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Food & Drink

Q&As with Meatopia’s Makers and Shakers

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Tim Rattray: The future of barbecue, says Ozersky

Photo: , License: N/A

Josh Ozersky, food writer and Meatopia creator

Would you say that’s turned you into an advocate for the city?
Ozersky: I’ve become a de facto champion of the city within the food media community in New York, which don’t think of San Antonio except in terms of the Alamo. They might ask, “What’s the Riverwalk or there’s a SeaWorld in San Antonio?” I got to see the beautiful parts as I became friends with Elizabeth Fauerso of the Pearl and I came to appreciate it. For a food writer to discover a great city, was a great coup for me.

What part did Tim Rattray play in your decision?
Ozersky: I think Tim opened my eyes to how special the place was. Nao was obviously something I’ve never experienced…I had been to steakhouses, seafood places, but The Granary opened my eyes to find a restaurant that was so original and I felt it was significant on a national level. He’s not the only one in town that’s a great chef, but to my knowledge (he’s) the only modernist chef. His work wouldn’t have happened in a place like Austin with such a strong barbecue tradition. Tim showed me there was an opportunity to do things in San Antonio that are new. Texas is very culturally conservative, they like to do events with strong Texas roots, and powerful, regional traditions. If Tim could do something that original at Pearl, I could too.

What dish set him apart for you?
Ozersky: The cauliflower. His beef clod is incredible, the pastrami beef rib is amazing, but his specialties blew me away. The fact that someone could do a vegetable dish that I could be impressed by made me rethink how I thought of barbecue. The Granary has absolutely A+++ ribs and pulled pork…the fact that he could make standard barbecue comparable to Kreutz or Aaron Franklin, or some great restaurants in the deep south, really woke me up in a way that might not have been otherwise.

What should people know about the event before heading there?
Ozersky: The best part of Meatopia is that it’s a true culinary event, the only one I know of organized by a food person as opposed to a marketing event.

How did you settle on the chefs?
Ozersky: I decided most had to be Texas chefs. You don’t have to come to Meatopia to have great barbecue, this isn’t just barbecue. Meatopia shows people things they’ve never eaten, parts of the animal or ethnic traditions.

What dish are you most looking forward to?
Ozersky: I won’t pick a favorite, but Andrew Weissman has something lined up that’s so complicated and ambitions and original, that’s something that’s so in my wheelhouse. I’m excited to have Jesse Griffiths (of Dai Due in Austin) braise doves.

Any last need-to-knows?
I know that Meatopia is something that a lot of people have never been to or have a frame of reference for, but I would really, really urge…even it if costs more than food events, you’ll eat so many different things you’ve never had before. It’s a special experience. I urge them to take a chance I’m taking on them and give Meatopia a shot. It’s an all you can eat, best meat in the world, cooked by a dream team of chefs (event). If you consider yourself a serious carnivore, it would be worth it.

The Chef
Tim Rattray, The Granary

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