Austin Heats Up in the LiveFire Challenge

Austin Heats Things Up

Photographs by Kevin Curtis ©2014


Austin Food and Wine Alliance Presents: LiveFire Challenge!

23 Chefs Battle the Flames at Salt Lick BBQ Pavilion
40 Wine, Spirit & Craft Brew Selections Featured


AUSTIN, TX – The Austin Food and Wine Alliance

In its fourth year, the event is held at the famed Salt Lick Bar-B-Que Pavilion in the Texas Hill Country on Thursday, April 17, 6:30 – 9 pm, raising funds for culinary grants.


Last year was the 1st year ATOD Magazine™ attended the LiveFire! Challenge and we were honored to be invited back. This year, our Editor sent in our brilliant Austin #Photojournalist, Kevin Curtis to give readers a visual taste of everything that gets cooked up at the illustrious Salt Lick BBQ (an Austin MUST). We are thrilled to tempt you with the culinary spectrum showcased at this year’s LiveFire! Challenge.


People don’t live in Austin to work, they work to live there.


– Robert Rodriguez



Kevin Curtis’ Top 3 Picks:


1. Jesse Perez of Arcade Midtown Kitchen (San Antonio)

2. Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ (Austin)

3. Callie Spear of Swift’s Attic (Austin)


“Live Fire! is truly one of the country’s foremost celebrations of beef,” said Paul Barnes, president of the Austin Food and Wine Alliance. “In addition to having a supreme lineup of chef mastery and amazing wine, artisan spirits and craft brews, we’re excited that the funds raised will directly benefit our community with culinary grants for chefs, farmers, artisan producers and non-profits.”

Local singer-songwriter Leo Rondeau brings his signature brand of energized country music to the unique Air Stream stage featured at this year’s Live Fire! One year after becoming a full-time musician, Rondeau was named Singer Songwriter of the Year by the Academy of Texas Music in 2010.

The menu for Live Fire! promises the best in beef skillfulness from Mongolian Beef Jerky, Spicy Mexican Beef Stew and Beef Taquitos with Ribeye to off-the-charts Brisket and Short Ribs. Chef specialties include:


Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue (Austin)

Named the best barbecue in the U.S. by Bon Appétit Magazine, Franklin will make his fourth appearance at Live Fire! and attendees will be treated to his famed Beef Plate with Ribs & Smoked Pimiento Cheese.



Matt McCallister of FT33 (Dallas)

Recently named among Food & Wine magazine’s Top 10 Best New Chefs, McCallister makes his first appearance at Live Fire! with Beef Morcilla, Tallow Fried Potatoes with Smoked Beef Fat Aioli and Pickled Wild Onion Puree.

FT33_Beef_Morcilla FT33_Beef_Morcilla_Plate

Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants (San Antonio)

One of the original chefs to participate in this event, along with every signature Alliance event since the organization began, Dady makes his fourth appearance at Live Fire! and will prepare New York Strip Tiger Cry Salad with Fresh Red Curry Paste, Cucumber, Mint and Red Boat Fish Sauce.


Timothy Rattray of The Granary ‘Cue and Brew (San Antonio)

With Esquire magazine citing Rattray as the “future of BBQ,” The Granary is being recognized among the best barbecue restaurants in the state. Rattray will feature Smoke-Grilled Beef Cheeks, Plantain and Chimichurri.


Rene Ortiz & Laura Sawicki of Angry Bear (Austin)

Introducing their newest culinary venture, Ortiz and Sawicki will debut Angry Bear at Live Fire! with
Tien Tsing Beef & Tofu with Yellow Rock Sugar and Daikon Numbing Salt.


Ronnie Killen of Killen’s Barbecue (Pearland)

One of the Houston-area’s most anticipated openings, Killen’s Barbecue opened in February with continuous long lines attesting to the popularity of its brisket. Live Fire! attendees will get to sample Killen’s Beef Ribs & Brisket.

Killen_Plate Killen_Beef


Jesse Perez of Arcade Midtown Kitchen (San Antonio)

One of San Antonio’s most acclaimed chefs, Perez will serve Toasted Chile and Garlic Skirt Steak with Jalapeno Jelly, Cherry Tomato Relish and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Jesse_Perez_Plate Jesse_Perez_BBQ

Josh Watkins of The Carillon (Austin)

Watkins and his award-winning team will wow Live Fire! crowds with Sugar Cane-Skewered Beef Tongue, Jalapeno Chutney, Fish Sauce Laquer, Black Garlic BBQ & Thai Basil.


Rick Lopez of La Condesa (Austin)

From Austin favorite La Condesa, Lopez will feature Beef Taquitos with Ribeye, Carrot Top Chimichurri served with Bacon Fat Tortillas.


Kendall Melton of Contigo (Austin)

Contigo Austin returns to Live Fire! with Buckwheat Biscuit, Charred Lardo Marshmallow and Texas Blackberries.



Lawrence Kocurek of Trace (Austin)

A proponent of using all local ingredients when available, Kocurek will create Beef Tongue & Sweetbread Skewers with Pickled Vegetables.


Brandon Fuller of Café Josie (Austin)

For the first time at Live Fire!, the popular Café Josie will be represented and serve Braised Short Rib and Sweet Potato with Chili Aioli.



Kristine Kittrell of WeatherUp (Austin)

A favorite at Live Fire! Kittrell will prepare Beef Torchon with Escargot and Grilled Green Garlic Butter.


Ben Runkle, Bryan Butler and Josh Jones of Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria (Austin)

An Austin Food & Wine Alliance 2013 Grant Winner, Salt & Time will present Premium Rotisserie Cuts.


Mari Soto and Mark Morales of Whole Foods Market (Austin)

Whole Foods Market chefs will feature Roasted Bone Marrow with Sriracha Vinaigrette and Mongolian Beef Jerky.

Whole_Foods_Bone_Marrow Whole_Foods_Bone_Marrow_Group

Scott Roberts of Salt Lick Bar-B-Que (Driftwood)

Cookbook author and famed owner of the Salt Lick, Roberts will share his celebrated Moist Brisket served on Fresh-patted Flour Tortillas roasted over the Brisket Fire.


Salt_Lick_Tortillas Salt_Lick_Action

Jeff Martinez of El Chile Café y Cantina (Austin)

From Austin’s favorite, El Chile, Martinez will prepare Mole de Res with Charred Jalapenos and Epazote.


Monica Glenn of Qui (Austin)

From one of the nation’s most celebrated restaurants, Glenn will create Champurrado (chocolate-based drink) with Chocolate Mousse, Coconut Rice Pudding and Charred Orange Peel.



Callie Speer of Swift’s Attic (Austin)

Acclaimed pastry chef Speer will present Banana Cream, Malted Chocolate Stout, Hazelnut Beer Brittle and Banana Bubbles.



Hops and Grain ALTeration

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About LiveFire!

Live Fire! is a fundraising benefit for the Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA), Central Texas’ newest culinary nonprofit, which is dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas food and beverage community. AFWA gives back to the local culinary community through a vibrant grant program for chefs, farmers, artisan producers and nonprofits by funding projects focused on culinary innovation.



The AFWA hosts engaging culinary events throughout the year to raise funds for the grants, the nation’s first grant program based on culinary innovation. Since 2012, the AFWA awarded $45,000 in grants to fund local culinary projects that give back to the community.

The AFWA enjoys tremendous community support with Whole Foods Market® as presenting sponsor and other key supporters including the Austin Food & Wine Festival, Texas Beef Council, Texas Monthly, AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, Greenling, Twin Liquors, Republic National Distributing Company, Glazer’s, ABC Bank, FreshPoint, Terlato International, Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon, CultureMap Austin, Giant Noise, Max Photography, Freeman, Premiere Tents & Events, Butler Wood, Texas Tea, Hess Family Collection, Balcones Resources, Rolling Fete, CFO By Design and Field Branding & Design.

Austin Creatives Designs by Kevin Curtis

Austin Creatives Designs by Kevin Curtis

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