May 29, 2018

How chefs can capitalize on Austin summers

 

Aspiring chefs attending culinary arts schools in Austin, Texas, have endless opportunities to experience amazing food as they learn invaluable lessons in cooking and running a business. The Austin scene is vibrant and diverse, featuring many great restaurants and food trucks that can inspire anyone interested in cooking careers. While the summers are known for days that reach temperatures around 100 degrees, that shouldn’t dissuade chefs from continuing to investigate all the great tastes this city has to offer.

There are plenty of fun chances for future cooking professionals to enjoy Austin food and expand on their skills during the summer months. Here are a few ways you can make the most of hot days with delicious food and refreshing drinks:

Find seasonal and local ingredients at farmers markets

“One of the best parts of summer is the fresh produce available at farmers markets.”

One of the best parts of summer is taking a look at the array of fresh produce available at farmers markets. Austin is renowned for the selection of sustainably raised local and seasonal ingredients on hand at the markets held regularly throughout the area.

Barton Creek Farmers Market has firmly established its place as the home for a wide range of vendors over its two-decade history. The nonprofit Sustainable Food Center hosts weekly markets in two locations, making it convenient for chefs to find quality ingredients. These markets are also excellent locations to get a dose of local culture by checking out live music and taking part in activities.

Most importantly, with the right veggies you can craft dishes that perfectly suit a June or July in Austin. This is the ideal time of year to pick up Texas-grown corn, tomatoes, zucchini, new potatoes, fava beans, chickpeas and cucumbers. There are also numerous types of produce you’re likely to find year-round, such as peppers, mushrooms, celery, collard greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips and cabbage.

Explore food festivals

The capital of Texas is home to festivals throughout the year, many spotlighting local food and drinks as well as music. The Austin Food and Wine Festival, held annually in late April, has emerged as the biggest food-centered event over the past several years. Nonetheless, the summer has plenty of popular gatherings full of awesome dishes as well.

Austinites and visitors can dig into a feast accompanied by the finest regional brews at the TX German Bier Festival, and they have the opportunity to sample the best birds in the state at the Fried Chicken Throwdown. Lovers of cheese sauce owe it to themselves to stop by the Quesoff, but fans of frozen treats shouldn’t miss the Austin Ice Cream Festival. Any fan of Texan cuisine knows the importance of spice, and the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival ensures that guests can try awesome local food with a selection of hundreds of piquant condiments.

Austin skylineSummer is an ideal time to find out what Austin’s culinary scene has to offer.

Stay cool in the kitchen

While you’re embracing all the culinary variety an Austin summer has to offer, remember to take care of yourself. It’s easy to get overheated on a warm afternoon, especially when you work around steaming ovens all day. Keep the temperature in your workspace under control, and drink plenty of water.

Kitchen workers need to take the occasional break to prevent overheating or dehydration, so step away from the stove as necessary. Eater pointed out that maintaining the supplies in a walk-in refrigerator is often a good way to beat the heat while staying productive.

The dry heat of Austin summers does little to slow down the excitement of the local food scene. Take advantage of these warm months to experiment with seasonal produce and try out some of the amazing dishes and beverages produced in the state capital.