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Willie Nelson’s Music Festival Dinner Highlights Indigenous Chefs and Ingredients

Plus, gumbo and chili cook-offs this weekend, and more news

A plate of a tamal.
A dish from Wahpepah’s Kitchen.
Wahpepah’s Kitchen
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.

For Willie Nelson’s major music festival that happens during but isn’t affiliated with South by Southwest, Luck Reunion, the singer is hosting a potluck dinner highlighting Indigenous chefs and ingredients.

Potluck 2023: Three Sisters will focus on three main indigenous ingredients: maize, squash, and climbing beans in a family-style table-service dinner. The host chef is Brian Light of the New Texan restaurant Ronin in Bryan, Texas. The main participants are Kickapoo nation chef Crystal Wahpepah of Oakland restaurant Wahpepah’s Kitchen; Choctaw tribe chef Brit Reed of the I-Collective, and Yoeme tribe chef Sewa Yuli also of I-Collective. Austin chefs Nixta Taqueria’s Edgar Rico and Comadre Panaderia’s Mariela Camacho will cook bites for the cocktail hour. Helping the main participating chefs is celebrity chef Michel Nischan.

The evening will end with a performance by Nelson himself. The proceeds will go towards the Luck Family Foundation, which will give grants to Farm Aid, Wholesome Wave, and Texas Food & Wine Alliance. It takes place on Wednesday, March 15 from 5 to 11 p.m. at 1100 Bee Creek Road in Spicewood. Tickets are $750.

There are additional events, including the main Luck Reunion music festival on Thursday, March 16, and then a New Orleans-themed day on Saturday, March 18, which will include a sip and stroll with Texas and Louisiana food vendors.

Tracking Austin restaurant events, cook-off edition

Easy Austin bar the Cavalier is hosting a gumbo cook-off on Saturday, February 25 from 3 to 6 p.m. Along with gumbo, there will be Hurricanes, Jell-O shots, and hand grenade cocktails, plus a DJ and market.

There’s the Chili Cold Blood chili cook-off in its 15th year on Saturday, February 25 from noon to 8 p.m. Attendees will be able to judge the chilis while enjoying live music. It takes place at Sagebush with a $10 suggested donation benefitting the Health Alliance for Austin musicians in honor of the late Austin musician Nick Curran.

And then East Austin bar the Liberty is also hosting a chili cook-off on Sunday, February 26 starting at 5 p.m. Restaurant participants include Ramen Tatsu-ya, Parkside, and Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. Entry into the event is either two canned goods or money which will go towards the Central Texas Food Bank.

Tracking Austin restaurant events

East Austin wine bar LoLo is hosting Chicago Korean-Polish restaurant Kimski on Saturday, February 25 at 5 p.m. Dishes will include the KBBQ (brisket with kimchi and the such), the Banh B (braised pork belly), Fire Chicken tacos, and more. There will also be live DJ sets.

A new Laotian pop-up is debuting this weekend. Yaya will serve food on Saturday, February 25 at Kitty Cohen’s starting at 4 p.m. Expect dishes like crispy vegetable rolls, lao nam kow, pork belly with rice, and more.

The Austin Oyster Festival is back for the 10th time on Saturday, February 25 from noon to 6 p.m. at Republic Square Park. On deck will be all sorts of oysters will be offered raw, grilled, roasted, and fried, along with other seafood items and cocktails (including a bloody mary bar). The VIP section (which is already sold out) will include restaurant bites from places like Mongers, Salt Traders, and Keepers. General admission tickets are $70, which comes with seven vouchers for food and drinks (additional vouchers can be bought on-site). The event benefits Central Texas Food Bank and the Hope Campaign

For Mexican restaurant La Condesa’s 14th anniversary, it will host a weekend brunch service with Austin coffee shop Try Hard on Saturday and Sunday, February 25 and 26. This means a DJ, coffee drinks both boozy and non, and brunch foods like conchas, barbacoa plates, and chilaquiles. A percentage of the sales will go towards the Guatemalan coffee company El Diamante and the Perez family.

Update, 6:16 p.m.: This article, originally published at 4:23 p.m., has been updated to reflect that Rick Bayless is no longer participating in the Luck dinner.

Nixta Taqueria

2512 East 12th Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website

Sagebrush

5500 South Congress Avenue, , TX 78745 Visit Website

Comadre Panadería

1204 Cedar Avenue, , TX 78702 Visit Website

Republic Square Park

422 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78704 Visit Website

LoLo

1504 East 6th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 906-0053 Visit Website

The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston

215 Charles Street, , MA 02114 (617) 224-4000 Visit Website

La Condesa

400 West 2nd Street, , TX 78701 (512) 499-0300 Visit Website

Kitty Cohen's

2211 Webberville Road, , TX 78702 Visit Website

The Cavalier

2400 Webberville Road, , TX 78702 (512) 696-4318 Visit Website