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Six Austin-area culinary innovators received funding for the AFWA’s 2016 grant program to help realize their dreams and further propel the city’s skyrocketing culinary scene.  Awarded for culinary innovation and community giveback, these winners received $27,500 total in grant awards for their projects.

Keep Austin Fed

Keep Austin Fed is a 100% volunteer-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that gathers wholesome and nutritious surplus food from restaurants and grocery stores and distributes it to area charities that serve hungry people in need. This impactful food program provides healthy and fresh food to 35 local non-profits, which each serve between 40 – 250 people. With donations from 15 donor restaurants and grocery stores, more than 200 volunteers and a budget this year that is less than $20,000, this astonishing organization rescues more than 50,000 pounds of food each month that was headed for the landfill, and feeds multitudes of hungry people in our community. This grant boosts the organization’s 2016 budget by 50% and will support hiring part-time staff to coordinate volunteers, help to feed our community and prevent greater food waste.


Miche Bread

A 2015 Honorable Mention for the Culinary Grant Awards, Miche Bread is the first and only community-supported bakeshop in Austin and provides organic, subscription-based breads made with heirloom grains milled in-house and leavened naturally. Owner Sandeep Gyawali’s goal is to continue to revitalize the local grain economy in Central Texas, by purchasing a universal mill to re-establish access and use of mesquite flour. Using locally foraged and native mesquite pods, Miche Bread will provide the first commercially available source of locally foraged mesquite flour in our area, re-introducing a native food of historical and current importance. The availability of mesquite flour will inspire chefs to begin working with a unique food and flavor that can be used in savory and sweet dishes as well as in drinkable products such as beer, liquers and kombucha, not to mention Sandeep’s amazing artisan breads.


La Flaca Urban Gardens

La Flaca Urban Garden’s mission is to transform underused urban spaces into beautiful, sustainable gardens and micro farms. Founder Alejandra Rodriguez Boughton’s goal is to grow food, not lawns by transforming spaces such as large backyards and school lawns into landscapes that feed our city. La Flaca grows hard-to-source produce such as rare herbs and heirloom vegetables in underused urban spaces for local restaurants and food artisans such as Olamaie, Dai Due and Emmer & Rye. The grant will be used to transform additional underused urban spaces into sustainable gardens and micro-farms in the Austin area, and for equipment purchases.


SRSLY Chocolate

As Austin’s only bean-to-bar chocolate shop, SRSLY Chocolate uses exceptional cacao stoneground in Austin to produce the smooth yet assertive chocolate. Owner Bob Williamson’s goal is to fund a stone mill cacao grinder that will increase his capacity by 50%, helping to grow his business, continue his innovative collaborations with local artisan producers and ultimately increase his farmers’ incomes in Central America and the Caribbean. His commitment to local ingredients and collaborations has led to innovative new flavors and partnerships with other local artisans. Williamson is also developing Chocolate Workshops that will teach Austin area students about science, history and entrepreneurship through the lens of chocolate.


The Austin Ed Fund

Austin’s school district has taken bold steps to bring scratch cooking to schools despite many school kitchens not having space or funding for needed equipment. This year, AISD Food Services has added 30 new scratch-cooking recipes introducing students to new cuisines, global flavors and fresh vegetable-based dishes. The Premiere Events Community Grant will fund hot plates to support the scratch-cooking approach at schools that still do not have this equipment. These hot plates can be moved and will be also used for cooking demos to further culinary education in local schools. The funds from this grant will potentially benefit thousands of students during the life of the equipment.



SPUN Ice Cream

Among the first in Austin to utilize liquid nitrogen to make ice cream flavors and artisan pairings with innovative twists and fresh, seasonal ingredients, locally grown SPUN Ice Cream now seeks to develop Austin’s first mobile liquid nitrogen science “lab” for schools and youth-focused nonprofits. SPUN’s transparent approach to making ice cream fresh to order with liquid nitrogen allows food and science lessons to come to life in an interactive, fun way. Owners Ashley and Christina Cheng hope to gain funding to purchase an ice cream truck to be used to support the business and to create the mobile science lab while working directly with science teachers to create more in-depth science curriculum.


LeRoy & Lewis

LeRoy & Lewis, a Texas barbecue joint and German brewpub, led by Chef and Pitmaster Evan LeRoy, is distinguished by its commitment to build a barbecue restaurant based on local sourcing and utilizing responsibly raised whole animals that will be broken down in-house. Non-traditional barbecue cuts like smoked strip loin, beef shanks, lamb ribs and more will populate the menu further enhancing the uniqueness and commitment to whole-animal utilization. LeRoy & Lewis is seeking funding for a mobile food truck to allow for catering and serve as a home base while the restaurant is under construction.