The Annual Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival Tranforms Into a More Intimate, Chef-Driven Event for 2021
ÖOne of the first events in Fort Worth, which fell victim to the mass outages of the pandemic in 2020, is changing this year. The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival (FWFWF) usually hosts a full-scale feeding frenzy in multiple locations that spans an entire weekend of festivities. Given the ongoing uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and the state of the restaurant industry, the FWFWF Board of Directors decided not to host a Festival 2021 that had previously been considered for April 8-11, 2021.
Instead, the organization will focus on showcasing what they call Forty in the ‘Fork’, a collaborative dinner series with 40 local chefs teaming up to present 20 special pop-up dinners.
This intermediate format will be a series of small, specialty dinner events that highlight local culinary talent while also raising funds to support the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation’s ongoing mission to educate and train the next generation through scholarships and grants. In 2020 and 2021, this mission was expanded to include the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which to date has provided more than $ 110,000 for ailing local service staff.
Braised leg of Colorado lamb wrapped in saffron-scented crepes by Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Foods, who will bring her talents to forty this yera on the fork.
All forty at the ‘Fork Dinner will take place on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday evening between February 28 and April 13, 2021. These take place in the former Twigs American Bistro space in The Shops at Clearfork, and each event will be limited to 50 guests. Using the huge 8,896 square feet of space will allow for a lot of social distancing. Each event remains below 20 percent seating capacity.
Tickets for all 20 Forty at the ‘Fork dinners are available now at FWFWF.com for $ 70 per person, with a new surprise.
While tickets can be purchased for a specific date, the identities of the chefs presented in the evening will only be revealed on site at this dinner. However, the multi-course menu will be announced the week before the event so that attendees have time to purchase their own wine selection. Wine pairing suggestions are provided by Chris Keel, owner of Put A Cork In It, and Richard King, co-owner of Ellerbe Fine Foods.
40 at the ‘Fork will present chefs like Christian Lehrmann from Tinie’s Mexican cuisine. Here are his daily empanadas.
The list of chefs attending Forty at the Fork is growing by almost two every day
Dozen confirmed so far, including:
• Jon Bonnell, Bonnell’s restaurant group
• Cindy Crowder, Tributary Café
• Graham Dodd, Elm & Good
• Steve Estes, brewed
• Rena Frost, Mac am Main
• James Gaines, Reata Restaurant
• Paco Islas, Paco’s Mexican cuisine
• Christian Lehrmann, Tinie’s Mexican cuisine
• Tim Love, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
• Chris Magallanes, BBQ in Panther City
• Kevin Martinez, Tokyo Café
• Molly McCook, Ellerbe Fine Foods
• Ben Merritt, Fixture – Kitchen and Social Lounge and Ben’s Triple B.
• Marcus Paslay, Scratch Hospitality
• Tuan Pham, four sisters – A taste of Vietnam
• Stefon Rishel, Wishbone & Flynt
• Juan Rodriguez, Magdelena
• Trevor Sales, Brix Barbecue
• Blaine Staniford, Grace
• Michael Thomson, Michaels Cuisine
• Donatella Trotti, grandmother Tata
• Laurie Williamson, Black Cur Steak
Miso marinated Pacific cod by Kevin Martinez – a talented participant in Forty at the ‘Fork – at the Tokyo Café.
Forty at the ‘Fork will also host some interesting culinary collaborations. Local brands that will be included in the events include: FunkyTown Donuts, Grounds & Gold Coffee, Hao & Dixya, Icon Bread, JOY Macarons, MELT-Eis, Rahr Brewing, Martin House Brewing Company, Pearl Snap Kolaches, The Table , Sweet Lucy’s Pies, Gold Ribbon Confections, TX Whiskey and Stir Up Crazy Baked Goods.
“The purpose of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation is to celebrate local culinary talent today while protecting it for tomorrow,” said Julie Eastman, executive director of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation. “Forty at the Fork is an opportunity for FWFWF to introduce 40 incredibly talented chefs as well as many local business owners who have worked tirelessly despite the current challenges in the industry while continuing to expand our scholarship offerings and fellowships.”
The Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation plans to do another small activation next fall, October 2021, and then return to their weekend-long Food and Wine Festival format in April 2022.