Rachael Ray’s SXSW party is the only event where people don’t seem to mind to stand in line for food.
The crowds show up early, usually around dawn, to get in line for her annual Feedback Party, an event she hosts to say thank you to a home-away-from-home that she loves. For 11 years, that party has featured free Tex-Mex/barbecue/Southern to the audience, which can listen to the two stages of music while they wait for food.
On Saturday, at least the second time the party has falled on St. Patrick’s Day, the party kicked off with bagpipers playing for the people who were already standing in line when the doors opened at 10 a.m.
When I caught up with Ray after the first few acts, she was beaming. “They crushed it,” she said of the sets from Schneider and The Cringe, but she was most looking forward to Dr. Pepper’s Jaded Hearts Club Band, a Beatles cover band (and supergroup) with Muse’s Matt Bellamy and drummer Dom Howard. (Make sure you check out their clip singing “Helter Skelter” with Paul McCartney, Ray advised.)
As for the food, she joked, “We wanted to take it to the dogs — d-a-w-g-s –, so we had a vegan/vegetarian corn dog and Hebrew National hot dogs, plus three meat sloppy joes, so it’s the whole barnyard.”
The highlight of this year’s menu was the refried bean- and roasted tomato salsa-topped hot dog, with the pimiento cheese- and Fritos-topped dog coming in second. I loved the sloppy joes and the idea behind the tomatillo gazpacho, but the latter was a little too chunky and presented more like a green salsa.
Bands and chefs will be making music and food all over the city this weekend, but two local companies are hosting Ode to Austin, a free two-day event at the Kasita Showroom, 1304 E. Fourth St., with music and food from more than half a dozen local eateries. (Free, but RSVP at odetoaustin.splashthat.com.)
Foster ATX, an events company that hosts intimate pop-up dinners and concerts, and Made in Cookware, an online company that sells pots and pans out of Austin, will bring together bands on Saturday night and food makers on Sunday in two no-badge-required events, Sounds of Austin (5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday) and Made in Austin (noon to 6 p.m. Sunday).
No details about the bands or local chefs, but here’s how the hosts described the parties:
SOUNDS OF AUSTIN — a thoughtfully curated music festival, showcasing 6 different genres, 12 local bands, and an evening full of music, art and drink.
MADE IN AUSTIN — a celebration of the local Austin food scene. We’ve curated 7 intimate experiences that highlight the diverse cultural scene here in our city. Featuring 7 local chefs, guest will enjoy carefully crated bites with local libation pairings, plus 2 Kasita experiences, pop-up tents, a vinyl DJ lounge, and an immersive VIP experience.
The Beekman Boys, aka Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, are returning to Austin for a South by Southwest panel with Lick Ice Creams owners Anthony Sobotik and Chad Palmatier, and they want to have ice cream with you.
From 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, the reality TV stars, who have written several cookbooks in the past few years, including “A Seat at the Table,” which came out in September, will be serving ice cream, signing books and hanging out with Sobotik and Palmatier.
Lick’s ice cream truck will be at SouthBites Trailer Park, but you’ll be able to buy ice cream at this event. Proceeds will benefit the Austin Food and Wine Alliance.
On Tuesday, March 13, Spoon University is hosting a one-day event called Brainfood Bites, a three-hour event featuring speakers in the food industry and food from companies including Aketta, Austin Eastciders, Chameleon Cold-Brew, Deep Eddy Vodka OddPop, Sieta, Prohibition Creamery and Primizie Flatbread Crisps.
Admission costs $25 and includes a swag bag. Ten percent of ticket sales will go to Creative Action in support of their mission to spark and support the academic, social and emotional development of young people in local Austin communities through the arts.
According to the online food publication based in New York, the mission of Brainfood Bites is “to drive conversation around the future of food within local communities, while connecting young food lovers to the best food, flavors and industry professionals in their area. For the first time ever, we’re coming to ATX to take a deeper dive into the booming Austin food scene, uncovering how local Austin brands are scaling their ideas into businesses and using technology + innovation to make waves in the food industry at large.”
The event starts at 4 p.m. at Capital Factory, 701 Brazos St., with a chance to sample drinks and small bites. After an introduction from Spoon University founders Mackenzie Barth and Sarah Adler, Austin mayor Steve Adler, who happens to be Sarah’s dad, will talk about Austin’s food culture at 4:50 p.m..
The rest of the programming is as follows:
5:10 p.m. The Secrets to Scalability: from Idea to Business to Scale: Ellen Bennett, founder of Hedley & Bennett, Laura Aidan, founder of Prohibition Creamery, Vernoica Garza, co-founder of Siete Foods and Joi Chevalier, founder of Cook’s Nook.
5:50 p.m. Technology & Innovations that are Shaping the Future of Food: Genevieve Gilbreath, managing director of SKU, Jon Carter, head of digital strategy at Snap Kitchen, Robyn Metcalfe, director of Food + City, Dan Brooks, Vital Farms’ director of brand communications
6:25 p.m. Networking + Mingling with the marketplace and open bar
Rachael Ray’s Feedback party is back to help close out South by Southwest for an 11th year.
Every year, the beloved daytime talk show host and Food Network star throws one of the biggest free parties of South by Southwest at Stubb’s on the last day of the busiest week of the year in Austin. Ray has always explained that it’s her way to give back to a city she loves so deeply and calls her second home.
Rachael Ray’s Feedback at Stubb’s BBQ, 801 Red River Street, starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. on March 17, and once the venue hits capacity, they’ll institute and one-in-one-out policy.
This year’s music line-up includes Salt-N-Pepa, Kurt Vile, Girl Talk, Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards and Dr. Pepper’s Jaded Hearts Club Band. You can click here to find the full list of performers from music writer Deborah Sengupta Stith.
As always, the free food and drinks — sponsored this year by King’s Hawaiian and Modelo Beer — will be a big draw for many of the fans who often line up before dawn to get in. On St. Patrick’s Day, they’ll serve Frank n’ “Refried” Beans hot dogs with roasted tomato salsa and pickled jalapeños, Pimento Cheese Dogs with corn chip dust, Lil’ Veg-Head Corn Dogs with Tomatillo Gazpacho Shooters and Serious Three-Meat Sloppy Joes.
The Feedback House, which is the private warm-up party for the big Feedback party at Stubb’s, will take place Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17 at 1102 E. Cesar Chavez St., but you’ll need an invite to get into that one.
Ray shared the recipe for those tomatillo gazpacho shooters below.
Tomatillo Gazpacho Shooters
6 tomatillos, husked and cut in half, or 3 green tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/3 seedless cucumber, peeled
1 to 2 stalks celery
1/2 small onion, rough chopped
1/2 to 1 jalapeño, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Small handful of cilantro
1/4 cup fresh mint
Honey, to taste
Small hunk of stale bread, about 2 slices
1 cup ice
Good olive oil
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until combined and to desired consistency. Serve in a tall shot glass with a drizzle of olive oil, a floater of vodka and green Tabasco. Makes 4 cups.
How does African American food continue to influence American cuisine?
On Saturday, five local chefs — all of whom are women of color — will be preparing a dinner called ReFuzed to showcase how “African American cuisine, already a melange of southern, French, British, Native and Afro-Caribbean influences, is changing again as it fuses with Asian, recent African, and Mexican traditions.”
With small plates and spirits, the dinner ($95, tickets at refuzed.kitchen) will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce at 912 E. 11th Street and will feature food from Joi Chevalier, owner of the Cook’s Nook, Institute of Culinary Education graduate Leigh-Ann Martin, Filipina chef Yana Gilbuena, Knotty Nice Bakery owner Adrian Lipscombe and private chef Ey Williams.
Longtime Austinites and SXSW attendees know that you don’t necessarily need a badge to experience these epic 10 days in Austin.
Several years ago, companies such as Fast Company started hosting day-long or multi-day panels and speakers, not unlike the content you’d find at the official interactive festival.
For the first time this year, you’ll find a similar four-day event, but this time, focused on food. Land O’Lakes is teaming up with National Geographic and Microsoft to present “The Food Effect,” which will bring together more than 20 speakers over four days at Trinity Hall, 311 E. Fifth St. to talk about food, agriculture and technology and issues affecting global food production.
Speakers include “The American Way of Eating” author Tracie McMillan, GENYouth founder Alexis Glick, CNN’s Frank Sesno and Pamela Ronald, the founding director of the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy.
The 6,000 square-foot venue will be open from noon to 6 p.m. March 9 to 12, and you can find out more about it at event.thefoodeffect.com.
Here’s the schedule:
Friday, March 9
3 to 3:30 p.m. Opening remarks from Chris Policinski, CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc.
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Science Can Save the World (But Only If We Let It): A conversation about food security and the tradeoffs we make when considering solutions.
4:30 to 7:30 p.m. DJ Mel and Happy Hour
Saturday, March 10
12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Dairy and Dialogue: Meet Today’s Modern Farmer: An interview with Stephanie Mickelsen of Mickelsen Farms and Dave Ribeiro of Rib-Arrow Dairy.
3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Dan Gilgoff, executive digital editor or National Geographic, interviews Tracie McMillan, author of “The American Way of Eating”
5:30 to 7 p.m. Nerd Nite: A Tale of Two Cities — Empowering Communities on the Front Lines of Food Justice: Austin’s own Matt Wasowski of Nerd Nite will lead a conversation about communities in Detroit and Austin that are exploring new ways to improve the quality of life for residents through food. Participants include Devita Davison, executive director of FoodLab Detroit, JC Dwyer of Feeding Texas and Edwin Marty, food policy manager with the City of Austin.
Sunday, March 11
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: The Mathematical Age of Agriculture: Big data is revolutionizing agriculture. It’s also expensive. How do we ensure accessibility for all? Alexis Glick of GENYOUth will lead the conversation.
Monday, March 12
12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: All Farming is Good Farming: A conversation with Sue McCloskey, cofounder of fairlife and Fair Oak Farms, Philip Pardey, director of global research strategy at University of Minnesota, Andre Pereira, a nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition, Joel Wipperfurth of WinField United.
4:30 to 6 p.m. The Future of Food Isn’t What (Or Who) You Think: The way we grow, deliver and prepare food is about to change. So should the way we think about it. Nina F. Ichikawa of the Berkeley Food Institute, Arielle Johnson of MIT Media Lab and Shakirah Simley, founder of Nourish | Resist, will discuss.
It’s been a busy start to the year for the people who plan and schedule South by Southwest. Just in the past few weeks, they’ve added a handful of panels to an already full food track. As in years’ past, this year’s food panels and speakers cover everything from food media and restaurants to technology in agriculture and food innovation.
José Andrés will join frequent SXSW speaker Andrew Zimmern to talk about his latest work in Puerto Rico, and Food Network mega star Tyler Florence will lead two panels, one about celebrity chefs and another about food technology.
Iron Chef Cat Cora, OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles, former Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin, cookbook author Christina Tosi and Helen Hollyman, the founding editor-in-chief of Munchies, are all involved in programming that will touch on the recent #MeToo movement and inequality in the food world.
Below, you’ll find all of this year’s food panels in chronological order, along with the appropriate hashtags and location. You’ll need a SXSW badge to attend these sessions.
Milk Bar book signing: Christina Tosi, the author of several Milk Bar cookbooks and co-host of “Master Chef Junior” will sign copies of her latest in the SX Bookstore.
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
The Evolution of the Eating Ecosystem: What does today’s connected kitchen look like? Tyler Florence will chat with Google Assistant’s Ye-Jeong Kim and Josh Sigel of Innit about how everyday eating technology is making cooking less complicated, stressful and time-consuming for home cooks. #EatInnit, JW Marriott, Salon AB
Monk of Mokha: The Story of Yemeni Coffee: This is your chance to hear Mokhtar Alkhanshali’s heart-pounding story of being kidnapped in Yemen while on a coffee expedition in 2015. Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco the son of Yemeni immigrants but didn’t know anything about the country’s long coffee history until he was an adult. After that experience in the ongoing Yemeni civil war, he is now using coffee to tell a much deeper story about what’s going on internationally. The co-founder of Sprudge, Jordan Michelman, will interview Alkhanshali, who is the subject of Dave Eggers’s latest nonfiction book, “The Monk of Mokha.” #monkofmokha, JW Marriott, Salon C
Women Who Create & Curate Culinary Careers: Santana Caress Benitez of I’ll Cook Like Your Mother, Esther Choi of Mokbar & Ms. Yoo, Ashley Holt of Sugar Monster Sweets and Elle Scott of SheChef will talk about the importance of networks and community to the advancement of women and minorities in many culinary fields. #HerFoodStory, JW Marriott, Salon C
2 to 3 p.m.
The Restaurant of the Future: How will the pressures of restaurants today reshape the industry as a whole in the next five to 10 years? Joy Crump of Foode, Mitchell Davis of The James Beard Foundation, Arielle Johnson of MIT Media Lab and Josh Kulp of Honey Butter Fried Chicken & Sunday Dinner Club will talk about how consumer preferences, food and climate policy, social and economic change, gender and diversity issues, technological advances and other forces play a role in the evolution. #futureofrestaurants, JW Marriott, Salon AB
Changing the World Through Food: Jose Andrés, Dana Cowin and Andrew Zimmern will sit down for what will easily be the biggest food event of this year’s SXSW. Andrés has recently earned international acclaim for his recent work feeding thousands of hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico, but in this chat with Zimmern and Cowin, they will all talk about the revolutionary ways food impacts the lives of people around the world.Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG
The Future of Food Delivery: Walmart executive Kelly Boyle will join Ben Lipson of Doordash and Robyn Metcalfe of Food & City magazine to talk about the many changes happening inside the global supply chain and food delivery industry, many of which are designed for consumers not to notice. JW Marriott, Salon C
Plant-Based & Clean Meat Will Save The World! Ethan Brown of Beyond Meat, Alexis Fox of Lighter, Bruce Friedrich of The Good Food Institute and David Kay of Memphis Meats will talk about what’s happening on the cutting edge of food innovation that aims to reduce or eliminate industrialized agriculture, even as global meat consumption skyrockets. #FutureOfFood, JW Marriott, Salon AB
11 a.m. to noon
Pedaler’s Palate: Food, Cycling + How They Collide: Cyclists and food lovers Lentine Alexis, Kate Powlison, Alaina Sullivan and Tom Vanderbilt will talk about how motion impacts the way we crave what we crave, how it shapes our sense of taste, and how using a bike to get around or exercise impacts what we choose to eat and how we enjoy meals and food. JW Marriott, Salon C
Meet the Kitchen of the Future: Trends in Food Tech: Famed “Iron Chef” Cat Cora will join Jared Costa of Miele, Jane Francisco of Good Housekeeping and Carley Knobloch of HGTV will talk about how American cooks are actually using technology in their kitchens, including automation, smartphones and appliances that can help you cut down on food waste. JW Marriott, Salon AB
Changing Restaurant Culture Meet Up: Alba Huerta of Julep and Alex Raij of Txikito will lead a meet-up about how the restaurant industry is responding to the #MeToo movement. JW Marriott, Room 209 New Mediums to Tell Authentic Food Stories: Shanna Keller of Whole30, Beth Lipton of Clean Plates, Sarah Russo of PRE Brands and Alex Snodgrass of The Defined Dish will talk about how much today’s influencer-based digital food culture relies on authenticity and transparency. Learn how brand marketers, news outlets, influencers and consumers can benefit from it. #foodstory, JW Marriott, Salon AB
AI Will Help Feed a Growing Planet: George Kantor of Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute will lead this session about how the agriculture industry is embracing artificial intelligence, not just for planting crops but for many steps of the agricultural process. JW Marriott, Salon C
3:30 to 4:30 p.m
Displaced Kitchens: Community Empowerment via Food: Jabber Al-Bihani Jr. and Nas Jab, who run a startup called Komeeda, will talk about the ways Americans are starting to address the policies that disempower marginalized communities and finding new ways to empower them through food. #eatKomeeda, JW Marriott, Salon C Disruptive Tech in Your Home Cannabis Kitchen: With marijuana legalization sweeping the country, more food and beverage businesses are getting into the cannabis space, and this panel brings together four of them: Warren Bobrow of Cocktail Whisperer, Andrea Drummer of Elevation VIP Cooperative, Shanel Lindsay of Ardent and Caroline Rustigian Bruderer of K-Line Productions. JW Marriott, Salon AB
5 to 6 p.m. Re-Imagining How America Can Reduce Food Waste: Anthony Bourdain won’t be at the festival this year, but Anna Chai, who directed “Wasted,” the food documentary his production company released last year, will be. She’ll talk about the epidemic of food waste with Marco Canora of Hearth, Kris Moon of The James Beard Foundation and Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank. JW Marriott, Salon C<
March 14 11 a.m. to noon
The Biggest Threats to Your Brain and Health: Jess Barron of Livestrong.com, Jeff Chean of Groundwork Coffee, Sarah Endline of Sweetriot and Peter Work of Ampelos Vineyard & Cellars will talk about how dependent the coffee and wine industries are on pesticides and what that means for consumers who love them both. JW Marriott, Salon C
The Era of Camera-First Food: Lior Lev Sercarz of La Boite, Helen Todd of Sociality Squared, Thomas Schauer of Taste in Motion and Michael Friedl of Advantage Austria — a chef, social media expert, food photographer and a diplomat — will talk about how much photography influences what we eat, from online and in-store grocery shopping to picking where we’re going to eat out next. #camerafood, JW Marriott, Salon AB
12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
A Progressive Food System Through Gene Editing: Michael Doane of The Nature Conservancy will lead a conversation with Matthew Crisp of Benson Hill Biosystems, Sara Eckhouse of FoodShot Global and Sanjeev Krishnan of S2G Ventures about how gene editing can empower “a robust community of innovators to tap the natural genetic diversity of plants and develop more nutrient-dense crops, scale local indoor agriculture, manage diseases with less pesticides and use natural resources more efficiently.” JW Marriott, Salon C
Food Mktg Claims – The Equivalent of “Fake News”?: Jay Hill of USFRA, Culver’s executive Joseph Koss, Rebecca Larson of the Western Sugar Cooperative and nutrition consultant Rosanne Rust will talk about the effects of what are called “absence claim-based products” to their product lines, but these foods have marketing claims that can have negative effects on a company’s reputation. JW Marriott, Salon C
The Original Celebrity Chefs & Restauranteurs: Food Network stars Tyler Florence and Amanda Freitag will talk with Ti Martin of Commander’s Palace and Noah Rothbaum of The Daily Beast will gather to talk about the first generation of celebrity chefs, going all the way back to Auguste Escoffier, and why many of these pioneers are forgotten in this most recent culinary boom. JW Marriott, Salon AB
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Mesopotamia to Millennials: Beer & Food Connection: How have food and beer been connected, from their inception to today’s craft beer and gastropub craze? That’s what Alison Tozzi Liu of the James Beard Foundation, Jake Maddux of the Brewer’s Table, Richard Martin of Food Republic and Caroline Wallace of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild will discuss. #foodandbeer, JW Marriott, Salon AB
GMO 2.0: Beyond Monsanto: Canadian fruit grower Neal Carter will join Roots of Change founder Michael Dimock, “Food Evolution” director Scott Hamilton Kennedy and Diana Horvath of 2Blades Foundation will talk about how GMOs are bringing about major changes to the food system to reduce food waste and pesticides and make a more equitable food system. #beyondmonsanto, JW Marriott, Salon C
5 to 6 p.m.
Teaching Old-School Restaurants New Tech Tricks: Chefs Sam Hellman-Mass of Suerte, Kati Luedecke of Killa Wasi and Thomas Nguyen of Peli Peli come together to talk about how technology has changed the way we see, cook, eat and even get food delivered, but restaurants are the serious “old dogs” refusing to learn new tricks. So why do restaurants cling to their old-school ways and how do they change? JW Marriott, Salon C
For six years, South by Southwest has amped up its food offerings through SouthBites, a pop-up food trailer park the features both local favorites and food trucks that come in from other cities.
This year’s SouthBites will return from March 9 to 17, where anyone — even non-attendees — can enjoy food from vendors such as Four Brothers, DFG Noodles, Bodhi Viet Veggie Cuisine, OneTaco and Ranch Hand.
But perhaps the most exciting news for both visitors and locals is that Adi Anand’s annual Quesoff, which usually takes places in the summer, will have a special SXSW edition from 2 to 4 p.m. March 13. In partnership with Washington State Wine and Hot Luck Fest, the event will allow queso-loving teams to showcase their best dips, but Anand says it won’t be a competition this time around.