The Austin Chronicle

Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck Fest Returns in May

By Wayne Alan Brenner, March 1, 2022, 2:10pm, On the Range

Hallelujah! Hot Luck Fest is officially back and returning to Austin on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29.


Founded by James Beard Award–winner Aaron Franklin, Guerilla Suit principal and Mohawk owner James Moody, and Mike Thelin, cofounder of Feast Portland, Hot Luck always manages to feel more like a family get-together and a backyard cookout than just another big music and food festival. And yet, tbh, it’s also a big music and food festival – designed by chefs for chefs, to gather culinary pros (and musicians!) from all over the country and beyond.

“Super stoked that we’re able to bring Hot Luck back this year,” says that indefatigible ‘cuemaster Franklin. “I’ve invited a whole lot of my homies to come down to Austin to cook. We’ve all been through a lot in the last year and a half, and it’s going to be fun to all get together and catch up – and help our friends at Southern Smoke, who continue to serve our industry unfailingly.”

Note: Before we go any further, please note that individual tickets and weekend passes for the four-day fest are on sale as of right now.

The Hot Luck weekend means fun food events by day, featuring some of the most talented chefs in the world making food and serving good times at beloved Austin-area venues. At night, the focus shifts to music as guests experience Austin nightlife with shows at some of the city’s most iconic clubs, including Mohawk and Antone’s. This year, Hot Luck welcomes Superchunk, Shannon and The Clams, DJ Jazzy Jeff with DJ Mel, Cam Cole, Joe Marcinek Band featuring The Meters' George Porter Jr., and more.

You can click that Hot Luck link for complete deets, of course; but this here’s a posting on the Chronicle’s Food Blog, right? So let’s focus on the attendant chefs:

The Giddy Up: Mohawk
They’re starting things off with a pizza party that’s second to none. Guests can expect to taste some of the best pies (among other things) gathered in one place, from chefs Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, AZ); Elias Cairo, Olympia Provisions (Portland, OR); Fermín Núñez, Suerte (Austin, TX); Fiore Tedesco, L'Oca d'Oro (Austin, TX); Joe Beddia, Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia, PA); Mike Diaz, Oseyo (Austin, TX); Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar (Houston, TX); and Reem Assil, Reem’s (Oakland, CA).

Hi, How Are You?: Franklin Barbecue
Get to know the best food from almost everywhere at this extravagant Eastside backyard get-together, with chefs Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX); Amanda Shulman, Her Place (Philadelphia, PA); Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, ME); Ashley Christensen, Poole's Diner (Raleigh, NC); Arlin Smith, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, ME); Chris Shepherd, Underbelly (Houston, TX); Erin Smith, Feges BBQ (Houston, TX); Jordan Rubin, Crispy Gai (Portland, ME); Kristine Kittrell, The Diner Bar (Austin, TX); Laura Sawicki, Mei Lin, Nightshade (Los Angeles, CA); Misti Norris, Petra and the Beast (Dallas, TX); Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ (Houston, TX); Shota Nakajima, Taku (Seattle, WA); Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Canje (Austin, TX); Todd Duplechan, Lenoir (Austin, TX); Tyson Cole, Uchi (Austin, TX).

Al Fuego: Wild Onion Ranch
What happens when the masters of flame and forge join forces on a Texas ranch to sacrifice sparks unto the heavens? The answer is Al Fuego, Hot Luck’s celebration of live-action, flame-fueled cooking styles – an obsessively imagined and passionately executed showcase of the most inspiring food on the planet. Featuring chefs Alon Shaya, Saba (New Orleans, LA); Amanda Rockman, South Congress Hotel (Austin, TX); Ashleigh Shanti, Good Hot Fish (Asheville, NC); Brad Leone, rad chef on the web (New York City, NY); Bradley Nicholson, Lutie’s (Austin, TX); Carlo Lamagna, Magna Kusina (Portland, OR); Casey Wilcox, Little Trouble (Lockhart, TX); Christopher Schaefer, Geraldine's (Austin, TX); Colin Yoshimoto, Eem (Portland, OR); Davis Turner, Huckleberry (Austin, TX); Dawn Burrell, Late August (Houston, TX); Diego Galicia + Rico Torres, Mixtli (San Antonio, TX); Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop (Dallas, TX); Earl Ninsom, Eem (Portland, OR); Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria (Austin, TX); Evan LeRoy, Leroy and Lewis Barbecue, (Austin, TX); Jakub Czyszczon, Garrison (Austin, TX); James Wilson, East Austin Hotel (Austin, TX); Jeremy Charles, Raymonds (St. Johns, CA); John Tesar, Knife (Dallas, TX); Jori Jayne, Jose Enrique, José Enrique (San Juan, PR); Jules Stoddart, Olamaie (Austin, TX); Kareem El-Ghayesh, KG BBQ (Austin, TX); Kevin Fink, Hestia (Austin, TX);  Maneet Chauhan, Chauhan Ale & Masala House (Nashville, TN); Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf (New Orleans, LA); Matt Horn, Horn Barbecue (Oakland, CA);  Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie (Austin, TX); Nicola Blaque, The Jerk Shack (San Antonio, TX); Ravi Kapur, Liholiho Yacht Club (San Francisco, CA); Rick Lopez, La Condesa (Austin, TX); Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde (Chicago, IL); Shane Stark, Mongers (Austin, TX); Shota Nakajima, Taku (Seattle, WA); Stuart Brioza, The Anchovy Bar (San Francisco, CA); Susana Querejazu, Lutie’s (Austin, TX); Todd Pulsenelli, Hotel Chloe (New Orleans, NY); Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, Birdie's (Austin, TX); Yoshi Okai, Otoko (Austin, TX); and Zak Pelaccio.

Okay, you got all that? Are you almost drowning in your own drool yet, citizen? Totes understandable, because there is nothing – nothing! – in this town that ever matches the breadth and depth of this sort of culinary talent, of this dedicated a food industry horde of perfection-obsessives and craftmasters. And, yeah, all that music stuff, too.

Note: If you’re not at least a little tempted by what’s going on here, you might wanna write in to our Luv Doc, ask him what the hell is wrong with you? If, on the other hand, your interest is piqued … well, here’s that link just one more time.

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