Austin Entertains by Rekha Akella
On Feb. 22, 2018, The Junior League of Austin hosted Austin Entertains, a culinary experience featuring some of Austin’s hippest female chefs and bartenders from some of the hottest restaurants in Austin. While still a new spring event, Austin Entertains has already proven to be extremely popular. This year’s sold-out experience at Fair Market featured three bartenders, 13 savory chefs, and six pastry chefs. Guests also danced the night away to a live music showcase featuring Southtown.
the League. We couldn’t do Austin Entertains without them.” The League is exceedingly grateful to the chefs for their contributions. The large venue space called for plenty of decorations. “Fair Market is such a blank canvas, and we needed to fill a lot of space,” Decorations Co-Chair Cobb said. “It was a fun challenge to come up with a complete design concept for a space like Fair Market.” The stunning decor for the event, such as gorgeous flower centerpieces and lights hanging from the ceiling, helped set the mood for the evening.
Planning for Austin Entertains began several months before the event. “The chef selection that Sarah Covey [a logistics cochair on the Spring Events Committee] was able to get was very impressive -- such a high level of talented chefs,” JLA’s Spring Events Chair, Julie Hildebrand said.
At 6 p.m., before the main event, VIP ticket holders were able to attend a special cocktail reception and enjoy early access to the tastings. The main event began at 7 p.m. and featured Southtown’s performance. Additionally, the League held a silent auction, where guests could bid on exciting experiences such as surfing at NLand Surf Park and a Dulce Vita tequila party for 50 people. Most importantly, the main event featured dozens of delicious food items and drinks from several different restaurants for the attendees to try, all in the Fair Market.
Austin Entertains featured solely women chefs and bartenders. The participating chefs shared the League’s passion in participating in an event that promoted women and Austin. “It was important for us to support and celebrate female chefs,” Hildebrand said.
Even though the event consisted of only female chefs, both men and women enjoyed the festivities. “I loved that the event was put on by women The food certainly did not disappoint. supporting women and that there From peanut butter crunch cake served Kaycee Braden of Sonya Cote's Eden East and Hillside Farmacy were also lots of men in attendance. by Courtney Franke from Salt Traders to The atmosphere was totally Austin!” Spring Events Sustainer salmon mousse created by Sarah McIntosh from Epicerie to Advisor Cathy Northcutt said. freshly made pizza tossed on an outdoor oven by Cheyne Maclaskey from Dimebox Ballroom, there was something to “Totally Austin” truly described Austin Entertains because satisfy everyone’s cravings. all the chefs came exclusively from Austin-area restaurants. While similar events from other organizations often have “The food was amazing. I’m pretty sure that I hit up some of the chefs come in from bigger cities such as Dallas or Houston, booths more than once,” League member Amber Myers said. the League strove to promote only local chefs, as the League is dedicated to serving the Austin community. Many women who attended the first Austin Entertains last “The opportunity to try a wide variety of small dishes from year were excited to repeat the fun again this year. local female chefs was the best part of the event!” League member Elizabeth Han said. “After attending last year’s Austin Entertains, I knew I had to go again this year," Sheridan Butler said. "It’s a great event Additionally, it must be noted that all the incredibly that empowers Austin women and the perfect opportunity talented chefs and bartenders generously donated to spend time with my favorite JLA friends. It’s also perfect their time and tasty food and drinks to the event. Since for meeting new Junior Leaguers." 100% of the proceeds raised from Austin Entertains go toward supporting League programs such as Food In Overall, Austin Entertains lived up to its name and provided Tummies (FIT), Coats for Kids, and the League’s non-profit guests with an evening of delectable bites, enticing drinks, community partners, this donation was invaluable and great music and fun games, all to be enjoyed while supporting highly appreciated. “This year, we wanted to make sure we women, Austin, and charity in the company of great friends. promoted the League’s programs and community partners. While only in its second year, it is clear that Austin Entertains We wanted to focus on community impact,“ Hildebrand will be a highly popular event for years to come. said. “By donating their time and food, they’re giving toward Spring 2018