Tag Archive | "Edible Austin"

Dan Barber Dishes Up ‘The Third Plate’ and More in Austin

Restaurateur, author and multiple James Beard Award-winning chef Dan Barber will make his first-ever Texas appearance during Edible Austin’s 7th annual Eat Drink Local Week, the publication’s annual homage to locally sourced food and restaurants.

Dan Barber

Dan Barber

An Evening with Dan Barber will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave., Austin.

Barber will talk about his new book, “The Third Plate, Field Notes on the Future of Food,” which moves beyond farm-to-table to offer a revolutionary way of eating. Austin-based musician Michael Fracasso will open the evening with an onstage performance before Dan Barber’s talk. Proceeds from the event will support three local area non-profits: the historic Paramount Theater, Sustainable Food Center and Urban Roots.

A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $130 each. VIP tickets include a signed copy of “The Third Plate,” prime seating and a pre-show reception from 6 to 7 p.m., which includes an opportunity to meet Dan Barber while enjoying locally sourced, seasonal tastings from Austin chefs, along with complimentary local wines and spirits. General admission tickets are available for $35; student tickets are $25.

Third plate“I can’t imagine a more inspiring event to take place during Eat Drink Local Week in Austin,” comments Edible Austin Publisher Marla Camp. “We are ecstatic to have Dan Barber as our keynote speaker. He is a forward thinking force in the world of sustainability.”

To purchase tickets: click here. Or call 512-474-1221.

For info on Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week:


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Altering DNA in Crops: Root of an Unhealthy Cycle, Vlieger Says

By Chris Dunn

“They’re using poison to raise crops,” said Howard Vlieger, president of Verity Farms, speaking at the Farm and Food Leadership Conference Tuesday about the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Verity Farms is headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Naturally raised produce is not only better for us, but better for the grain-eating mammals destined for our tables as well.

A GMO is an organism that has been genetically altered by the introduction of genetic material from another organism.  Proponents of GMOs claim this kind of engineering can improve on nature, providing greater yields, improved quality, reduced costs and bigger profits.

Vlieger countered that GMOs do the opposite, harming the air, soil, plants, livestock, and people. “It is completely unnatural,” he said. Vlieger uses alternative farming practices at Verity Farms, which has affiliated farms in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

For example, he said to insert the genetic material from one organism into another a “shotgun type device” is used.  “There is no control over where the DNA hits when introduced to a plant,” which forces manufacturers to use viruses, agro-bacterium, and other genetically engineered materials to accomplish the task, he said.

Vlieger also contended that GMO crops cost more than alternative agriculture. Tech fees, paid on top of the cost of seed to cover the cost of technology, have made the price of seed skyrocket since the first genetically modified crop was introduced to the United States in 1994.  According to him, the total added fees are nearly $9 billion annually on “all seeds sold today.”  And sometimes, crop yields are actually smaller.

Another cost, he said, is the harm done to livestock which feed on GMO crops.

Vlieger claimed hogs have increased stomach irritation and ulcers, decreased conception rates, and smaller litters when fed GMO grain. This is because the animal’s digestive system tries to reject the “foreign proteins” in the GMO food, which keep the animal in a constant state of inflammation.  This weakens the immune system, which in turn causes many other health issues, including dependence on antibiotics, he said.

Vlieger said humans have a similar digestive system to hogs, inferring that the increased incidence of allergies and digestive ailments in people in recent years might be attributed to eating GMO food.

“Every prescription advertised on television has to list its side effects,” said Vlieger, but not GMO foods.  “There are no independent long term studies showing no side effects from GMO grain,” he said, but many studies have been made that “document harm to mammals.”

In conclusion, Vlieger pointed to a disturbing connection between GMOs, herbicides, and pharmaceuticals, which are often made by the same companies.  He used a circle chart to illustrate that these manufacturers perpetuate a cycle of unhealthy grain, livestock, and people which, in turn, require ever increasing amounts of herbicides, chemicals, and medicines to survive.

This might be a cycle that works for big business, but keeps consumers going in circles.

Chris Dunn is a San Antonio reporter and food writer, and a graduate of the San Antonio branch of the Culinary Institute of America.

The fifth annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference, at the Pearl Brewery Monday and Tuesday, was organized by Edible Austin. 


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Texas Food and Wine — What a Sensational Pair

Chef Kelly Casey (with pastry bag) of Hudson's on the Bend in Austin plates her dinners.

It wasn’t about the prosciutto-wrapped quail, so juicy and tender with each bite. It wasn’t about the cocoa powder and raspberry flavors that mingled so beautifully in each sip of the Inwood Estates Tempranillo-Cabernet blend.

It was, however, about how the lush red fruit flavors of the 2007 Fall Creek Meritus joined with slices of Texas beef tenderloin marinated in coffee and chipotle to reach new  gustatory heights.

That was the point of the first Edible Texas Wine-Food Match, held Friday at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.

Five chefs, narrowed down from a field of more than 35, were competing to see who could make the most successful pairings of Texas ingredients with Texas wines.

It was clear to both the celebrity judges’ panel and to the audience who did that best: David Garrido of Garrido’s in Austin.

Susan Auler (left) of Fall Creek Vineyards and celebrity chef Jacques Pépin enjoy the Edible Texas Wine-Food Match.

The chef, who once worked for Bruce Auden at the original Biga, took home the $5,000 grand prize as well as the People’s Choice Award. The centerpiece of his meal was the already-mentioned beef tenderloin with the Meritus,  but he also presented a crispy oyster with habanero-honey aïoli partnered with the Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2010 and a pastel de calabaza, or zucchini cake, with lemon crema and spicy caramelized pecans served with the Sister Creek Muscat Canelli 2010.

Patrick James “P.J.” Edwards of San Antonio’s Bin 555 won a second place commendation from the judges for his meal, which started with a crudo of Gulf Coast group with cured Poteet strawberries and Becker Vineyards Provençal Rosé 2009. It was followed by roasted lamb loin with herb-glazed turnips and porcini-raspberry soil, which was presented with the Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. A Grapefruit “Dreamsicle” with vanilla semifreddo and the Becker Vineyards Clementine 2010 rounded out his meal.

Organizer Marla Camp

Other chefs in the competition included Peter Smith of the JW Marriott in San Antonio as well as Kelly Casey of Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin and Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg. Each presented small plate versions of his or her entire menu to the crowd.

Chef Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill's Prosciutto-Wrapped Quail alongisde a Fredericksburg Market Salad with Pickled Peaches.

The local ingredients included a number of treasures worth seeking out at farmers markets as well as grocery stores: Pure Luck cheeses, Round Rock Honey, quail from Diamond H and Texas Quail farms, Shiner Bock, Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, Bluebonnet Hydroponics lettuces, and Texas olive oil. Alongside Casey’s blue cheese cheesecake were figs from her own trees.

Other Texas wines poured included Messina Hof’s Riesling and Riesling “Angel,” Perrisos Viognier and Petite Sirah, Stone House Scheming Beagle Port, and Flat Creek Muscato, Estate Syrah and Port.

Kelly Casey's Hopelessly Blue Cheesecake with her homegrown figs.

The judges included celebrity chefs Jacques Pépin and John Besh as well as Mozzarella Company found Paula Lambert, François Dionot of L’Academie de Cuisine and Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Proceeds from the evening, planned by Marla camp of Edible Austin and Terry Thompson-Anderson of the Texas Food and Wine Gourmet, will benefit the not-for-profit Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, which is being planned for Fredericksburg. The goal is to raise all of the money needed to operate the center before it opens in October 2013.


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Best Chef in Southwest Asia Perhaps?

The James Beard Foundation handed out its annual awards earlier this week, and, no, a San Antonio chef was not named best in the Southwest.

Bruce Auden, chef/owner of Biga on the Banks and one of the chefs who helped popularize Southwestern cuisine, was nominated for the sixth time. But the award was actually split between Tyson Cole of Uchi in Austin and Saipin Chutima from Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. (Perhaps the voters read the category wrong and voted for best chef of Southwest Asian cuisine?)

Cole wasn’t the only Texan to pick up an award. Robb Walsh of Houston shared an award with Rick Bragg and Francine Maroukian for best Food Culture and Travel piece. They co-authored “The Southerner’s Guide to Oysters” for Garden & Gun, a publication that describes itself as being “a Southern lifestyle magazine that’s all about the magic of the new South.”

In other Beard Award news, the cookbook of the year was “Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy” by Diana Kennedy, who is either the most loved or most reviled cookbook author to deal with Mexican food. (For some of the latter, read what Walsh has to say about her in his “The Tex-Mex Cookbook.”)

Publication of the year was Edible Communities, which produces Edible Austin among other regional magazines.

The Beard Awards are the culinary equivalent of the Oscars. For a full list of the winners, click here.

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Two Local Chefs Are Finalists in Food-Wine Competition

The finalists for the first Edible Texas Wine-Food Match have been announced, and two San Antonio chefs are among the top five.

They include Patrick James Edwards of Jason Dady’s Bin 555 at Artisans Alley, 555 Bitters Road, and Peter Smith of JW Marriott Hill Country Resort, 23808 Resort Parkway.

The other finalists  include Kelly Casey of Jeff Blank’s Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin, David Garrido of Garrido’s Restaurant in Austin and Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg.

The finalists were chosen from a field of 27 entries. Each chef had to present a three-course meal featuring Texas products and paired with Texas wines. Among the judges were chef Monica Pope of Houston’s t’afia, Mary Martini of Central Market, Pat Sharpe of Texas Monthly, and Bonnie Walker and John Griffin of SavorSA.

Judges for the finals will include celebrity chefs Jacques Pépin and John Besh; François Dionot, founder of L’Academie de Cuisine; and Paula Lambert, founder of the Mozzarella Company.

The five finalists will prepare their tasting menu at a sit-down dinner set for 7 p.m. June 3 at the AT&T Executive Conference Center, 1900 University Ave., Austin. Tickets are priced at $100 apiece with proceeds benefiting the new nonproft Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts. The grand prize winner will be announced at the end of the evening. A People’s Choice Award will also be presented.

The event is being presented by Edible Austin and The Texas Food and Wine Gourmet.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

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Call for Entries: Major Competition Pairs Texas Wine, Food

You think Texas wine is great with food? Restaurant and catering chefs can now prove it by entering the first Edible Texas Wine and Food Pairing Competition.

Brisket, about as Texas as food gets, can show well with a Texas wine.

The competition, which will offer cash prizes, is open to any Central Texas restaurant (mobile or brick and mortar) or catering company. The boundaries for this competition do include San Antonio establishments.

Also, entrants must belong to the GoTexan Restaurant program to be eligible. For information on joining the program, click here.

The competition is being produced by Edible Austin and The Texas Food and Wine  It is also hosted by the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.

This is the first of four annual regional competitions planned whose mission is to encourage the use of Texas wine and as many Texas food products as possible. It is designed to raise the bar for excellence in Texas winemaking and provide a platform for Texas wine and winemakers to receive recognition and reach a broader audience.

Preliminary judging will be done by a panel of notable Texas wine and food professionals. Five finalists will be selected to prepare their menus on Friday, June 3, hosted by the AT&T Center’s Carillon Restaurant (Tejas Room) on the UT campus in Austin.

This event, open to 125 guests, is an official Optional Event during the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference and will benefit the Texas Wine and Grape Grower’s Association.

The final, on-site judging will be done by a panel of national celebrities from the food and wine industries. The five finalists will prepare their three-course meal to serve 125 on-site. Servers will be provided by the competition. Significant cash and other prizes will be awarded.

To enter the competition, please complete the official entry form, prepare your menu with wine pairings, write the recipes and submit them. Submission information is listed on the Competition Rules. Deadline for entering the competition is Feb. 15. Finalists will be notified by March 15.

Click here to download entry form and competition rules. Good luck!

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