Willie Nelson adds $5,000 grant to Austin Food & Wine Alliance giveaway

The Austin Food & Wine Alliance has a new backer you might have heard of.

After last year’s fundraiser at Willie Nelson’s ranch near Spicewood, Austin’s most beloved citizen has donated $5,000 to add another grant for the nonprofit’s culinary innovation grants.

Willie Nelson has donated $5,000 to the Austin Food & Wine Alliance for a grant to support local culinary innovators. Scott Moore for American-Statesman

Over the past seven years, the food and wine alliance has granted nearly $200,000 in grants to local food businesses, chefs and food startups.

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At an awards ceremony in December, they’ll give away an additional $60,000, including a new $5,000 Luck, Texas grant from the one and only Willie. That grant will be “awarded to a chef who follows his/her dreams without compromise and whose inspiration and vision have similarly contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture.”

Applications are open now and will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 12, via austinfoodwinealliance.org.

Past recipients have included farmers, artisan producers, chefs, wine/beer/spirits makers and small culinary businesses/culinary professionals, including Argus Cidery, Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria, Blacklands Malt, New Farm Institute at Green Gate Farms and Miche Bread.

In addition to hosting several high-profile food fundraiser events throughout the year, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance is hosting its annual Culinary Arts Career Conference next week, which will bring together more than 500 culinary students from the Austin area.

“Being able to support and enable the dreams of so many in our community is truly a heartfelt mission for our organization,” executive director Mariam Parker said in a release. “We are privileged to do this work and are so grateful and inspired by the many chefs, artisan producers, bartenders, wine- and spirit-makers who have contributed to our remarkable culinary landscape.”


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