NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas, May 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- New Braunfels, Texas, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, kicks off the summer vacation season May 7. Chef Brad Sorenson judges the Wein and Saengerfest Chef Showdown to get it started.
"We're thrilled Food Network Finalist Chef Brad will be our judge," said Judy Young, Convention & Visitor Bureau Director. "It highlights something new for us. We are a growing culinary destination. There are many fine, new restaurants in the area. We have a thriving farmers market. There are specialty food shops like Gourmage. It features artisanal cheeses and breads and handmade gourmet marshmallows and chocolates. 2Tarts Bakery makes special cupcakes and beautiful decorated cookies, French pastries, cakes and pies. They use fresh, pure ingredients to create fantastic gourmet goodies from scratch."
The New Braunfels Saengerfest (singers' festival) has a long history. The New Braunfels Germania singing society hosted the first state Saengerfest in 1853. Similar events continued through the 20th century across the state. New Braunfels revived their most recent version 13 years ago. Along with wine and craft beer tasting, there is live music, of course. There's also a grape stomp, artisan market, activities for children and a Chef's Showdown. It all culminates with a street dance at Main Plaza in downtown New Braunfels. Admission is FREE. The proceeds from wine sales benefit the New Braunfels Parks Foundation. Proceeds from craft beer sales benefit the New Braunfels Downtown Association.
The Chef Showdown pits six amateur competitors against each other in two heats. Each team prepares a dish using a gas grill to cook mystery ingredients in twenty minutes. Teams have access to a common pantry to complete their meals.
"I'm looking forward to judging the Chef Showdown," said Sorenson. "I can't wait to see what culinary dishes the competitors create."
Chef Brad graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2005. He opened his first restaurant, the acclaimed Black Creek Bistro, in Columbus, Ohio. He moved to Austin, Texas, a few years later. Chef Brad was then cast for season six of "The Next Food Network Star." He was a finalist and also joined the cast of "Food Network's Chopped All Stars" competition. He was a finalist there, too.
He returned to Austin as the Executive Chef of the ASTI Trattoria restaurant. In 2013, Brad opened the award winning restaurant, NO VA on Rainey Street. NO VA was the 2014 recipient of the people's choice "Best New Restaurant" award in Austin. It was also chosen "Best New Restaurant" by readers of Austin's CultureMap. Zagat's 30 under 30 Award 2014 included Chef Brad/NO VA. He is now the R&D chef for Alamo Drafthouse. He creates food, inspired by movies, that gets served across the country.
Chef Brad will judge all three heats and serve as the Emcee for the 2016 Chef Showdown competition.
Following the Wein and Saengerfest, New Braunfels moves into the summer season. Thousands of visitors come to town every year for water recreation. Visitors can enjoy two rivers, Canyon Lake, Schlitterbahn Water Park and Texas Ski Ranch.
Besides playing in water, New Braunfels offers a wide variety of things to see and do. There's the natural world - Natural Bridge Caverns, Bat Flights and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. There's music like Gruene Hall and other honky-tonks and music halls. And, there are the Texas Hill Country wineries and craft beer breweries.
Special events include:
Schlitterbahn, the world's best water park opens daily starting May 12.
"Foodies" enjoy a wide variety of restaurants besides traditional German and Mexican food. Other culinary attractions include:
- A large, popular farmers market
- Naegelin's Bakery, the oldest bakery in Texas
- Phoenix Saloon, the birthplace of Gebhardt's Chili
- New Braunfels Smokehouse smoked meats
- Texas Hill Country Craft Beer Trail
For more information on what's delicious in New Braunfels this summer, see PlayInNewBraunfels.com.
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SOURCE Greater New Braunfels Convention & Visitors Bureau