Houstonians will have to wait a little longer to experience the Commune food festival. Citing a rise in COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations, the two-week festival, originally scheduled for August 21-September 5, has been postponed until March, organized announced.
Instead of its full roster of events, Commune will offer a preview edition that will consist of three nights of collaboration dinners alongside three of the pop-ups that would have taken place at the larger festival. It will be held August 26, 27, and 29.
Those who have already purchased tickets will be offered the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the preview event, roll over their purchases to the rescheduled event, or receive a refund, according to a press release. All events will take place in an outdoor, 7,500-square-foot space with appropriate social distancing measures in place.
"Given our values and those of our community, we can’t, in good faith, ask hundreds of chefs and thousands of you to get in cars and on planes in a month’s time," organizers said in a statement. "While we can’t predict where we will be by then as a state or even as a country, we know that we are unwilling to gamble with anyone’s health."
While a sense of disappointment is a reasonable response to the news, the three-day version looks quite promising. Night one's 12-chef collaboration dinner features local stars such as Aaron Bludorn (Bludorn), Top Chef finalist Dawn Burrell (Late August), and Ross Coleman (Dukessa, Lit Chicken). Award-winning Dallas chef Misti Norris (Petra & the Beast) headlines night two along with Top Chef season 18 contestant Brittany Anderson, Philadelphia chef Khoran Horn, and two-time James Beard semifinalist Alan Sternberg of Iozzo’s Garden of Italy in Indianapolis. All 24 chefs will collaborate for a final dinner on August 29.
In addition to the dinners, Commune Preview will offer four pop-ups: a Lucky Danger events from Washington, D.C. chefs Tim Ma and Andrew Chiou; a Jewish deli presented by chefs Libby Willis (formerly of MeMe's Diner) and Zoe Kanan (formerly of Simon and the Whale); Palestinian roast chicken from chef Marcelle Afram; and a fourth that's to be announced. Tickets for all dinners and pop-ups are on sale now.
"We appreciate you navigating this with us and we’re looking forward to taking these lemons and making some lemonade," the statement concludes. "What’s better than one anti-food-festival? Two. Let’s do this, Houston."