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All the SXSW 2021 Virtual Food Events to Enjoy From Home

From panels with celebrity chefs to films to an at-home cheese tasting

Primary Wave x Island Records Presented By Mastercard: One Love Hotel - Marley Brunch
Chef Marcus Samuelsson at an event in Los Angeles in January 2020
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Island Records

After South by Southwest’s abrupt cancelation last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, SXSW is returning with a virtual conference. Although there is not a specific track or lavish dinners as in years past, food and dining still make a strong showing in SXSW panels, films, and virtual events.

Several celebrity chefs will make virtual appearances this year: Andrew Zimmern, Marcus Samuelsson, and Dominique Crenn will all participate in different panels this year. There are several food-centric films and shorts, including a documentary that follows a high school farmworker navigating immigration fears. And finally, Wisconsin Cheese is making a triumphant return this year, with a virtual cheese tasting hosted by Nick Offerman.

See all the food-related SXSW events below. Each day’s streaming content (from panels to keynotes) will replay every evening starting at 10 p.m. Films are typically available to watch during the length festival. Everything is available on-demand through the festival’s television app.

Panels

Bugs And Kelp, Feeding Our Post-Pandemic Planet
This panel explores alternative crops like kelp and micro-livestock like crickets and their potential to provide a sustainable food source for the planet. The panel includes food and agriculture writer Tom Philpott and Mohammed Ashour, CEO of Austin-based Aspire Food Group.
(Tuesday, March 16, 10:15 a.m.)

Feeding Change: Building Business to Fight Hunger
Members of the Migrant Kitchen discuss their evolution from a small catering company to a social good food operation that served over 2.5 million meals to those in need in 2020.
(Tuesday, March 16, 10:15 a.m.)

Aquaculture, Food Systems, and Climate Change
This panel, which includes celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern and television writer David E. Kelley, explores the changing global food systems and the promise of aquaculture (farming aquatic animals and plans) in combating this ecological change.
(Tuesday, March 16, 10:30 a.m.)

Featured Session: Localizing Food to Restore Human Health - 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals
Chef Dominique Crenn during a SXSW event in 2019
Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW

Into Dust: What Happens When Our Taps Run Dry?
Within the context of the film Into Dust, which tells the true story of Perween Rahman, an activist who stood up to Karachi’s water mafia, this panel explores the global water crisis, and its impact on food, health, energy, governance, and political stability around the world.
(Tuesday, March 16, 8 p.m.)

Community Investment Makes Cents for Businesses
A panel, that includes chef Marcus Samuelsson and Ras Baraka, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, will discuss how audiobook and podcasting company Audible is working to address food insecurity, create opportunities, and support the economy in its local community.
(Friday, March 19, 10 a.m.)

What Is Taste?
This panel explores how taste is made up of cultural norms, food science and technology, and the art of cooking. Panelists include powerhouse chef Dominique Crenn, a professor from Brown University, and executives from recipe website and cookbook So Vegan and ingredients company Motif Foodworks.
(Friday, March 19, 2 p.m.)

Movies

Features:

Through the Plexi-Glass: The Last Days of the San Jose
Directed by Austin hospitality legend Liz Lambert (formerly of Bunkhouse), this documentary follows the complicated gentrification of South Congress.
(Tuesday, March 16, 4 p.m.)

The Feast
A rich family gathers for a lavish dinner at their house in Wales. A mysterious young woman arrives to be their waitress for the evening — and it soon becomes apparent this will be their last supper.
(Wednesday, March 17, 8 p.m.; there is a limited number of seats available)

Fruits of Labor
This documentary follows Ashley Soliz, a teenage Mexican-American farmworker in California. She navigates graduating high school, ICE raids in her community, and the threat of family separation.
(Thursday, March 18, 12 p.m.; there is a limited number of seats available)

Ashley Soliz in a strawberry field from the documentary Fruits of Labor
Ashley Soliz in a strawberry field from the documentary Fruits of Labor
Courtesy of Fruits of Labor

Shorts:

Marvin’s Never Had Coffee Before
An eight-minute short featuring a man who’s never had coffee.
(Tuesday, March 16, 10 a.m.)

Plaisir
A lonely American explores a farm commune in France.
(Tuesday, March 16, 10 a.m.)

Rendang of Death
Animated Indonesian film of the chaos that ensues when a restaurant is down to its last plate of rendang during lunch.
(Tuesday, March 16, 2 p.m.)

A still from Rendang of Death
A still from Rendang of Death
Percolate Galactic

Virtual Events

Cheesin’ Around with Nick Offerman
Unable to do one of their epic cheese boards from years past, Wisconsin Cheese makes a triumphant return to SXSW with a virtual cheese tasting with actor and comedian Nick Offerman. Limited to 2,021 attendees, the event promises “the sights, sounds, tastes, and scents of Wisconsin” in three 30-minute sessions. Some people will receive cheese deliveries as well.
(Thursday, March 18 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.)

The Future of Food
Grocery store chain Kroger and the Zero Waste Foundation have put together four days of panels covering the food ecosystem in a changing planet. Although the panel lineup has yet to be announced, topics include food justice, insect agriculture, the Internet of Things for kitchen hardware, and regenerative agriculture. The event is open to non-badge holders with an RSVP.
(Thursday, March 18 through Sunday, March 21)

Disclosure: Marcus Samuelsson is the host of No Passport Required, a show created by Eater and PBS. This does not impact coverage on Eater.

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