February 26, 2014

A foodie's guide to SXSWSouth by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual convention held in Austin. The event has developed a fervent following for highlighting the latest in music, food and tech from around the country. An attraction for creatives from around the globe, SXSW is an awesome opportunity for panel discussions, films, live band performances, book signings and more. This year, SXSW includes a number of events that may be of interest to Austin culinary school students given their focus on the food and service industry.

The SXSW schedule is broken down into three categories: music (March 11-16), film (March 7-15) and interactive (March 7-11). Badges can be purchased for any of the three groups of events individually, for the film and interactive events (gold badge), or all three (platinum badge). The majority of the events that focus on food at this year’s SXSW will be under the “interactive” category and feature exciting discussions about the future of food and the restaurant industry.

The following events center on the food industry, making them ideal for any foodies planning to attend the festival:

Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Food, People & History
March 7, 11-11:20 a.m., Austin Convention Center, Ballroom G

This presentation by Mando Rayo will examine the breakfast taco culture in Austin. Rayo is the co-author of the book, “Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day,” which chronicles the city’s thriving network of taqueros serving up breakfast renditions of the popular dish across Austin. This presentation will not only be of interest to budding food historians but also to aspiring food writers looking to learn some of the tricks of the trade.

March 7, 6:30-8:35 p.m., Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Avenue

This film by writer/actor/director Jon Favreau tells the story of a prominent chef who quits his job in L.A. to open a food truck with his ex-wife, friend and son in Miami. This star-studded cast features Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr.  Anyone who has followed their passion for cooking will find something to relate to in this film.

Food + Tech Meet Up
March 9, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Proof Annex, 711 East 6th Street

This networking event will focus on all the emerging tech trends in the food industry. From GMOs to 3D printing, the food and service industry has seen a huge surge in kitchen technology over the last few years. This event is a great opportunity for industry insiders to get together and discuss the latest happenings in food tech.

The Future of Food Processing
March 9, 5-6 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H, 500 East 4th Street

Presenters Andras Forgacs, Ethan Brown, Josh Tetrick and Robert Rhinehart will discuss the future of food production. The group will highlight some of the benefits of food production technology on individual health as well as the environment. This is a good pick for anyone interested in the future of biochemically produced food products.

Printing Chocolate: Food on Demand
March 9, 5-6 p.m., Omni Downtown, Capital Ballroom, 700 San Jacinto

Food entrepreneur Daniel Heron of Tech Ranch Austin is being joined by piq Chocolates founder Levi Lalla to discuss nontraditional approaches to the common questions raised by our food system. The effect of 3D printing on the future of food will be analyzed in depth to explore new opportunities for innovation in the industry.

Future Foods: New Cuisine for a New Age
March 11, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Radisson Town Lake, Riverside Ballroom, 111 East Cesar Chavez

This event brings together inventor Pablos Holman with IEEE Spectrum magazine’s executive editor Glenn Zorpette to examine new possibilities in processed foods. Thermoplastic extrusion and bioreactor growth will be considered as the possible saviors of our current unsustainable food production chain.

The Future Farm Is Now: Can Robots Feed the World?
March 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Radisson Town Lake, Riverside Ballroom, 111 East Cesar Chavez

As farmers begin to embrace more and more technologies to improve yields, the field is becoming increasingly mechanized. This panel of speakers includes University of Idaho associate professor Dev Shrestha, multimedia/news editor Jeff Caldwell, Georgia Institute of Technology director of the Interactive Media Technology Center Maribeth Gandy?, and digital marketing and innovation professional Nathan Wright, who will discuss the evolution of the farm and the ethical considerations therein.