Helping Culinary Community: Texas Wine and Food Alliance Debuts
To help the culinary community, Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA) revealed that it would have a statewide expansion to Texas' other major cities this month.
AFWA revealed that it has a statewide expansion in Texas that includes an innovative grant program. The newly created Texas Food & Wine Alliance (TFWA) will serve as the organization's umbrella to oversee AFWA, Dallas Food & Wine Alliance, San Antonio Food & Wine Alliance, and Houston Food & Wine Alliance.
As per Forbes, these organizations and grants have committed to providing in 2021 and will support the pandemic recovery in the next few years. The project processed for months, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to a halt, as restaurants urged to close.
"I know, it's crazy to do this amid a coronavirus pandemic with so much uncertainty," Mariam Parker said, AFWA executive director who will be the executive director of the statewide organization and will also maintain leadership AFWA.
From ashes, the AFWA sprouted from the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival that dissolved in 2011. AFWA supported the culinary community in Central Texas since then, with $360,500 in grants for chefs, artisan producers, farmers, beer, wine, and spirit makers, and food-focused nonprofits. So far, the organization gave more than $14,000 for immediate aid and pandemic recovery, particularly for the culinary community.
Chefs, restaurants, and artisan producers from across Texas have been featured in AWRA's signature fundraising events like Wine & Dine Chef Series, Live Fire!, Official Drink of Austin, and the Wine & Swine. However, TFWA will not have any in-person events in 2020. The expanded organization is said to foster culinary awareness, education, and innovation while it builds a statewide culinary community.
Chef Steve McHugh and James Beard nominee and Cured owner said, "I have seen the strength they bring to the Austin Food and Beverage scene firsthand and know they will be champions for good here in San Antonio. More than ever, we need the Alliance now to shine a spotlight on our burgeoning and multi-diverse food scene."
The grant-giving will launch in Houston, Dalla, and San Antonio next year to determine funding amounts by fundraising, sponsorship, and events. TFWA will award grants that will cover innovative projects across the state as the organization grows.
Chef Monica Pope, one of Houston's most celebrated chefs who is also known as the Alice Waters of the Third Coast, said that now, more than ever, it is essential to unite. She is also excited to see Texas Food & Wine Alliance to bring the culinary community together in Texas. "And I can't wait to witness the impact their unique grant program will have in growing Houston food," Pope added.
TFWA will host the Alliance Academy series instead of fundraising events. The Alliance Academy series is an online cooking experience that will be launched on September 17, featuring top chefs and mixologists from all over Texas covering the diversity of the state food and the vast influences, flavors, and cultures that define Texas' cuisine. Viewers have the chance to engage with the chefs in live Q7A sessions after each cooking session.
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