In a quint Austin restaurant on 6th Street away from the beer and brisket lives Gardner, a lovely neighborhood eatery who housed the launch party for the 2015 Austin Food & Wine Festival. A party filled with locals and out of towners to celebrate the upcoming three day festival scheduled for April 24th to 26th at Auditorium Shores and Republic Square Park.
The party was a preview to the skill and talent of participating chefs such as Tim Love who is the co-founder of the Austin Food & Wine Festival that commenced in 2012. As an ambassador of Texas, he has brought his unique link of familiar Texan fare with an urban twist. Interesting menu items at some of his restaurants include Kangaroo Carpaccio Nachos, Stuffed Brisket and Bourbon-Coke Pork Vietnamese sandwiches with hand cut premier steaks. Chef Love and his crew showcased barbequed goat with lentils topped with seasonal greens at the launch party that was outstanding.
Tim is a familiar face at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and South Beach Food & Wine while being featured on Top Chef, and appearances on NBC’s Today Show and Good Morning America. Love will be a key participant in the festival from dinner preparations to exhibiting elements of the fine art of grilling.
The party included Gardner Restaurant’s offer of raw beef wrapped in grilled lettuce, St. Albray (French cheese similar to Camembert) and garnished with crispy potato served with a snippet of red beet and greens. Others served sausage and fava beans that was perfect for our rainy day and trout mousse on a bagel crouton. A variety of wine circulated the room including Alexander Valley and Rodney Strong both of Sonoma, California. A welcomed surprise to the afternoon was the Mexican Hot Chocolate demonstration by Hernan, a purveyor of Mexican Chocolate.
The Austin Food & Wine Festival is a foodie’s heaven. Feast under the Stars event on Thursday, April 23rd is the prelude to the three day celebration where foodies will enjoy five courses prepared by the likes of Tim Love, Tyson Cole, Jason, Matt McCallister and Erica Waksmunski. The dinner will also feature wine pairings for the family styled, al fresco meal. The Texas gastronomical scene will be in Republic Square Park with live music and signature dish exemplars by notable local chefs.
The Festival will have a Chef Showcase showing off the chef’s talents and I was delighted to see Chef Lawrence Kocurek on the list. I was fortunate to attend a cooking demonstration by Chef Lawrence where he brought out his finest charcuterie talents matched with his self-sustaining kitchen garden ingredients. He has mixed beautifully his formal training at the French Culinary Institute of New York with his Texas-Czech roots.
The three day event offers so much more with festival participants in a “Rock Your Taco” event to be judged by celebrity chefs and industry trend setters. Sommeliers, mixologists and craft beer experts will be present at the event daily for insight. Pastry chefs will be highlighted during the Sip & Sweets on Saturday, late night.
by Deirdre Goggins