The 2014 Festival Recap

Spanning four days in the heart of downtown Austin, the 2014 Austin FOOD & WINE Festival was a treat for all. From newcomer events like Feast Under the Stars and and amped up elements like this year’s expanded Fire Pit to the now-classic evening favoritesTaste of Texas and Rock Your Taco – the daytime demo and panel-filled festival was bolstered by an array of mouthwatering after-hours experiences.

Photo by Cambria Harkey

Guests found new favorites – from chefs to flavors – as they tasted the best bites from a wide range of restaurants, chefs and artisans, all in the fun and intimate setting of Butler Park.


Feast Under the Stars

Kicking off the weekend was Feast Under the Stars – a gourmet, six-course meal served al fresco in the heart of downtown Austin. Guests met and mingled with Tyson Cole, Chris Shepherd, Tim Love, Kent Rathbun and Jodi Elliott while enjoying a unique culinary experience unlike any other.

Photo by Jessica Dupuy

Taste of Texas

As promised, this year’s Taste of Texas kickoff party on Friday night at Republic Square Park was a veritable buffet of the best bites from around the state – not to mention the delicious drinks.

Photo by Knoxy Knox
Photo by Cambria Harkey
Photo by Cambria Harkey

Saturday @ Butler Park

On Saturday morning guests lined up outside the gate, ready to run for their spot at Tim Love’s first Hands-On Grilling Demo of the weekend. In true Tim Love style, he toasted his students with chilled white wine and tequila shots before diving in to the task at hand.

Photo by Nick Simonite

Butler Park was buzzing with excitement surrounding debuts like Jack Gilmore’s unique grill-on-the-go fire truck and a special announcement from Contigo owners Ben Edgerton & Andrew Wiseheart. The Fire Pits were piping hot, beckoning hungry fans to stop by and snag some tips and a plate full of meat before hitting a demo, panel or the smorgasbord that was The Grand Tasting.

Another exciting new addition to the Festival this year was the increased number of local restaurants featured in the Chef Showcase within the Grand Tasting. With a rotating cast of talented chefs serving up delicious bites, guests sipped and sampled their way through the afternoon.

Photo by Nick Simonite
Photo by Cambria Harkey

Rock Your Taco

The third annual Rock Your Taco competition was a close one, with star chefs from around the country like John Currence, Ming Tsai, Tandy Wilson, Monica Pope and many, many more competing to take the title away from two-time champ, Tyson Cole.

Guests enjoyed music from JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound while sampling their way around the park and sipping refreshing drinks from Stella Artois and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

In the end, Richard Blais ended up doing just that – hauling the coveted Rock Your Taco guitar back to Atlanta as proof of his Octopus and Lamb Piccadillo Taco‘s impressive win.

Photo by Cambria Harkey

Sunday @ Butler Park

On Sunday morning, AFWF guests hit the park ready for one last go at the best of the best eats, drinks and culinary lessons from chefs and experts from around the country. From the Fire Pits to the Book Signing Tent, there was no shortage of interaction with favorite chefs like Aaron Franklin, Ned Elliott, Georgia Pellegrini, John Russ and Bryce Gilmore.

Photo by Knoxy Knox

Whether Hunting for the Next Malbec with Mark Oldman or tackling ‘Eggs & Eggs’ with Andrew Zimmern, guests picked up even more tips and tricks during Sunday’s demos and panels before heading to The Grand Tasting yet again to discover new wines, spirits and eats.

Photo by Cambria Harkey
Thanks Austin & See You Next Year!