It’s about that time again, Texas. People from around the world are making the annual pilgrimage to Austin for what has become a yearly traffic jam known only as South by Southwest. But while the masses are clamoring around downtown, there’s a hidden gem hidden away from the hustle and bustle — The Luck Reunion, an exclusive daylong festival showcasing over 30 acts spanning country, rock, folk and soul on the iconic Luck, TX grounds on Friday, March 18.
This year, Chef Michel Nischan is welcoming an all-star lineup of celebrity chefs to Willie Nelson’s private ranch for the “Chefs’ Pot Luck” for an evening of merry melodies, delicious dishes and one wholesome experience the night before.
The Chef’s Pot Luck on March 17th serves as a kickoff for the Luck Reunion music festival with a Texas feast Nischan will be joined by an all-star lineup of celebrity chefs including the proclaimed “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” Dean Fearing, the James Beard Award-winning Scott Conant, Food Network star Michael Chiarello and longtime sustainable food trailblazer John Mitchell. Proceeds are going to Wholesome Wave, who has been changing the tides across the country by making healthy food options more accessible for families fighting poverty.
“Every American wants their kid to have a better life than they did, and really understands the value of being able to at least make an attempt to feed them well,” Nischan explained. “A lot of people were doubtful that by simply providing incentives — by creating 2-for-1 fruit and vegetable sales — that people would actually buy the fruits and vegetables because there was this assumption that people didn’t know what to do with them. And what we found was that when you go to these families who are basically rubbing two pennies together to keep their kids alive, and there’s a program like this that comes along that actually gives them an opportunity to improve that effort, they go after it with vigor.”
Their innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies in 37 states and counting. Partnering with over 90 community-based organizations at more than 550 farmers markets and dozens of communities — including Austin’s Sustainable Food Center — Wholesome Wave reaches more than 50,000 underserved consumers and their families, as well as thousands of farmers annually.
“The programs have been able to prove that consumers struggling with poverty care about the same things when it comes to food as affluent consumers do, and that there is this deep desire to feed their families well. It’s just simple — if they can’t afford it, they’re not going to do it.”
While crowds are clamouring for a chance to possibly get a glimpse of the action downtown, grab a date and head over to Willie’s ranch for an evening you won’t soon forget — amazing food and music performances without the chaos of SXSW.
The menu will highlight fresh, sustainable ingredients, including dishes such as “Willie’s Chili” by Nischan, Scott Conant’s fried chicken, Dean Fearing’s wood-grilled big hunks of meat with West Texas Mop, plus Campfire Cowboy Beans and cornbread pudding. Wholesome Wave is partnering with Fleisher’s Craft Butchery and Niman Ranch to source the evening’s ethically delicious meats and promote sustainability and supporting local communities. This issue may seem like a foreign concept, until you learn that right now 49 million Americans are struggling to put food on the table.
“If you go two miles with no transportation,” Nischan explained. “You pay a couple bucks to get there, you get to the grocery store and you find a head of broccoli that’s two dollars and an eight-pack of instant noodles that’s $1.49, guess what’s going on the dinner table for the kids tonight — it’s not a quarter head of broccoli. It’s really powerful to see that just by leveling the price playing field for healthier foods, people buy it and they put it on the table.”
If the amazing food and supporting a major cause isn’t enough to entice you, the evening will be capped off with a moonlit performance from Willie Nelson himself to support Nischan and Wholesome Wave as they work to make healthy food accessible to millions of Americans. Tickets are still available here, so hurry before you miss a chance to rub elbows with a Texas legend.
As of today, tickets have completely sold out! Don’t say we told you so, but…we told you so. But fear not, you can follow the action and see how this really impacts Wholesome Wave by checking out their Facebook page. Tell em we sent you.