Ideas worth sharing can sometimes be communicated powerfully through an interactive experience. Sometimes you need to touch, smell, taste or talk to an idea before you can absorb the science, technology or craft that goes into it. The TEDxAustin XLab is a playground carefully curated to share even more of what’s going on in Austin this year. We present to you the Chefs, Artists, Designers, Doers and Makers of this incredibly talented town in which we live and thrive. Our thanks and respect to all our participants. Enjoy!
BARNES & NOBLE
Barnes & Noble is hosting a literary installation
furnished with a selection of works curated by
our speakers and the TEDxAustin team. The collection
includes works from innovative and creative
minds around the world and around the corner.
BUILD A BETTER BLOCK
The “Better Block” project is a demonstration
tool that acts as a living charrette where
communities can actively engage in the buildout
process and provide feedback in real time.
Austin is a town full of food-forward, health aware, locally conscious consumers who above all enjoy breaking bread with friends and family. Our figurative cup literally brims to the rim with culinary talent. So much so that we could not give you just one acclaimed chef this afternoon; we are giving you 6. That’s why we’re expanding xLab to include your mid-day meal, which we are affectionately referring to as xLunch. In partnership with Whole Foods Market and our favorite local food friends, we invited these 6 chefs to design a menu in their distinct styles from a list of the same ingredients. While you will all be enjoying the best, locally-sourced meats, dairy and produce, each will be prepared for you at the discretion of your chef. Your meals are lovingly served by the volunteer staff from Natural Epicurean. We thank all of the participants in today’s lunch Xperiment! Bon Apetite!
Swift’s Attic: Mat Clouser, Zack Northcutt, Callie Speer
A native Texan and a longtime Austin resident, Swift’s Attic’s Mat Clouser describes himself as being a “bit of a corsair water-dog.” As any Jolly Old Roger will tell you, Mat says “it isn’t so much the style of the blade, but more the skill in the wielding.” The food at Swift’s Attic is wholly drawn from this sentiment, with as wide an array of tastes and flavors as its itinerant jack-tar chef.
Mat Clouser, Zack Northcutt, Callie Speer ( Mat Clouser took the one of himself with the knife, and C.K. Chin took the gang shot) @SwiftsAttic @SwiftsBlade
Uchiko: Philip Speer
Philip Speer of Uchiko is famous for his ability to combine seasonal ingredients with an infinite array of seafood from around the globe for an experience that pushes diners’ gastronomic boundaries. But when we asked him if he had any food secrets, he kept it simple. “I’ll put eggs on anything,” he said. “And I challenge you to name one thing peanuts don’t go with.” You hear that, TEDsters? You’ve been challenged. Get peanutting.
Uchiko: Philip Speer photo (gray background: Jennie Chen) (red/brown background by Rebecca Fondren) @UchikoAustin @PhilipSpeer
BC Tavern / Wink: Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor of BC Tavern / Wink believes in simplicity. “Cook with fewer ingredients,” he says. “Just make them the right ones.” The menu at his restaurant is American at heart, finding its roots in Southern tradition and hospitality. Ingredients are drawn from the region, with the mentality that there’s nothing better than seeing, touching, smelling and tasting food that’s locally grown. It’s comfort food. Done well.
Matt Taylor photo by Jennie Chen @BCTavern @WinkRestaurant
Carillon at the AT&T Executive Center: Josh Watkins
You probably know Josh Watkins from the sophisticated fare on offer at the Carillion, where he’s lead the push for farm fresh, ingredient-driven menus since 2008. But he’s got a secret. “I love Cheez-Its,” he says. “The plain ones. I’m a junk food purist.” Still, when he’s cooking for others, it’s the produce that inspires him. He knows that Austinites are educated diners, and that sourcing is key. True. But we’ll admit, we love our Cheez-Its too.
Josh Watkins photo by John M. P. Knox @CarillonAustin @ChefJoshWatkins
Lenoir Austin: Todd Duplechan, Jessica Maher
Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher named their restaurant, Lenoir, after a French black grape varietal that’s as adaptable as adaptable as they are. But we think it’s their take on how to eat popcorn that showcases their mentality best of all. Says Todd: “I season my popcorn with salt, pepper and Tobasco, and I eat it with chopsticks. I learned from my dad, and now my wife is doing it too. You don’t get oil on your hands, and it makes it last half an hour into the movie.” Now that’s adaptability.
Todd Duplechan, Jessica Maher photo by Jennie Chen @Lenoir_Austin
Fino/ Asti: Jason Donoho
Cozy, yet modern. Mediterranean, Spanish, Greek, and North African. These are just a few words that describe Fino, located in Central Austin. Executive chef, Jason Donoho, has worked all over the map. He goes for taste not extremity, shirking the temptation to throw together crazy ingredients. But what deep, dark secret has this bacon loving artiste been hiding from us? “I used to be a vegetarian,” he says, and then adds quickly, “But not anymore.”
Jason Donoho photo by Jody Horton @Fino_Austin @ASTI_Trattoria
Easy Tiger: David Norman
Is there any better combination than bread and beer? David Norman, whose pedigree includes head-baking positions at Grand Central bakery, TriBakery, Ecce Panis and Blouley Bakery, is an artisan baker, a true master of his craft. From French country levain to German pretzels and everything in between, Easy Tiger showcases yeasty goodness in its every form.
Does Whole Foods need any introduction? Manna for the health conscious, thought leader for the eco-friendly, Whole Foods is a model of a company that can do good and do well while speaking from the heart. Their Health Starts Here Initiative encourages consumption of the purest, most nutrient dense diet, built on plants and healthy fats. Even better: Healthy Eating Specialists are ready and waiting at your local store to help you get on the right track. Just their way of being their motto: Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet.
Have you ever tried that diet that bans all grains? How about the liquid diet, the raw diet, or that one where you’re only allowed to eat reconstituted vegetables at sunset and dawn? (Okay, we made that last one up). The folks at Natural Epicurean don’t believe in diets. They embrace a holistic view of health that takes physical, energetic, mental, emotional, societal and environmental influences into consideration. A fresh, natural food diet isn’t the core of health, it bolsters it in all of its forms. Just a non-dogmatic approach for very nice (and healthy!) people.