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The 17 Most Exciting New Chefs Coming to Hot Luck Festival

Aaron Franklin’s big food and music festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend

Meats at Hot Luck’s Al Fuego event in 2019
Meats at Hot Luck’s Al Fuego event in 2019
Cody Cowan
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Hot Luck Festival, the annual Austin food and music event from pitmaster Aaron Franklin, Mohawk’s James Moody, and Feast Portland’s Mike Thelin, announced its initial chef lineup for the fourth year. It takes place from Memorial Day weekend, Thursday, May 21 through Sunday, May 24.

Of the lineup of the 2020 Hot Luck chefs, here are the first-timers Eater Austin is especially excited about, listed in alphabetical order:

The Desi Tiffin at Chauhan Ale and Masala House
The Desi Tiffin at Chauhan Ale and Masala House
Chauhan Ale & Masala House/Facebook
Chicken wings from Sweet Auburn BBQ
Chicken wings from Sweet Auburn BBQ
Sweet Auburn BBQ
  • Howard and Anita Hsu, Sweet Auburn BBQ (Atlanta): The siblings’ barbecue restaurant focuses on Chinese-Southern barbecue, with items like bulgogi, barbecue-rubbed tofu, and lots of meat. They also opened a tasting menu restaurant, Lazy Betty, last year. For Hot Luck, the pair is partnering with Oregon-based dairy company Tillamook, so expect something cheesy.
  • Chris Kronner, KronnerBurger (Oakland): The burger chef, formerly of Bar Tartine, became quickly known for his dry-aged burgers, which would play well for the Hot Luck crowds.
  • Mei Lin, Nightshade (Los Angeles): The Eater Young Gun and Top Chef winner opened her creative Asian restaurant last year to much accolades, including Eater LA’s restaurant of the year. The restaurant melds Asian ingredients and and techniques into American and European dishes, like the mapo lasagna with tofu.
  • Pat Martin, Martin’s Bar-B-Que (Nashville): The pitmaster’s meat empire spans six locations of the whole-hog barbecue chain. Naturally, some sort of pork dish should be expected for Hot Luck.
  • Bonnie Morales, Kachka (Portland, Oregon): The chef and co-owner is behind one of the country’s most exciting and important Russian restaurants featuring noteworthy dumplings and the iconic Herring Under a Fur Coat seven-layer dip.
  • Earl Ninsom, EEM (Portland, Oregon): The chef is behind Eater Portland’s restaurant of the year in 2019, which is known for its fun Thai barbecue fare, from spicy pork steaks to meaty curries with burnt ends. He also runs Thai restaurants Hat Yai, Langbaan (both on the Eater Portland 38), and Paadee.
Herring Under a Fur Coat from Kachka
Herring Under a Fur Coat from Kachka
  • Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop (Dallas): The chef is behind the acclaimed small Laotian restaurant featuring hearty boat noodles, luscious moutsayhang (sticky rice rolls with pork patties, omelettes, and cucumbers. Perhaps for Hot Luck, he’ll make tripe chicharrones.
  • Arlin Smith and Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co (Portland, Maine): The co-owners run essential Maine restaurant is full of lovely seafood from the Atlantic coast. It’s probably safe to expect a ton of oysters this Hot Luck and/or perhaps its famous lobster rolls.
  • Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn (Lummi Island, Washington): The two-time James Beard Award winner (rising star chef in 2014, best chef northwest in 2015) runs the inventive fine-dining restaurant off the coast of Washington state. He’s currently potentially looking to open a new restaurant in Los Angeles, since fiancée chef Daniela Soto-Innes is already working on projects in the California city.

There are a bunch of returning chefs as well, such as Mason Hereford of New Orleans sandwich shop Turkey & the Wolf, Andy Ricker of Portland Thai restaurant Pok Pok, Alon Shaya of Middle Eastern New Orleans restaurant Saba, Ashley Christensen of several North Carolina restaurants, and others.

Then there’s a whole bunch of Austin and Texas chefs, from Franklin himself to Bradley Nicholson of the forthcoming Lutie’s, Jorge Hernández of Mighty Union’s Carpenter Hotel and its upcoming San Antonio restaurant Veramendi House, Holy Roller’s Callie Speer, Emmer & Rye/Kalimotxo’s Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Otoko’s Yoshi Okai, among others.

Because Franklin and Moody are opening a sandwich shop and bar on East Sixth, Uptown Sports Club, there is the possibility that the duo will do something with that space and/or preview food/drinks during the festival, too.

Hot Luck’s brunch event has been changed, too. There’s a new name (Coupe de Grille to Camp Sunnyside) and new location (Austin Speed Shop to Wild Onion Ranch).

The full Hot Luck chef lineup follows below. Additional chefs will be announced later.

Bites from Hot Luck’s brunch event in 2019
Bites from Hot Luck’s brunch event in 2019
Jackie Lee Young

As for the music portion, there’s The music line-up includes American rock band Dinosaur Jr., Texas singer-songwriter Hayes Carli, and hip-hop DJ Jazzy Jeff, with others to be added later.

Hot Luck tickets, which are on sale now, include the every-event-package the Whole Enchilada, which is $550. Then there are family packages (purchase of two tickets include two passes for children 12 years old and younger), as well as student ($70 to $180, depending on the event) and kid tickets ($25 to $50, depending on event). Concert tickets begin at $20. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Safe Alliance.

There are also several events that will be open only to those in the hospitality industry, with food from Comedor’s Philip Speer, Le Pigeon’s Gabriel Rucker, Pizzeria Bianco’s Chris Bianco, and Suerte’s Fermín Núñez.

Hot Luck Festival 2020 Chefs

(asterisk denotes first-time Hot Luck chef)

Thursday, May 21

The Giddy Up at Mohawk (only for Hot Luck friends and family and Whole Enchilada passes)

  • Jason Stude, East Austin Hotel (Austin)
  • Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf (New Orleans)
  • Yoshi Okai, Otoko (Austin)
  • Mike Diaz, Oseyo (Austin)

Friday, May 22

Hi, How Are You? at Franklin Barbecue (individual tickets and Whole Enchilada passes)

  • Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue (Austin)
  • Andrew Wiseheart, Contigo (Austin)
  • Andy Ricker, Pok Pok (Portland)
  • Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner (Raleigh)
  • Chad Dolezal, Troublemaker (Austin)
  • Chris Shepherd, UB Preserv (Houston)
  • David Norman, Easy Tiger (Austin)
  • Elias Cairo, Olympia Provisions (Portland)
  • Fiore Tedesco, L’Oca D’Oro (Austin)
  • Howard and Anita Hsu, Sweet Auburn BBQ (Atlanta)*
  • Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar (Houston)

Saturday, May 23

Al Fuego at Wild Onion Ranch (individual tickets and Whole Enchilada passes)

  • Alon Shaya, Saba (New Orleans)
  • Arlin Smith and Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine)*
  • Ben Runkle and Bryan Butler, Salt & Time (Austin)
  • Bonnie Morales, Kachka (Portland)*
  • Bradley Nicholson, Lutie’s (Austin)*
  • Chris Cosentino, Rosalie (Houston)*
  • Chris Kronner, KronnerBurger (Oakland)*
  • Chris Schaefer, Geraldine’s (Austin)*
  • Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop (Dallas)*
  • Earl Ninsom, EEM (Portland)*
  • Gabe Erales, Comedor (Austin)
  • Gregory Gourdet, Departure (Portland)*
  • Howard and Anita Hsu, Sweet Auburn BBQ (Atlanta)
  • Joe Beddia, Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia)*
  • Jordan Sanchez, Garrison (Austin)*
  • Jorge Hernandez, Veramendi House and Carpenter Hotel (San Antonio and Austin)*
  • Kevin Fink, Hestia (Austin)
  • Maneet Chauhan, Chauhan Ale & Masala House (Nashville)*
  • Pat Martin, Martin’s Bar-B-Que (Nashville)*
  • Reem Assil, Reem’s California (Oakland)*
  • Rick Lopez, La Condesa (Austin)
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde (Chicago)*
  • Sarah McIntosh, Epicerie (Austin)
  • Steve McHugh, Cured (San Antonio)
  • Taylor Hall, Apis (Austin)
  • Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, Vixen’s Wedding (Austin)

Sunday, May 24

Camp Sunnyside (aka the brunch event) at Wild Onion Ranch (individual tickets and Whole Enchilada passes)

  • Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn (Lummi Island, Washington)*
  • Callie Speer, Holly Roller (Austin)
  • Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix)
  • Chris Pentzlin, The Standard (Maldives)*
  • Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria (Austin)*
  • Gabe Erales, Comedor (Austin)
  • Jesse Griffiths, Dai Due (Austin)
  • Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique Restaurante (San Juan, Puerto Rico)*
  • Laura Sawicki, Launderette (Austin)
  • Matty Matheson (Toronto)
  • Mei Lin, Nightshade (Los Angeles)*
  • Melissa Carroll, Le Politique (Austin)
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie (Austin)
  • Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley, Foreign & Domestic (Austin)
  • Tatsu Aikawa, Tatsu-Ya (Austin)
  • Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Kalimotxo (Austin)

Franklin Barbecue

900 East 11th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 653-1187 Visit Website