The Dish with Deah: Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival dishes up tasty news

Deah Berry Mitchell | Fort Worth Report

While Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival season isn’t quite here, significant changes are in store for North Texas epicureans this year, including two exclusive seated dinners — a festival favorite, now moving into late fall. 

Also on slate? News of two chefs ushering in restaurant openings and a bigger culinary education conference than ever before. 

It’s hard to believe it’s been just six months since Fort Worth welcomed a host of local and North Texas food and beverage industry leaders to the annual event, which showcases gastronomic talents over four magnificent food-filled days. But after learning of several updates since then, we thought we’d do a midpoint check-in to see what’s cooking with past chefs and what’s in store over the next few months from organizers and upcoming participants. 

Chef Tiffany Derry, television star and busy restaurateur, made her first Fort Worth appearance (professionally) at the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival during its March 30 kickoff event, Noche del Sol,  in which she collaborated with highly respected local chef Juan Rodriguez, owner of Magdalena’s in Fort Worth.

Recently, Derry announced plans to open a highly anticipated Italian restaurant based on the same premise as her menu in March — an ode to her Southern Roots — this time paying homage to her T2D Concepts partner, Tom Foley’s familial Italian cuisine. 

Make no mistake, although the Food Network star honors her lineage in each of her food establishments, the acclaimed chef also has experience that reaches across a number of cultures, including Italian. Radici (Italian for “roots”) is tentatively planned to open late 2023 and no doubt will woo diners with the successful recipe that earned Derry several nods. Authentic food? Check. Talented team? Check. And, of course, quality local ingredients. 

Rodriguez and his wife, Paige, also announced plans for their first permanent restaurant, La Coqueta, and he promises diners will be “tempted by the tantalizing tastes of Mexico and Spain” as well as craft cocktails. Rodriguez will curate an exciting menu that ranges from tapas (small plates) and croquettes, designed for sharing, to tortillitas de camarones (shrimp fritters) and paella. The family-owned restaurant is slated to open in Fort Worth’s Northside, at 1216 N. Main St. And the chef’s acclaimed supper club, Magdalena’s, 502 Grand Ave., remains a hot ticket. See magdalenastx.com for more details on the monthly, themed multi-course prefix menu, including one Sept. 28-29, featuring a preview of tastes from the La Coqueta menu.

Rounding out our list of temptations is the Far Out Feast, which will kick off the 2023-24 Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival foundation event season, on Nov. 8. Featuring powerhouse chef team Felipe Armenta and Graham Elliot of FAR Out Hospitality, the four-course dinner for 150 guests will be hosted at the Fort Worth Club to celebrate the culinary mastery of four FAR Out Hospitality concepts: Maria’s, Le Margot, F1 Smokehouse and Cowboy Prime. Alexander Vineyards wine pairings will complement the dining experience. 

Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival’s expanded annual programming (more announcements coming soon) promises discerning gourmands more opportunities to savor the creations of top-tier chefs while supporting a worthy cause: the nonprofit organization raises funds for local grant programs and culinary scholarships. To date, the foundation has raised more than $325,000 for grants and scholarships supporting deserving culinary students from Fort Worth.