The Austin Food & Wine Alliance is expanding across Texas. Best known for events like Wine & Swine and the Official Drink of Austin, the organization announced the founding of the Texas Food & Wine Alliance, with chapters in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
A 501 (c) 3, the non-profit organization uses its events to raise funds for grants that are distributed to chefs, farmers, artisans, wine, beer and spirits manufacturers, and non-profit organizations focusing on food. To date, AFWA has granted more than $ 330,000 in total grants, including more than $ 14,000 this year for immediate relief and pandemic.
“The Austin Food and Wine Alliance has had such a positive impact on our food community that it is impossible to really understand the scope,” said Olamaie CEO Michael Fojtasek. “They are able to support a multitude of uniquely different types of businesses and charities in a calendar year. From farmers to chefs to cheese makers, AFWA is a true champion small business owner in our great city and state.”
Grants will begin to be awarded in 2021. At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurants, breweries and other small businesses to shut down, the need for a statewide organization that provides financial assistance seems more urgent than ever.
“The pandemic has presented the Texas hospitality industry with unprecedented challenges and it will take many years to fully recover,” added AFWA Managing Director Mariam Parker. “There is no greater time than now to strengthen, present and support the breadth.” from Texas talent, culinary companies, and nonprofits. “(Parker, notes a press release, will now serve as Executive Director of TFWA.)
The rest of Texas will have to wait a little for a proper induction into the TFWA as the organization will not be holding any face-to-face events this year. Instead, it is launching the Alliance Academy, a series of online courses hosted by some of the best chefs and beverage experts in the state.
Instructors for season one, which begins Sept. 17, include Austin chefs Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi (Nixta Taqueria), Jackie Letelier (Casero) and Tavel Bristol-Joseph (Emmer & Rye, Hestia), and the head chef Rico Torres (Mixtli in San) Antonio). Each class contains ingredients that are delivered directly to attendees via Austin’s meeting kitchen. The participants then take part in a live Q&A with their course instructor.
“Past, present and future, it all depends on our communities and how we team up to keep the bond going,” said Jason Dady, owner of popular San Antonio Concepts, Alamo BBQ Co., B&D Ice House, Range, Tre Trattoria, and Two Bros. BBQ Market. “From day one at the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, I saw firsthand how the community came together and how it helped keep the hospitality group together and grow in a positive and sustainable way. I’m so excited to have her in San Antonio. “