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Austin Food & Wine Festival’s Texas-Centric Lineup Is Here

One of the city’s biggest food events is happening this fall

A woman in a black shirt, sunglasses, and a black cap cooking on an outdoor grill.
Austin chef Sonya Cote cooking at the fire pits at Austin Food & Wine Festival in 2021.
Dusana Risovic for AFW Fest 2021
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.

One of the city’s biggest food events, the Austin Food & Wine Festival, is happening again this fall, and the full event and chef lineup are here. It takes place from Friday, November 4 through Sunday, November 6.

A particular out-of-towner chef highlight is Shota Nakajima of Seattle Japanese restaurant Taku, who also was a finalist in the Portland season of Top Chef. He’ll cook at the fire pit and the taco competition. The latter also features Atlanta’s Ford Fry, Chicago’s Sarah Grueneberg, and California’s Brooke Williamson.

Otherwise, the full chef’s lineup is very heavy on Austin chefs, with a good showing of San Antonio chefs, and very few Dallas chefs, one Lubbock chef, and no Houston chefs.

New to this year’s schedule is the Wurst Weekend Kick-Off on Friday, where chef Tim Love and Jesse Herman now of Koko’s will cook up sausages, bratwursts, and pork dishes over live fire paired with wines and beers from the area. This replaces Love’s previous grilling cook-along.

The solo returning events include the Rock Your Taco competition, though in a new location. Instead of its usual Republic Square Park locale, it’ll happen at Auditorium Shores instead. Last year’s winner was Tatsu-ya’s Shion Aikawa, who is competing again this year.

The main festival event — full of tastings, fire pits, demonstrations, and wine/beer samples — is still happening at Auditorium Shores. This year’s chef demonstrations (where chefs cook on stage, but attendees don’t get to necessarily eat their food) include Austin Top Chef contender Jo Chan, Dallas chef Tiffany Derry, Austin chef Kevin Fink, Chicago chef Sarah Grueneberg, Austin chef (and Eater Austin chef of the year in 2018) Fermín Núñez, who will most likely preview something from his forthcoming Mexican coastal seafood restaurant Este, among others.

The festival typically took place in April, but after pandemic-related delays, it shifted to November as of 2021. Tickets are on sale now. It seems like single-day and VIP passes are already sold out, but weekend and all-in passes are still available.

A person’s hand grating cheese onto dishes in cardboard trays.
A Caspers Fermentables staffer preparing a dish at Austin Food & Wine 2021.
Charles Reagan for AFW Fest 2021

Fire Pits

Saturday and Sunday, November 5 to 6, daytime, Auditorium Shores

  • Sonya Coté (New American restaurant Hillside Farmacy, Austin)
  • Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurants, San Antonio)
  • Jorge Luis Hernandez (Hotel Emma, San Antonio)
  • Andy Knudson (New American restaurant Tillie’s, the Hill Country)
  • Jesse Kuykendall (taco restaurant Milpa and Latin hotel restaurant Ocho, San Antonio)
  • Shota Nakajima (Japanese restaurant Taku, Seattle) [he also was a Top Chef finalist in 2021
  • Kristina Zhoa (Sichuan restaurant Dashi Sichuan Kitchen and Bar, San Antonio)

Festival Chefs

Saturday and Sunday, November 5 to 6, daytime, Auditorium Shores

  • Alma Alcocer (Tex-Mex restaurant El Alma, Austin)
  • William Ankeney (bakery mini-chain Tiny Pies, Austin)
  • Junior Borges (Brazilian restaurant Meridian, Dallas) [the restaurant was named Eater Dallas’s restaurant of the year in 2021]
  • Daniel Brooks (Mexican restaurant Licha’s Cantina and new Oaxacan restaurant Chapulín Cantina, Austin)
  • Jeff Brown (Chinese-American restaurant Old Thousand, Austin)
  • Raul Castillo (New American restaurant Honey Moon Spirit Lounge, Austin)
  • Ji Peng Chen (modern Chinese restaurant Wu Chow, Austin)
  • Jakub Czyszczon (New American hotel restaurant Garrison, Austin)
  • Todd Duplechan (Goan hotel restaurant Vixen’s Wedding, Austin)
  • Javier and Judith Equihua (Mexican restaurant Ma’Coco, Austin)
  • Nick Erven (hotel bar and restaurant Wax Myrtle’s, Austin)
  • Roberto Espinosa (taco chain Tacodeli, Austin)
  • Jacob Euler (French restaurant La Vacher, Dripping Springs)
  • Joseph Gomez (taco truck Con Todo, Austin)
  • Jesse Herman (Texas-German beer hall Koko’s Bavarian, Austin)
  • CJ Jacobson (Mediterranean restaurant Aba, Chicago and Austin)
  • Justin Klajbor (brewery Central Machine Works, Austin)
  • Enma Lopez (Austin Beerworks’s food truck ABW Can-Tina, Austin)
  • Geronimo Lopez (Chinese- and Japanese Peruvian restaurant Botika, San Antonio)
  • Liz Everett and Stephanie Everett Martin (taco truck Ensenada ATX, Austin)
  • Brad McDonald (forthcoming hotel restaurant Nido and formerly of London-born doughnut pop-up 1235Donuts, Austin)
  • Jason McVearry (Hawaiian spot Poke Poke, Austin)
  • Anne Ng & Jeremy Mandrell (French-ish Bakery Lorraine, San Antonio and Austin)
  • Andre Molina (New American wine restaurant Aviary Wine & Kitchen, Austin)
  • Kyle Mulligan (French bistro 1417, Austin)
A man and woman behind a table full of cooking tools.
Chef Dawn Burrell cooking at a demo at Austin Food & Wine 2021.
Alison Narro for AFW Fest 2021
  • Eric Nathal (French chicken and baguette shop Austin Rotisserie, Austin)
  • Brian Olenjack (Texas restaurant Lonesome Dove, Dallas and Austin)
  • Pedro Quevedo and Alex Swenson (ice cream mini-chain Gelato Paradiso, California and Austin)
  • Phoebe Raileanu (fermented goods company and bagel/sandwich shop Casper Fermentables, Austin)
  • Blake Ransome (hotel bar and restaurant Rules & Regs, Austin)
  • Berty Richter (Israeli restaurant TLV, Austin; forthcoming Mediterranean restaurant Ladino, San Antonio)
  • Jeramie Robinson (hotel restaurant Catbird, Dallas)
  • Ryan Samson (Italian restaurant Vespaio and new Oaxacan restaurant Chapulín Cantina, Austin)
  • Shun Shiroma (Japanese restaurant Sazan Ramen, Austin)
  • Krystal Craig and Ian Thurwachter (Italian restaurant Intero, Austin)
  • Leanna Valenti (Japanese spot Bento Picnic, Austin)
  • Finn Walter (West Texas restaurant the Nicolett, Lubbock)
  • Jessica Winters (Mexican restaurant Cruzteca, Austin)
  • Ling Wu (Chinese restaurants Lin Asian Bar and Qi, and a bunch of forthcoming ones, Austin)
  • Kristina Zhao (Sichuan restaurant Dashi Sichuan Kitchen and Bar, San Antonio)

Wurst Weekend Kick-Off

Friday, November 4, 7 to 9 p.m., Auditorium Shores

Rock Your Taco

Saturday, November 5, 7 to 9:30 p.m., Auditorium Shores

  • Shion Aikawa (Tatsu-yas, Austin and Houston)
  • Nicola Blaque (Caribbean restaurants the Jerk Shack and Mi Roti, San Antonio) [Jerk Shack was also an Eater Best New Restaurant of 2019]
  • Jo Chan (formerly of New American restaurant Eberly, Austin) [she also was a Top Chef contender in 2022]
  • Tiffany Derry (fine dining restaurant Roots Southern Table, Dallas)
  • Ford Fry (Tex-Mex restaurant Superica, Atlanta)
  • Sarah Grueneberg (Italian restaurant Monteverde, Chicago)
  • Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley (New Texan restaurant Foreign & Domestic, Austin)
  • CJ Jacobson (Mediterranean restaurant Aba, Chicago and Austin)
  • Steve McHugh (New American restaurant Cured, San Antonio; forthcoming Texas hotel restaurant Luminaire, Austin)
  • Shota Nakajima (Japanese restaurant Taku, Seattle) [he also was a Top Chef finalist in 2021
  • Laura Sawicki (pastry chef formerly of New American restaurant Launderette and casual Mexican restaurant Fresa’s, Austin)
  • Brooke Williamson (coastal California restaurant Playa Provisions, California) [she also was a Top Chef finalist in 2013 and winner in 2017]