Food Transformers: Reimagining Food Traditions
Saturday, March 12
9:30AM - 10:30AM
604 Brazos St
Three nationally-acclaimed, dynamic chefs share their inspiration for how they have transformed time-honored food traditions into hot tastes for today’s palates. Food writer and culinary network star Virginia Willis transforms classic-but-heavy southern recipes into healthful and wholesome by re-imagining ingredients while keeping Southern charm and appeal. Austin chef / DJ, Tatsu Aikawa (co-owner of Ramen Tatsu-Ya) infuses time-honored ramen-making techniques into a mash-up of inventive ramen dishes. Chef Michael Fojtasek (co-owner of Olamaie, Eater National's 21 Best New Restaurants) transforms five generations of Southern cooking traditions into Modern Southern Cuisine.
Marla Camp is an award-winning journalist and the owner and publisher of Edible Austin, a bi-monthly print and online magazine, which connects readers to the local food culture and food producers i...Show the rest
Marla Camp is an award-winning journalist and the owner and publisher of Edible Austin, a bi-monthly print and online magazine, which connects readers to the local food culture and food producers in Central Texas and helps transform the way we think about food. In 2009, Marla was appointed Chair of the Sustainable Food Policy Board for the City of Austin and Travis County, which she helped found. She is also currently a faculty member in the Journalism School at The University of Texas. http://www.edibleaustin.comHide the rest
Michael Fojtasek began his culinary career at FINO Restaurant in Austin. Shortly after walking into the FINO kitchen, Michael realized he wanted to spend the rest of his life working in restaurants...Show the rest
Michael Fojtasek began his culinary career at FINO Restaurant in Austin. Shortly after walking into the FINO kitchen, Michael realized he wanted to spend the rest of his life working in restaurants. Michael quickly worked his way from stagiaire to prep cook and then to line cook. After a culinary trip to some of New York’s finest dining establishments with Kent Rathbun, Michael was offered a position at Rathbun’s Dallas restaurant, Abacus.
After landing a job working in the Per Se kitchen for one night only, Chef Jonathan Benno offered him the chance to spend his externship working with the Per Se team. At the end of his externship, Michael was extended an open opportunity to work at Per Se for Chef Benno.
Michael returned to Northern California to finish culinary school. His experience at Per Se provided an opportunity to work at The French Laundry for a short time before school began again. After his final semester, Michael moved back to New York City to work at Chef Benno’s Italian restaurant in New York City, Lincoln Ristorante. Working the pasta station at Lincoln taught him what it takes to be a line cook in New York at the top.
In late 2011, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, of Animal and Son of a Gun in Los Angeles, caught Michael’s attention. He moved across the country to work at Son of a Gun. His culinary skill, dedication to the restaurant, and bi-weekly trips to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market earned him a sous chef position.
Michael opened Olamaie in August 2014 together with Co-Executive Chef Grae Nonas. Olamaie brings the taste of the South with a new modern spin to downtown Austin with seasonal dishes and farm-to-table ingredients. Since opening, Olamaie and Chef Fojtasek have received numerous accolades including being named as a 2015 James Beard Awards semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant,” and 2015 Food & Wine Magazine “Best New Chefs.”Hide the rest
Tatsu Aikawa is a Tokyo-born, Austin-raised chef specializing in Japanese food. He is the owner and restauranteur of Ramen Tatsu-Ya, authentic ramen shops, with two locations in Austin.
Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises
Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked Lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton, catered a bowling party for Jane Fonda, and harvested c...Show the rest
Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked Lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton, catered a bowling party for Jane Fonda, and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily -- but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.
She's currently in development with WGBH for a series titled Secrets of the Southern Table to air nationally on public television. As a popular Southern food authority and writer, she is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y'all, and Lighten Up, Y'all, among others. Named by the Chicago Tribune as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know,” her fans love her knack for giving classic French dishes a down-home comfort feel and reimagining Southern favorites.
Virginia writes for Southern Living, Eating Well, Fine Cooking, and All-Recipes. She has been featured in Country Living, House Beautiful, and USA Today. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at www.virginiawillis.comHide the rest