Food & Drink
Q&As with Meatopia’s Makers and Shakers
Published: October 30, 2013
During the past nine years, James Beard award winning food writer Josh Ozersky has curated a carnivorous carnival in New York City known as Meatopia. The event brings talented chefs from across the country together with one goal in mind: celebrating all kinds of meat, prepared in a plethora of ways.
In 2013, Meatopia and Ozersky branched across the pond for London’s inaugural event in early September and now the time has finally come for San Antonio to play host..
Meatopia TX, held November 2 and 3 at the Pearl, will host 32 of the country’s most celebrated chefs including Austin’s Paul Qui (winner of Top Chef: Texas) along with Dallas’s Tim Byres of Smoke and Chris Shepherd, of Houston’s Underbelly."
To get a better sense for the event, we’ve chatted with idea-man Ozersky on why SA beat out other Texas cities; The Granary’s Tim Rattray who Ozersky named the future of barbecue on his trajectory from cook to owner; and Chris Hughes, owner of Broken Arrow Ranch (which is supplying antelope and venison for the event) to get an inside look at how game makes it to local menus.
When did the meat love affair begin?
Ozersky: I was a solitary and unhappy child who found in meat the only solace and companion that made life bearable for me. Meat was not just my imaginary friend, it eventually morphed into girlfriend in my 20s and wife in my 30s.
I can’t tell if you’re joking…
Neither can I.
What did you find so appealing about it?
Ozersky: There’s something visually satisfying about meat, you know how they’d say that lonely women would eat chocolate? Well, lonely children named Josh Ozersky would eat meat because it mimicked the feeling of being happy. Essentially I self-medicated with meat and in the process learned about it. It served me well as literary fodder and as a mood elevator.
What was the catalyst for bringing Meatopia to SA?
Ozersky: There were really two catalysts, both necessary and powerful. I would never have been truly fulfilled without doing an event in Texas. It’s a beef state. We were shopping different places to do it and as you might imagine someone from out of town that doesn’t know much about Texas, my thoughts went to Dallas, Austin. I had the good fortune to be invited to a tamale festival at the Pearl and was so struck. It’s a beautiful place, vigorous, it was the perfect partner for the Texas event I had long dreamed of. I had expected to go there and eat Tex-Mex food, instead I had what I still think is the only modernist barbecue (from The Granary), and seafood (from Sandbar) in San Antonio, which was the last thing I expected to find. I was introduced to exotic food produced at Nao that I had never been exposed to. There’s a depth of diversity and power to the restaurants of the Pearl. I was of the mentality that the only good food in Texas was in Austin…
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