Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#Benefit4Daniel @MeetatTexas and the Austin Food Community Scrapbook

Tickets and donation for Benefit4Daniel link here.
SUBMIT stories to Austin Food Community Scrapbook here.

In a world where we think human connections are giving way to online interaction and everyone is in the rat race, stories about love and community are becoming farther and fewer between.  But that’s not the case in Austin, TX.  You might have heard about it.  The Music Capital of the World.  The Allergy Capital of the world. Silicon Valley of Texas.  Those are just a few names for our ever evolving city with a small town feel.

Lovely Ladies of Derby Day 2011. From L to R, @CakeAustin, Paula from Paula's Spirits, Valerie the Forager, @KristiFarm2tbl, and myself.  Photo Courtesy of @CakeAustin.

People in Austin are nice.  Being weird is cool, and talking to strangers is the norm.  But I’d like claim that Austin is a daaaaamn nice community.  Austin takes Southern Hospitality to another level.  We’re not just polite and cordial.  We’ve loving, huggy, and smiley.  The International Association of Culinary Professionals conference was recently in Austin, and repeatedly, I heard people muttering, “Wow. People here are nice/helpful.”  I’m glad that the local Austin food community got to give a little taste of Austin to the out-of-towners because that’s not always the case.  I’ve been in many other communities where you had to watch out for who was stabbing your back.  You know that someone was doing it, but you weren’t sure who it was this time.

At a food bloggers pot luck circa ~2009.  From L to R, Jette, @TastyTouring, @AdamHolzband, @PennyDelosantos, and @TacoJournalism.

The Austin food (and beer community) for that matter is awesome beyond belief.  The heart and souls of its members is even more pure than thrice filtered water.  While members have their disagreements from time to time, this community bands together for the greater good.  From Austin Bakes for Japan to Sustainable Food efforts, and to my own Cupcake Smackdown, it is unbelievable how supportive the community is to one another.  Addie Broyles gave a panel discussion on the Austin Food Blogger community at SXSW 2011.  The take away message is that even though bloggers are technically competitors with each other, a supportive community can help all bloggers.  We are the poster children of rising tides raises all boats. This isn’t just about food bloggers; it is about the many other people in the food community.  

Tragedy struck our community when an active member suffered a serious accident.  Daniel Curtis, 28, was the behind the scenes man making sure that many events at the Carillon and AT&T Executive Education Center were executed seamlessly.  This man not only worked hard behind the scenes, but he was truly a friend to us all.  In line with the Austin culture, the community is coming together to throw Daniel a huge fundraising party.  This event brings together many talented chefs and local vendors in a way that is bittersweet.  Bitter than one of our own is suffering, but sweet that the community is banding in such a way to support him.  

Join us on Wednesday, July 13th to celebrate the Austin Food Community, and to share camaraderie over fabulous food, drinks, and company.  Even if you can't make it to the event, any donation is greatly appreciated.  A very special thank you to all the chefs, bartenders, vendors, and amazing staff for putting this one.  Ticket and donation link here.

With Austin earning national nods for our food community, I wanted a way to capture the community into one centralized location.  Locals know what makes us a community, but I feel that out-of-towners don't get a comprehensive view.  I'm starting a side project that can be conceptualized as an Austin Food Community Virtual Scrapbook.  It is essentially a collection of blog posts, tweets, submitted stories, photos, or videos about the Austin Food Community.  It will be a resource for people to use when describing the Austin Food community, and our scrapbook so we can reflect on how we change over the years.  I'm only kicking myself for not doing this earlier.  In the last three years, many stories and events have already been forgotten or were never written down.  From the Austin Bakes for Japan campaign, to 24 Hours of Cooking, and to my own Cupcake Smackdown, these are acts of community that make Austin AWESOME!
SUBMIT stories here.

If you'd like to volunteer at the event, sign up here.

This project will be on-going, and I'm not quite sure where the final product will rest yet.  It will be used at Daniel's Benefit, and start off as a blog post on my blog.  It is my intention to keep it somewhere public so we can all enjoy it.  I'll start with the first submission. 

Here's a photo of @BroylesA and myself at La Dolce Vita in 2009.  I love Addie because she can smile and throw grapes at the same time!