captured the title of Rising Star of the Year 2009 by the Oregonian newspaper.
Well-known Australian adventurer, chef, cookbook author and television host Andrew Dwyer brings his rugged culinary adaptability to showcase his brand of campfire cooking at Live Fire! He will also teach a cooking class, Australian Unleashed: Fine Wines & Rogue Cookery, at the Whole Foods Market® Culinary Center on Saturday, April 2.
As the executive chef at Portland’s Castagna Restaurant, Matt Lightner reigns over one of Portland’s most esteemed restaurants known for its commitment to locally grown ingredients. He was selected as Food & Wine Magazine‘s Top 10 Best New Chefs for 2010 and was a finalist for the Rising Star Chef award by the James Beard Foundation in 2010 and 2011. Castagna received the Oregonian‘s 2010 Restaurant of the Year award. Lightner, who has cooked at some of the world’s top restaurants including Mugaritz, a two-star Michelin restaurant in San Sebastian, and Copenhagen’s Noma, currently regarded as the top restaurant in the world, will present a cooking demonstration at the festival’s culminating party, Sunday Fair, on Sunday, April 3 at the Mexican American Cultural Center.
Other prominent guests include Rodney Muirhead of the nationally celebrated Podnah’s Pit Barbecue in Portland; Josh Ozersky, James Beard-winning food columnist for TIME Magazine and renowned meat expert; and Andrew Knowlton, restaurant and drinks editor at Bon Appétit magazine, James Beard award nominee and a judge on The Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef America” and “Iron Chef America” as well as on NBC’s “Chopping Block.”
Additional Texas culinary celebrities participating in the 2011 festival include Jason Dady, Jason Dady Restaurants, San Antonio; Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin; Tyson Cole, Paul Qui & Philip Speer, Uchiko, Austin; Larry McGuire, Perla’s and Lamberts Downtown BBQ, Austin; Kent Rathbun, Abacus, Dallas; Rebecca Rather, The Carillon; Rene Ortiz, La Condesa, Austin; Randy Evans, Haven Seasonal Kitchen, Houston; Shawn Cirkiel, Parkside and Backspace; Elmar Prambs & Javier Franco, Trio, Austin; Katherine Clapner, Dude Sweet Chocolate, Dallas; Aimee Olson, Le Cordon Bleu, Austin; Tony Sansalone, 1886 Bakery, Austin; Deegan McClung of Jeffrey’s, Austin; Jeff Blank & Kelly Casey, Hudson’s on the Bend, Austin; John Bullington, Alamo Drafthouse, Austin; Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin; Jon Gelman, The Driskill Grill, Austin; Gerard Thompson, Rough Creek Lodge, Glen Rose; Steve McHugh, Lüke San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio; and Tom Perini, Perini Ranch Steakhouse, Buffalo Gap.
Purchase tickets now at www.texaswineandfood.org. For more information or to sign up for email updates about the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, visit the website or call 512.249.6300. Follow the festival on Twitter at txwineandfood and become a fan on Facebook at texashillcountrywineandfoodfestival.
About the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival
Founded in 1986, the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival is one of the country’s largest epicurean events, attracting thousands to celebrate the multi-cultural, culinary and agricultural achievements of Texas. The mission of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival has remained consistent since 1986, and that is to bring together innovative culinary artisans and wine producers to celebrate the rich traditions that influence Texas wine and food. The Festival’s purpose is to promote Texas wine and food and to increase appreciation of Texas’ impact on food and wine throughout the world. The festival is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.