Faces You’ll See at the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival
March 23, 2023 | Courtney E. Smith | Eater Dallas
They call it Fort Worth’s tastiest weekend, and it is happening from March 30 through April 2. The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival will bring over 100 chefs, restaurateurs, and beverage experts to the Ranch at Clearfork, where some 13 acres will hold thousands of attendees.
Eater Dallas asked several of the chefs who will be at the festival what to expect.
The festival starts with Noche del Soul on Thursday, March 30. It features Tiffany Derry of Roots Southern Table partnered with Fort Worth’s Juan Rodriguez, who is opening a new paella restaurant this fall, for a collaborative dinner rooted in the histories and heritage of Southern spices and Mexican flavors.
“I’m excited to collaborate with the amazing and talented chef Juan Rodriguez to cook a multi-course meal rooted in heritage and culture,” Derry tells Eater Dallas. “We’re excited to blend our respective cooking styles — Southern and Mexican — for a soulful evening filled with bold and unique flavors.”
“What can you expect from our dinner? Un poquito de amor, a big touch of soul, and a pinch of spice,” Rodriguez says, a little mysteriously.
Tacos + Tequila is happening on the evening of Thursday, March 30. A slew of regional chefs will offer their best pairings of, you guessed it, tacos and tequila, with their unique touches.
“I love kicking off the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival with Tacos + Tequila,” says Sarah Castillo, owner of Taco Heads. The event is one of my favorites because attendees get to try some of the best hand-crafted margaritas and amazing taco creations from some of North Texas’s best chefs.”
The Main Event is, well, the Main Event, in the evening on Friday, March 31. Graham Elliot, whose face is well-known from his weekly appearances on MasterChef, moved to Fort Worth to work with Felipe Armenta at his numerous restaurants in the city — and to open a few new ones. He’ll join this event, at which over 100 wines, craft beers, and spirits will be poured.
“This is an exciting time to live in Fort Worth, especially for chefs and foodies,” Elliot says. “The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is a great opportunity to cook alongside our fellow local chefs as well as showcase what the Far Out Hospitality Group has in store with our three new restaurants opening this year.“
The Night Market on Friday, March 31, combines cocktails and street food. It’s a moody evening of rambling around and sampling all kinds of food and drink with a global theme.
Chef Antoine Hedary of Hendary’s Food Truck will make his festival debut at this event and is using it as a chance to showcase the foods he grew up eating.
“I will be serving falafel made like my dad used to make when I was young, using a big grinder to create very green fluffy falafels. My favorite stuffed grape leaves, aka do lmas and shish tawook or chicken kabobs, as many might know it,” he says. “I’m excited to participate because I hope to keep my family’s traditions alive and keep people falling in love with this fantastic food. I always wanted to cook, but my road wasn’t straightforward. I went to culinary school and learned so much from my aunts and uncles but ended up in federal prison when my family’s restaurant closed and my dads closed before that. Now I hope to give new people a chance to fall in love and feel joy through this food like I did when I was young.”
Rise + Dine, a brunch event, is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. Katrina Carpenter of Carpenters Cafe & Catering says, “Guests can prepare to have their tastebuds tickled by a couple of our fan favorites, one being our signature smoked chicken salad bite.”
Saturday evening is for Burgers, Brews + Blue, when a slew of mini-burgers and craft breweries come together to serve two great tastes that Texans love. Of course, Easy Slider will be part of it.
“We look forward to Burgers, Brews + Blues every year. An event featuring the best burgers in the business with a side of cold beer and music is our kind of a good time, says Caroline Perini of Easy Slider.
And then there’s Hunt + Gather, a Southern brunch event happening on Sunday, April 2.
Jon Bonnell will be on site, and this expert in wild game and chef at Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine is an apt choice. “The FWFWF is always a highlight of my year, and Hunt + Gather is going to be a fantastic opportunity not only to share the unique and diverse flavors of Texas but also to support and collaborate with other local Fort Worth chefs and restaurants,” he says.
Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Foods will also be on hand. “FWFWF is our time of year because we love the energy, and camaraderie among our fellow restaurants,” she says.
Ring of Fire: A Next Level Cookout will happen on the afternoon of Sunday, April 2. Chefs will cook over open fires — it’s all about the smoke. Or the melt. Or the live music and wine.
This is Don Artemio’s first time at the festival, and the restaurant will be repped at this big event. Executive chef Rodrigo Cárdenas has his eyes on the prize. “I’m sure it will be a festival where people are going to enjoy great food, drink great wine, beer, and craft cocktails, and learn more about the culinary scene that Fort Worth has to offer our community,” he says. He’ll be joined by chef Juan Ramón Cardenas, Don Arteimo owner and founder.