I’ve been lingering over this blog post for something close to 18 months or so.
I started collecting links and rolling the idea around in my head. I feel like
now is a perfect time to publish this. The goal of this post was to serve as a
piece that illustrates what Austinites mean by the
“Austin Food Community.”
It isn’t always easy for visitors to truly understand the Austin culture with a few blog posts or by mentioning our vibrant restaurant scene; so I decided to make a collection of posts that describe the food community. I’ve split the blog posts up into a few different sections, and these lists will grow over time. Do check back often, and please do submit posts that you think really highlight the Austin Food Community.
The AFBA board at Cupcakes and Cocktails. Photo by Bill Bartz Photography.
The community (beer included) is super supportive in ways that are unimaginable. The barrier to entry in the food community is pretty low. If you really boil it down, you could just like food. Surprisingly, the homogeneity of the attitudes were still pretty consistent, which contradicts statistical theory. Higher numbers almost always mean higher statistical variance, with exceptions of course. 99.999999% of the community was awesome blossom.
Looking back over the years, this community wasn’t like a wild weed, growing with velocity and strength. Rather, looking back, it seemed like carefully and thoughtfully planned chaos. The good kind of chaos of course.
Mat Clouser, Zack Northcutt, and Callie Speer of Swift's Attic has a fun sense of humor. The chefs here aren't just about food. They're also about the pumperknuckle sammiches. Photo courtesy of Mat Clouser.
Several critical factors in the very beginning shaped this community. We had awesome bloggers -to try to name everyone would only result in a 50,000 page blogpost. Here’s a few examples though: Addie Broyles didn’t just do the bare minimum of her job; she pushed the envelope of her professional role and became involved with the food community on local and national levels. I’m inspired and grateful that our community had someone like her to lead Austin. I get all mushy when I watch her interact with national food leaders on stage or tell the story of the Austin Food Community.
Grapes + Addie + Annie Ray Photography = fun times.
Natanya Anderson is another that leaves no stone unturned in the food x social media world. Even prior to her role at Whole Foods Austin, Natanya was a fierce leader, recruiter, and futurist of our community. She still is if you’re wondering. Kathryn Hutchinson wrangled an amazing Austin Bakes for Japan and Bastrop. Carla Crownover seems to be a helping hand and supportive heart at every single food event within a 100 mile radius of Austin. Of course, close to Carla, you'll almost always find Christian and Jamie of Bola Pizza. Their hugs are almost as warm as their pizza oven; that's over 700+ degrees! And those are just the bloggers. There are so many, many more people in the Austin Food Community that play an influential role.
Auntie Carla Crownover holds @VestaTheDog at 10 weeks old.
Now that I look back over the last few blissful years, I feel like my role has changed drastically in the community. I started as a consumer who loved to cook and eat. I put on the Cupcake Smackdown for three years, and over the last two years, I’ve worked on a personal and professional level with many amazing chefs in Austin. I’ve invited them to play at TEDxAustin, and they’ve invited me to work behind the scenes.
The fun doesn't end when the food is gone. Philly Speer, Josh Watkins, Cash Watkins, and I playing with liquid nitrogen at Pay it Forward with Daniel Curtis. That's completely normal for us.
In a few short months, I’ll also be transitioning my current role of education chair of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance to Kristin Sheppard. I feel like even though my “official” role in the Austin Food Blogger Alliance is changing, my role in the larger community is still continuing to grow. Every community (and company for that matter) experiences growing pains, and the Austin Food Community is no different. I hope that not only will this post serve as snapshot of the community, but also as a guide of how to cultivate new members and nurture the supportive community.
As a steward of the community, I look forward to the bright future of Austin’s Food Community as the national spotlight shines on us. Enjoy and Happy Eating!
*Please do keep sending me links that you think is an appropriate piece to showcase our community.
Friends Getting Together
Community Initiatives and Support
Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.