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The 10 Food-Focused SXSW Panels Not to Miss

Eater’s recommended picks, from Kwame Onwuachi to the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen

Today - Season 68
Kwame Onwuachi with Craig Melvin on the Today Show
Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

South by Southwest (SXSW) and its food-focused programming track both begin on Friday, March 13. There are lots and lots of panels within the newly renamed connection and culture track from which to choose from. Luckily for attendees, Eater pulled together the finest chef, restaurant, and food-related panels on offer this SXSW, from a panel with lauded D.C. chef Kwame Onwuachi to a get-together with the beloved Bon Appetit Test Kitchen gang. Don’t miss these events and remember to add ’em to your SXSW calendar. Those looking for food-related films should check out Eater’s other guide.

Saturday, March 14

Reviving Japanese Sake, Food & Farm Traditions
5 to 6 p.m.; The Fairmont, Congressional B
101 Red River Street, Downtown
This panel explores the current state of sake brewing with newer generations taking over older breweries and the introduction of newer techniques, with sake reporter Nany Matsumoto and Timothy Sullivan, the brand ambassador of Hakkaisan Sake Brewery located in Niigata, Japan.

Sunday, March 15

Notes From a Young Black Chef with Kwame Onwuachi
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.; JW Marriott, Salon 5-6
James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi is one of SXSW’s keynotes this year. The chef of D.C. restaurant Kith and Kin will talk about his career thus far, how he has dealt with and is dealing with racism in the restaurant world, his memoir Notes From a Young Black Chef, and the process of turning said-memoir into a movie produced by A24 and starring Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Get Out).

Hot Takes from the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; JW Marriott, Salon 5-6
Everyone’s favorite culinary YouTube channel the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen is coming to SXSW. On deck are: Andy Baraghani, Molly Baz, Christina Chaey, Alex Delany, Brad Leone, Rick Martinez, Chris Morocco, Carla Lalli Music, and Claire Saffitz.

Empowering Minority Founders in a Food Revolution
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.; The Fairmont, Congressional B
101 Red River Street, Downtown
Several entrepreneurs, including Joi Chevalier (owner of Austin food incubator The Cook’s Nook), along with Tam Hawkins (the CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce), Edwin Marty (the city of Austin’s food policy manager), and Roman Gonzalez, (founder of food gardening startup Gardenio), will talk about how minorities can create successful food businesses while facing inequality.

Monday, March 16

From Next to Now: African Food Culture
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; The Fairmont, Congressional B
101 Red River Street, Downtown
This panel delves into the idea that African food culture is becoming more and more of a thing in the world. Panelists include chef Onwuachi.

Team First: Inclusivity in Restaurant Culture
11:30 to 11:45 a.m.; The Fairmont, Congressional A
101 Red River Street, Downtown
SXSW has another James Beard Award winner on deck: New Orleans chef Alon Shaya, who opened Pomegranate Hospitality which he created in 2017 after a very messy split from the John Besh Restaurant Group. During his panel, Shaya will talk about how he and others work to create safe environments within the restaurant world, from offering benefits to making sure staffers take days off to implementing sexual harassment reporting structures.

Chinese Food: A Chef, A Scholar, Some Stories
12:30 to 1:30 p.m.; The Fairmont, Congressional C
101 Red River Street, Downtown
London chef Andrew Wong of Michelin-starred modern dim sum restaurant A. Wong and food anthropologist Dr. Mukta Das will talk about how they use Chinese culinary history and philosophies to create innovative dishes.

United Tacos of America: Taco TV on a Budget
2 to 3 p.m.; Austin Convention Center, Room 11AB
500 East Cesar Chavez Street, Downtown
One-half of the taco journalists, Mando Rayo (who is also an Eater Austin contributor), will talk about the process of creating their first television show, United Tacos of America, where they traveled and explored the country’s rich taco scenes.

Tuesday, March 17

Pizza: From Old Napoli to New Japan
11 to 11:15 a.m.; The Fairmont, Congressional A
101 Red River Street, Downtown
Professor Masayoshi Ishida of the Japan-based Ritsumeikan University will talk about the college’s gastronomy management department, where students cook their own Neopolitan pizza on-site in order to learn more about food traditions and cultures.

Wednesday, March 18

Mapping Inequality: A Tale of Two Cafes in Boston
2 to 3 p.m.; The Fairmont, Congressional C
101 Red River Street, Downtown
With this panel, the MIT Media Lab’s Atlas of Inequality, an interactive database that highlights the varying incomes of people who frequent various city establishments, will be used to compare and contrast the demographics of two as-of-yet-unnamed Boston coffee shops.

Disclosure: Eater Austin editor Nadia Chaudhury is moderating the United Tacos of America: Taco TV on a Budget panel. This does not impact coverage on Eater.

Austin Convention Center

500 East Cesar Chavez Street, , TX 78701 (512) 404-4000 Visit Website

Fairmont Austin

101 Red River Street, , TX 78701 (512) 600-2000 Visit Website

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