Taste of Texas Preview

We’ve partnered with a host of talented bloggers from around the web to let you in on some of the stories behind the wide range of talent at this year’s festival. From profiles and interviews to recipes and previews, follow along for the inside track on all things AFWF.

With the Festival only days away, Liz Standley of Oh Hey Dallas, checks in with a few of the chefs participating in the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco events on Friday and Saturday evenings for a look at what guests can expect from the gourmet soirees!


Taste of Texas

Friday evening’s Taste of Texas event celebrates all things Lone Star; from grilling, live music and great cocktails to dining under the stars with your favorite celebrity chefs. It’s the kick-off party to what has become my personal favorite culinary event of the entire year.

Taste of Texas is held at Republic Square Park, deep in the heart of Downtown Austin. Guests will stroll through the park, cocktails in hand, while Escort’s critically-acclaimed “disco orchestra” provides the evening’s soundtrack.

As Chef Tim Love says, “you can experience the whole state in one bite… actually, not one bite, about 25 bites.” This year, 16 Chefs from across the state will be dishing their takes on Texas cuisine. Now, just because the event features Texas chefs serving up Texas-style food, don’t expect your average meat on the grill. “A common misconception is that Texas is all about steak and BBQ. Don’t get me wrong, we do have awesome steak and BBQ places but also much more,” said Chef Omar Flores (Casa Rubia & Driftwood,Dallas).

Last year there was everything from Chef Tim Byres’ Grilled Oysters to Paul Qui’s “Sammich” grilled with brie, kimchi and apple. Perhaps Alexis Chong of the beloved Austin restaurant, Sway, explained it best: “I’m looking forward to (serving) a little authentic Thai with a taste of Texas, y’all!”

Naturally, each participating chef will dream up incredible culinary masterpieces influenced by their own personal style and genre of cuisine, but it’s safe to say that no matter which station you visit, you’ll find a dash of the South.

As Blaine Staniford (Grace, Fort Worth) proved in 2013, there could potentially be much more than what meets the eye. “Last year my dish was tuna confit that we served in a tin sardine can. ..The guests thought they were getting canned sardines but upon opening the tin there was a beautifully presented tuna confit with olive oil poached vegetables.” The talented chef promises another surprise this year…

It isn’t just guests who will enjoy the evening, either. For Chef Matt McCallister (FT33, Dallas), Taste of Texas is about “cooking amongst my peers and people I’ve looked up to in the culinary world.” Since Taste of Texas is only open for participation from Texas based chefs, you’ll also see your favorite out-of-state chefs strolling around enjoying the event just as much as anyone else.

As Andrew Zimmern has described, “you come down here…and you think music, food & lifestyle,” and that’s exactly what Taste of Texas is. It’s like a backyard BBQ with the sophisticated touch of world-famous chefs and of course, live music to keep the party going!


Liz Standley developed Oh Hey Dallas as a total accident. A food lover and explorer of all things Dallas, what started off as a place for friends and family to visit to get a laugh as well as gain the scoop on the latest and greatest has turned into a full time hobby. When she isn’t being a snarky food snob, Liz enjoys working with dog rescue and traveling.”