The Austin Chronicle

Texas Wine Revolution Pairs Texas Chefs With Wines, Auctions

By A. Richmond, February 3, 2023, 10:00am, On the Range

The nonprofit org Texas Wine Revolution will hold its second annual Texas Wine Auction on April 29 at Fredericksburg’s outdoorsy-but-elegant Vista Oaks Event Center.

Tickets for the event will grant attendees access to an evening featuring food made by Texas-based chefs; Texas wines; auctions, both silent and live; and new this year, an element of competition: Guests can vote to select the best bites and pairings of the progressive noshing-and-sipping event. What seems like a night of pure indulgence will also help raise money for Texas hospitality workers. And there is nothing better for fundraising than wine paired with a live auction.

The chefs are Angie Ragan of Lubbock, Amber Rebold of Austin, Roshni Gurnani of Houston, Matt Church of Fredericksburg, Krystyna Cibelli-Pettus of Austin, and Mike Hall of Fredericksburg. Each chef will be paired with a Texas-based wine to use as they see fit to compliment their dish.

What the chefs will cook, or which wine they will be given to use, is still unknown to them. Displaying nothing but calm confidence, participating chef Amber Rebold chirped “No!” when asked if she’d tasted the wine she’d be working with yet. Did she know what ingredients she’ll be working with that day? Also no. And she’s not worried.

“I don’t know what’s available, but I’m prepared to go into it blind. I think that’s what someone who loves cooking does, they take what they have and make something beautiful with it. I cook with wine quite a bit, both red and white. My neighbor’s a sommelier, and she constantly gives me bottles to cook with. And luckily I was on a TV cooking show with an elimination episode with wine, which I won. I’m used to TV competitions, so I’ve been thinking of it that way. Maybe I’m making it harder than it needs to be?” she laughs.

Chef Rebold appeared on Next Level Chef, which features a multi-level set with a moving platform. The show was inspired by The Platform, a Spanish horror movie, in which prisoners housed in vertical cells are forced to grab food off a moving platform, leading to a world in which those on lower levels starve. According to Rebold, chef Gordon Ramsay saw the film in a hotel room and, with producers, converted it into a competitive cooking show. Teams were made up of professional line cooks, home chefs, and chefs with social media followings (prompting Ramsay to ask a contestant, “What the f-k is Twitch?”).

Rebold said the show’s environment was anything but cutthroat, and she has formed tight bonds with her cooking castmates. She’s teamed up with her Next Level Chef castmates Angie Ragan and Jonathan Harrison for several pop-ups across the United States. In 2022 at the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana, Rebold and Harrison made spring rolls with nasturtium, asparagus salad with parmesan, herbs and toasted pecans, coconut carrot soup, honey turmeric chicken with Mumbai masala roasted potatoes and cucumber raita, braised spring lamb with spring vegetable risotto, balsamic strawberry shortcake with basil whipped cream and hibiscus ginger sparking granita. (Harrison won’t be cooking at the TWA.)

The Texas Wine Auction was developed to harness the power of Texas wineries and winemakers for two functions: to jointly raise funds to provide basic wellness and preventative care services for Texas hospitality workers and to promote research and development through Texas A&M programs to enhance Texas’ wine industry, which contributed more than $20 billion to the U.S. economy in 2022.

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