Food and Wine Fest

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The second Austin Food & Wine Festival wrapped Sunday, with a new setup and schedule.

While last year's festival was marred by long lines, little food and a dusty Auditorium Shores, a venue change to Butler Park (with plenty of grass and shade) and some tweaks to the schedule (with less events competing with each other) made for a vastly improved festival experience.

TastyTouring/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/tastytouring/4715459338/

Celebrity chefs will descend on the city this weekend for the second annual Austin Food and Wine Festival. People will shell out at least $250 for the opportunity to taste the food of famous cooks such as Marcus Samuelson, Jonathan Waxman and Graham Elliot

But if the ticket price is too high for your budget, you can still enjoy some of the featured food without having to buy a badge. That's because many of the chefs have restaurants right here in Austin. Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam stopped by KUT to tell us about some of the local chefs at the Austin Food and Wine Fest. Listen to our conversation by clicking the player above. 

Photo courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Festival

Andrew Zimmern, the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods (where he's made a name for himself eating exotic things like fermented beetle anus), heaped some praise on the local food scene at the Austin Food Festival this weekend. But while Zimmern is fond of many Austin chefs, farmers and restaurants, he saves the highest praise for Austinites themselves.

KUT: So tell us why you're here at this food festival in Austin.

Andrew Zimmern: "I think Austin has a very special food community in terms of diners. It's the diners and the Austinites that have created the atmosphere for all this amazing food here to flourish.

Every single person I've spoken to here at this festival, I think, gets it all wrong about Austin. Everybody puts the food and chefs first, and I think it's not chicken or egg, it's very matter-of-fact: the audience here in Austin is unique. They are willing to be experimented at, and they do not hold grudges against chefs that make mistakes or have failures, as long as that chef is willing to get back on their bicycle and start pedaling again.

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Thousands of gourmets and tipplers gathered at the Austin Food and Wine Festival this weekend. 

There was, of course, wine, but there was also sushi, macaroons and even Frito pie. And there was a scene you’ll have a hard time finding again: 200 charcoal grills all fired up at once on the shores of Lady Bird Lake. The coals were burning for Fort Worth chef Tim Love's "Grills Gone Wild" hands-on demo, where attendees learned the art of searing, resting and slicing a steak.

"Now I cook them medium rare. Cause I’m an American. Not only am I an American, I’m a ... Texan. So remember that," Love said as he whipped up the crowd. 

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/austintoros

Army Bases in Texas Going Green

Fort Hood and other Texas Army bases are working to become more energy efficient, according to an article in the Texas Tribune.

By 2020 the Central Texas base aims to reduce its waste to “net zero.” Brian Dosa, Fort Hood’s director of public works, believes it won’t be an easy task.  

“It’s really as much about behavior change as it is about technology,” said Dosa. Recycling rates at soldiers’ housing complexes, for example, are low, he said.