Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation celebrates a decade of serving up food and fun for a cause

Deborah Ferguson | NBC DFW

Food, fun, and a glass of wine adds up to something good that’s been going strong in Fort Worth for a decade now.

Russell Kirkpatrick co-founded the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival in 2014, and he was honored for his vision at a special dinner last weekend. The festival was the brainchild of Kirkpatrick and longtime Reata colleague Mike Micallef who wanted to do something to celebrate the city’s culinary scene.

“This city is so amazing. The culinary landscape has changed so much in the last decade, and it’s about to launch. We’re not just a meat and potatoes town anymore,” Kirkpatrick said to hundreds who paid for a seat at the table at an event called Beyond Borders.

Three famed Texas chefs took guests on a culinary journey that also served as a fundraiser for the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation. James Beard recognized chefs Tom Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Dallas native Michael Fojtasek from Olamaie in Austin and Rodrigo Cárdenas, executive chef of Don Artemio Mexican Heritage in Fort Worth served up a cross-cultural dining experience.

The foundation works to promote national and regional attention to the Fort Worth scene, assist and sustain chefs, restaurants, and the local ranching and farming communities to raise funds for local grant programs and culinary scholarships; to elevate the skills and culinary knowledge of the general consumer; and to provide internship experiences for those interested in pursuing a career in public relations or marketing.

In its ten years, the nonprofit has raised more than $325,000 for grants and scholarships supporting deserving culinary students from Fort Worth, helped more than 225 local chefs with financial support during hardships, supported more than 20 students with scholarships, and helped showcase more than 1,100 food and beverage festival participants annually.

It has also launched the annual chef stipend program in 2023 to ensure wide range of diverse local talent came to the table to participate, hosted more than 700 students at a career conference and saved more than 7,000 pounds of recyclables from going into the landfill

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The next big fundraiser is the annual Food + Wine Festival in April. Find information about the schedule and tickets here.