The Austin City Limits lineup wasn't the only major announcement from C3 today: Austin chefs gathered at Malverde this afternoon where Tyson Cole, La Condesa owner Jesse Herman, Fort Worth chef Tim Love, and C3, the event planners behind the music festival, announced the forthcoming Austin Food & Wine Festival.
We got a chance to talk to Cole about the festival, and he told us the event will be sponsored by Food & Wine magazine, will hopefully be bike-friendly, and will likely take place the last weekend in March of 2012.
UPDATE: The full C3 press release is also below.
So, what's this big announcement we keep hearing about?
I actually just got out of a meeting about that five minutes ago. But the announcement is — I had had talks with Charlie Jones at C3 who was also discussing it with Jesse Herman over at La Condesa, and I feel like it's time for Austin to have a food and wine festival.
Well, there's the Hill Country Wine & Food Festival.
And I love what the Hill Country Food and Wine Festival is about! But it's about 25, 26 years old. And you look at the events the Hill Country festival did this year, bringing in nationally known people and younger people and it was just an incredible event. I just thought it was time to refine it, simplify it, make it better.
And Food & Wine is involved?
We started talking with C3, and we started talking with Food & Wine magazine. It's just serendipitous timing. We thought that starting an Austin Food & Wine Festival — we've been calling it that — would be something incredible for this city and for the momentum this city has right now, the culinary scene here.
All these people living here, all the talent opening new restaurants. Bryce [Gilmore] winning the Food & Wine award this year. I don't want to be compared to Portland anymore. I don't want to be compared to New York. I'm ready for Austin to have its own identity.
An Austin Food & Wine Festival — similar to an ACL, but for food — I think will really put us on the map. And also, selfishly, after being in New York for the Beard Awards this past weekend, you know, I want to cook with all those chefs. So as many of them as I can bring down here, it'll be awesome. It won't be too large for the first year. The dates are tentatively March 30 through April 1 of next year, and I'm basically in charge of the whole thing, which is pretty amazing.
In what ways will it be uniquely Austin?
It's great, because C3 has so experience with events, and we can make it very unique, taking even maybe a music component, and bringing in artists that are foodies, or like to cook, or doing something with the Hotel St. Cecilia. And bringing in top tier chefs, as high as we can get. Bringing them together and having events that people want to go to. That I'd want to go to.
So are you thinking ticketed events? Or are you thinking a centralized area, because you mentioned it kind of being like ACL.
It'd all be centralized, it'd be all inside of the city limits, everything would hopefully be accessible by bike. It'll be over three days, and it'll kind of echo how they do Aspen Food & Wine. It's just at the genesis level right now, but we are definitely sponsored by Food & Wine magazine. We'll just kind of go from there. It'll be really cool for this city, though. I love Austin, and I'm not going anywhere, and having this as my home, and raising my daughters here. I don't want to have to fly to all these places, I'd love for people to come here. We have a lot to offer, you know?
We were talking while we were up there [New York] about getting Michelin to come here. We don't get recognition from them at all, you know? Some Sante Fe chefs we were talking to, and people from Vegas. Even at Uchiko now, you look at who we're hiring, we're bringing in people from all over the country. And you know, Austin today, compared to ten years ago, it's not the same. It's not even close to the same. Everybody has moved here from other cities. So you go out to a party now, and you talk to ten different people, six or seven of them who have moved here in ten years. So it's this new flavor, the Monte Carlo of North America.
C3 Presents Announces Formation of The Austin Food & Wine Festival
Chef Tyson Cole, Chef Tim Love, Jesse Herman & C3 Presents Join Forces With Food & Wine
Austin, TX – Charlie Jones, founding partner of Austin-based C3 Presents (whose musical festival production credentials include Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza) announced today the formation of the Austin Food & Wine Festival—a newly formed partnership including chef Tyson Cole, chef Tim Love, restaurateur Jesse Herman & C3 Presents. The Austin Food & Wine Festival will offer an exciting new culinary festival experience, which takes place March 30-April 1, 2012 in locations throughout Austin. The festival also marks presenting sponsor Food & Wine’s first festival involvement in Texas. With nearly 30 years experience developing, organizing, and sponsoring leading culinary destination festivals around the country and in the Caribbean, Food & Wine’s portfolio of world-renowned epicurean events include the 29th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Pebble Beach Wine & Food and Los Angeles Food & Wine. The Austin Food & Wine Festival will attract a national and international audience of food lovers, chefs and culinary fans—shining a light on the talent, innovation and unique flavor of Texas.
“Our passion for food is integrated into each of our festivals—with the influence of culinary ambassadors Graham Elliot at Lollapalooza and chef Tim Love at Austin City Limits helping keep the local flavor of each event on par with the entire festival experience,” said Charlie Jones, founding partner of C3 Presents. “It seemed only natural that we expand this passion to host a culinary destination festival in Austin, Texas dedicated solely to food and wine, where the food scene continues to surprise and delight us.”
“Austin’s culinary scene is flourishing with talent and influences drawn from around the country,” said chef Tyson Cole. “I'm very excited to be a part of the Austin Food & Wine Festival to help gain additional recognition to the quality of our world-class restaurants."
The Austin Food & Wine Festival will build upon the success of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, which will become a 501 C (3) nonprofit organization called the Austin Food & Wine Foundation and be the designated beneficiary of the Austin Food & Wine Festival.
"After the great success of this year's Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, we are delighted to further our 26-year mission to promote wine and food in Texas with the launch of a new festival that truly captures national and international attention for Austin and our dynamic food and wine scene," said Cathy Cochran-Lewis, festival president. "We're thrilled that our new role as the beneficiary of this festival."