Food festival and fundraiser season is upon us, which brings opportunity to experience lots of Fort Worth culinary talent in one convenient, fun-filled setting. Events this spring range from a cocktail competition and a whole steer roast to a four-day feeding frenzy. Many benefit good causes, making them even more delicious. Mark your calendars now.
Foodie Philanthropy 2019, February 2
There are just a few seats left at this innovative fundraiser, where guests are scattered about town at more than 30 different restaurants. They’ll be treated to a multicourse dinner (at least one chef is promising nine to 10 courses) paired with wine, beer, or cocktails. Attendees will then gather at a secret location for an after-party with drinks and dancing. Tickets are $75-$250 per person. Participating restaurants range from Bonnell's and Shinjuku Station to Piattello and Joe T. Garcia's. Proceeds this year benefit the Hope Center 4 Autism.
ABLAZE: Igniting Passion for a Cure, March 22
Chef Lou Lambert and friends will preside over a live fire pit to roast a whole steer at this outdoor culinary experience. The Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser will take place at Whiskey Ranch and includes food pairings, wines, craft beer and, of course, whiskey. Lambert’s participating buddies include Juan Rodriguez of Magdalena’s, Stefon Rishel (formerly of Max’s Wine Dive), Terry Chandler of Fred’s Texas Café, among others. Tickets are $350 per person and will go on sale in early March, but sponsorships — some of which include an intimate pre-party on Thursday night — start at $2,500 and are available now.
Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, April 4-7
New year, new location, new events. Most of the four-day smorgasbord will take place under the stars (and a few tents) at the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork. Festival proceeds go toward raising funds for local grant programs and culinary scholarships, and VIP passes are available. Here's this year’s event lineup:
- The indulgent affair begins April 4 with Tacos + Tequila ($50). Last year’s long lines will be alleviated this year thanks to more than double the number of the participating chefs and restaurants.
- The Main Event ($125) on April 5 features wines from around the world, craft beers, and spirits along with hefty bites from dozens of the best chefs in North Texas.
- Desserts After Dark ($60) is back at Whiskey Ranch on April 5, where 16 pastry chefs and 14 mixologists will share their sweet somethings while guests dance the night away.
- New this year is the Culinary Corral ($75) at the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork, to be held during brunch hours on April 6. Entry includes access to the tasting tent, beer garden and “corkyard,” plus an artisan marketplace with live music all day.
- The festival continues at Burgers, Blues + Blues ($70) that evening, when 13 chefs will partake in a burger battle featuring craft beer from all over Texas.
- Sunday’s new grand finale — Ring of Fire: A Next-Level Cookout ($65) – brings together 22 chefs to barbecue, roast, and grill everything from exotic meats to pizza over live fire.
Barrett Havran Memorial Big Taste of Fort Worth, April 7
It’s the 40th anniversary of this Cowtown-chic Sunday evening affair, which brings together a long list of Fort Worth restaurants and chefs to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. Gloria Starling of The Capital Grille, Juan Rodriguez of Magdalena’s, and Chester Cox of Kent & Co. Wines are back as chairs for this year’s tasting, to be held at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. Live music, fine wine, and an almost endless array of decadent bites are all included in the $125 ticket. Arrive early for a VIP wine tasting for an additional $75.
CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, April 25
The CultureMap Tastemaker Awards are an annual celebration of talent in Dallas-Fort Worth's restaurant and bar community, as selected by their peers. It shines a spotlight on the people making the area's restaurant scene special and honors their innovation, energy, and creativity. In March and April, we'll feature all the DFW nominees in a special editorial series. Then join us on April 25 at Fashion Industry Gallery in Dallas for a swanky tasting event and awards ceremony, where we'll celebrate the nominees and unveil the winners. Patrons will get to mix and mingle with the city's top culinary talent and fellow foodies. More details and ticket information to come soon.
Craft: Cures, Community, Cocktails, April 26
Local bartenders will shake up their best libations for this cocktail competition featuring several local spirits, including TX Whiskey, Blk Eye Vodka and gin from Acre Distilling. Guests get to choose the winning cocktail while perusing a speakeasy-themed Mopac Center and noshing on heavy hors d’oeuvres (chef John Tesar's Knife Burger will be in the house). Tickets start at $125, and the event benefits the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of North Texas.
Empty Bowls, May 1
With a later date in the warmer month of May this year, the Tarrant Area Food Bank fundraiser is promising "bowl-friendly fare," not just soup. Participants will receive hefty samples from more than 40 local restaurants, along with a keepsake bowl handcrafted by North Texans artisans, during the popular lunchtime event. (Arrive early for first dibs.) Details are still in the works for this year, but last year's wide-ranging participants included Grace, Fred's Texas Cafe, Paris Coffee Shop, and Reata. Tickets are not yet on sale.