Austin Food & Wine Event Spotlight: IACP Public Festivities

IACP Austin Conference BannerThe food pros are coming! The food pros are coming!

This is a very good thing (unlike say the pending arrival of the British back in the day) for the city of Austin in general and Austin Food Lovers in particular. The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) is hosting their annual conference in Austin June 1-4. Culinary experts from around the world will descend on Austin to not only learn from one another but to explore the epicurean goodness that is our town. Some of the biggest names in food including John Besh, Diana Kennedy, and Ellie Krieger will be knocking around town, as will Austin’s own food photog extraordinaire Penny De Los Santos. And while the majority of the conference events are for attendees only, a handful of activities are open to the public:

  • Culinary Book Fair – Come meet your favorite cookbook authors and shop for a few new additions to your cookbook collection. From grilled cheese to casseroles to Jacques Pepin’s fast food there’s a cookbook here for everyone. $10/person. Friday, June 3, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Hilton Austin Hotel.
  • Culinary Expo – Get a feel for the latest innovations in food preparation and ingredients as you watch special chef demonstrations. Your ticket to the expo includes access to the book fair as well, so it’s a great deal. $35/person. Friday, June 3, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm also at the Hilton Austin Hotel.
  • Up in Smoke – IACP is partnering with Texas Foodways to throw a Texas-style shindig at Boggy Creek Farm. Enjoy BBQ with all the sides, craft beer, Texas wine, cocktails, and of course live music. All the proceeds from the event benefit the Sustainable Food Center. $65/person. Saturday, June 4, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

You can purchase tickets to all of these events online.

Some other related events that give the public a chance to connect with IACP attendees and celebrate the best of Austin food include:

  • Chefs Move to Schools at the Texas State Capital – In celebration of the one year anniversary of Michelle Obama’s Chef’s Move to Schools event at the White House, local chefs, food professionals, and culinary students will join IACP members on the steps of the Texas Capital. Come and show your support for the fight against childhood obesity. Free. Wednesday, June 1. 5:30 pm.
  • Three Hot Chefs – Austin’s Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko will host Holly Smith of Kirkland, Washington’s Café Juanita and Brad Farmerie of New York’s Public for an evening of amazing food at the lovely Hotel St. Cecilia. This is one of those once in a lifetime experiences that is worth considering as a splurge. Proceeds will benefit the Culinary Trust, the charitable arm of IACP. $135/person. Wednesday, June 1, 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • Harvard Common Press Meet & Greet – Come meet the publisher and enjoy food and drinks from El Naranjo. You’ll have to pick up a wristband at the IACP Culinary Book fair earlier in the day, but if you’re interested in talking with a book publisher it’s well worth the price of admission.
  • Peace Through Pie Fundraising Social – Kick-off Austin’s June 19th celebrations while you raise funds to restore the 115-year-old historic landmark Limerick-Frazier House as a community gathering place. You’ll be supporting future culinary exhibits, cooking classes for adults and kids, and organic gardens will be held.There will be sweet and savory pies on hand as well as ice cream, lemonade, and more. Suggested donation is $25/person. Saturday, June 4. 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
  • Edible Texas Wine and Food Match – Five of the Austin area’s best chefs will compete against each other in this wine and food pairing competition. Each chef will prepare a three-course menu featuring local, seasonal ingredients to compliment wines from around Texas. They’ll be judged by five heavy-hitters from the food world including Jacques Pépin, world-renowned chef, television celebrity, cookbook author and culinary educator; Francois Dionot, founder and director of L’Academie de Cuisine; John Besh, chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and television personality; Michael Bauer, executive food and wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle; and Paula Lambert, cookbook author and founder of The Mozzarella Company. This event will be a great way to take a tasting tour of the creative genius of some of the area’s most interesting chefs along with the best ingredients and wine from Texas. This event will benefit the launched non-profit Center for Wine and the Culinary Arts in Fredericksburg. $100/person. Friday, June 3, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm at the AT&T Conference Center. Buy tickets online.
  • Book Dinner with Hank Shaw – Hank is a food blogger turned book author as well as an IACP award winner, and he’ll be at FINO on Sunday, June 5 to sign copies of his book Hunt, Gather, Cook. Chef Jason Donoho will make a special dinner inspired by Hank’s cookbook. I’m a big fan of Hank’s and along with being a great cook and writer with a passion for hunting and gathering, he’s a really great guy that you’ll enjoy meeting. I highly recommend this activity as a way to end your week. $50/person ($80/wine pairings). Call 512.474.2905 to reserve.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I’m the social media chair for the host committee so I have a vested interest in all of Austin coming together to show the IACP attendees just how incredible our town is, so I hope some of my local readers will be able to make it to some of these events. The opportunities to connect with food professionals and passionists alike will be extensive so there’s something in it for everyone.

If you’re a local food professional interested in attending IACP, you can register onsite for the conference starting on June 1. You can buy a pass for the entire conference or passes for individual days.

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