Massive new food festival brings national culinary stars to Houston

A massive new food festival is coming to Houston this summer. The eyes of the culinary world will be on Houston from August 21-September 5 when Commune takes over the Heights House Hotel.

Organized by the Indie Chefs Community, a Texas-based group known for its multi-course collaboration dinners that showcase up-and-coming culinary talent, Commune will bring over 200 chefs to Houston for a series of pop-ups, dinners, and other happenings. The preliminary roster includes Food & Wine Best New Chefs, James Beard Award winners, former Top Chef contestants, and more. Overall, 45-percent self-identify as female and 40-percent self-identify as BIPOC. Some of the expected participants include:

  • Kim Alter, Nightbird Restaurant, San Francisco

  • Trigg Brown, Win Son, Brooklyn, New York

  • Mason Hereford, Turkey & the Wolf, New Orleans

  • Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco

  • Misti Norris, Petra & the Beast, Dallas

  • Philip Speer, Comedor, Austin

  • Ryan Lachaine, Riel, Houston

  • Justin Yu, Theodore Rex, Houston

  • Claudette Zepeda, VAGA Restaurant, Encinitas, California

Diners can expect a mix of intimate omakase meals, collaborative dinners, classes, panel discussions, and street market-style stands. Some of the events include: 

  • NoLa La Land: For the first time ever, two Bon Appetit Hot List first place restaurants, Konbi and Turkey & the Wolf, are serving sandwiches together. 

  • Zoe Kanan & Libby Willis’ Jewish deli: The chef and co-owner of MeMe’s Diner, Libby WIllis, pairs up with pastry chef Zoe Kanan (formerly of Simon & the Whale) to bring their take on a New York-style Jewish deli.

  • 12 nights of a purpose-built Street Market: No two nights will be the same with a rotating collection of 15 chefs and menus 

  • Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate All-Star Collaboration dinner: Kevin Tien and Tim Ma will create a prix fixe menu along with 20-plus all-star AAPI chefs and allies 

“Commune was founded for the industry, by the industry. We wanted to create a space for chefs and hospitality professionals to come together, make incredible food, champion causes they’re passionate about, and support each other, the community, and the industry in the process,” Grover Smith, Indie Chefs Community founder, said in a statement. “As a city that thrives on rich culture, diverse culinary offerings, and exceptional people, Houston felt like the perfect city to host this, and I can’t wait to make it happen.”

In order to ensure a positive experience for both attendees and participants, the Indie Chefs Community will ensure all chefs, sponsors, staff, and volunteers have received a COVID-19 vaccination. In addition, the event covers all costs of food and travel for the participating chefs. Finally, it will donate 50-percent of net proceeds from the first week to Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate

A full roster of participants and events will be announced later this month. Those interested in attending are encouraged to sign up for a mailing list that will give them access to a pre-sale being held June 24-27. Tickets will range in price from $50-$500. Weeklong and VIP packages will also be available.

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