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Texas’ skyrocketing culinary scene is about to get a huge boost. The Texas Food & Wine Alliance’s grant program has awarded $107,500 to 19 culinary innovators around the state. This marks the Alliance’s 11th year providing funding to support culinary projects contributing to local communities.

The award winners were recently announced in a ceremony at Austin's Holdsworth Center. A private panel of distinguished culinary experts chose the winners out of 40 grant applications this year.

Three winners from Houston received a total of $12,750. Meanwhile, nine winners hail from Austin, three from Dallas-Fort Worth, and four from San Antonio. The awards range from $1,500 to $10,000, with a special $25,000 grant investment from Austin favorite Tito’s Handmade Vodka in honor of the company’s 25th anniversary. Grant funding will support chefs, farms, and culinary education groups, among others.

Here are Houston's winners:

Royal Caliber Ranch – $6,250

A winner of the Tito's Handmade Vodka Entrepreneur Grant, Royal Caliber Ranch is woman-led ranch raising diverse breeds of goats for nearly 20 years in Waller. Grant funds will help the business secure the dairy parlor's infrastructure, including labor and materials for a pole barn, concrete, and utilities needed per U.S.D.A. requirements, according to press materials.

J.I.V.E Juice Company – $4,000

The juice company specializing in cold-pressed fruit juices and smoothies using organic, non-pasteurized ingredients is the winner of the Houston Food & Wine Alliance Grant. Funds will facilitate product testing and a shelf-life study and assist in product branding and marketing.

F.D.’s Express Burgers and Wings – $2,500

This popular spot partnering with the Booker T. Washington Empowerment Center to launch a culinary training institute specializing in Soul Food received $1,500 from Truffle Masters Grant for Community Heroes and is also a Houston Food & Wine Alliance Grant recipient. Grant funds will supplement the cost of training those who require financial assistance.

Elsewhere in Texas

Austin-area winners received the most funding from the grant program, totaling $53,750, while San Antonio winners received $21,250. Dallas/Fort Worth winners were awarded $19,750. All of the 2022 winners reflect just how diverse the state's trailblazing culinary scene continues to expand.

“All of this year’s funded projects will further enrich the state through innovation and giveback,” said Erika White, executive director of the Alliance. “We’re extremely grateful to each of the Texas communities, our sponsors and their support in allowing us to reward these mold-breaking projects.”

In Austin, organic farm Trosi Farms was awarded the most funding, totaling $10,000 from Tito’s and the Austin Food & Wine Alliance. The wild crop-breeding operation will be able to use the funds to construct a germination shed for more stable plant start production. Locavore pioneer Boggy Creek Farm won $7,500 in grants to provide ADA-compliant accessibility to their new climate-controlled Tomato House. Texas’ first organic feed mill, Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm, received $6,250 to help purchase a building to be used as a store for the local community.

The six other Austin area grant recipients, each winning $5,000, include Vista Farms at Vista Brewing, Jamaican family business Tierra Todun ATX, coffee roasters Rising Tide Roast Collaborative, culinary educator Chef Pascal Simon from Bake Austin, East Austin food truck Community Vegan, and Latinx pastry project Comadre Panaderia (who also just earned a James Beard nomination). All winners will be able to use their grants to improve efficiency and expand their businesses, or in Chef Pascal's case, further research and development for her upcoming cookbook for Gen-Z young adults.

Out of the four San Antonio area winners, Talking Tree Farm received the most from the grant program, $6,250 to purchase shipping containers for storage and to buy a solar-powered cold room for their harvests. John Marshall High School’s culinary arts program will use their $5,000 grant to establish a morning café. Agricultural project Habitable Spaces and pasture-raised chicken farm Cielito Lindo Farm also won $5,000 each to purchase equipment or build infrastructure to further their endeavors in the culinary space.

The winners in the Dallas-Fort Worth include:

For this year's Honorable Mention, the Alliance chose San Antonio eatery Tacos Cucuy, who will soon open a brick-and-mortar space with an expanded menu. Tacos Cucuy are currently looking for support to develop a Tex-Mex charcuterie program called La Cura Carnes Especiales.

More information about the 2022 grants and its recipients can be found on texasfoodandwinealliance.org.

Photo by Viacom

Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, and more funny folk headline fave Texas weekend comedy festival

Just for laughs

Austin's favorite comedy festival, Moontower Just for Laughs Austin, is coming back in 2023 with even more big names than the 2022 lineup. The formerly four-day festival became a two-week festival in 2022 after Austin's Moontower Comedy teamed up with Montreal's Just for Laughs. Taking place over more than 10 venues around the city, the hilarious fortnight manages to balance big names and rising stars alike every year and 2023 looks no different.

According to an initial lineup release, next year's installment will bring everyone from Trevor Noah to local favorites to the stage, from April 12-23, 2023. The festival coincides with Noah's Off the Record tour, which he brings to Austin's Bass Concert Hall for four nights. Along with Noah, the release lists more than 20 Paramount and Stateside headlining shows, with more still to come.

A few returning faces include Seth Meyers, Felipe Esparza, and Vir Das, along with Brad Williams, Maria Bamford, Robert Kelly, and Preacher Lawson. Among the festival debuts are Kenny Sebastian, who rose to prominence on YouTube before releasing specials on Amazon Prime and Netflix, as well as Chris Distefano, whose Brooklyn-born edge and nice-guy charm won over fans of MTV’s Girl Code/Guy Code series before releasing specials on both Comedy Central and Netflix

Saturday Night Live cast members, past and present, tend to make a good showing at the festival, with legends Dana Carvey and David Spade bringing their podcast to the stage in 2022 with new cast member James Austin Johnson as their special guest. 2023's lineup will feature some of the show's newest cast members, including Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, and Devon Walker, who cut his teeth in the Austin comedy scene before moving to New York.

“As we continue our quest of building the ultimate comedy event in Austin, our partnership with Just For Laughs adds more diversity, variety and fun for our comedy fans,” says Lietza Brass, Moontower Just For Laughs Austin festival director, in a release. “Together we bring a large and exciting roster centered on the brightest comedy stars of today from the U.S., Texas, and abroad. We’re proud to expand our program of presenting shows in Spanish in 2023. We truly have something to please everyone’s taste.”

Christine Melko-Ross, a vice president of Just For Laughs added, “We are excited to continue to expand the Moontower Just For Laughs Austin brand and footprint by curating a diverse line-up of international and U.S. stars and headliners while shining a spotlight on some of the best comedians and podcasts from around the world.”

Badges for the 2023 festival are already available for purchase, with new bundles and packages available this year. For more information, and to stay up to date with new lineup releases over the coming months, head to moontowercomedyfest.com.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Wildly popular Nashville hot chicken chain's big Houston cancellation heats up week's top stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Wildly popular Nashville hot chicken chain cancels plans for first Houston location. Construction costs and other issues scuttled the restaurant's plans.

2. Creative Heights burger joint quietly shutters after more than a decade. Fans of Sticky Monkey burgers and Buffalo fries will have to drive to Pearland or Galveston to satisfy their cravings.

3. Longtime Houston fast casual restaurant darts into The Woodlands with fresh new location. The restaurant serves the same updated menu as the recently-renovated River Oaks location.

4. Thriving drive-thru salad restaurant freshens up Houston with first outpost and more on the way. The Arizona-based restaurant's first three Houston-area locations are opening this month.

5. Towering downtown skyscraper and former headquarters for oil giant set for new high-rise apartment conversion. At the time of its opening, the building was considered the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

'80s heartthrob Bryan Adams heads to Houston with Jett-setting rock icon for 2023 tour stop

Summer of '23

Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams, who's been entertaining audiences on stage and screen for four decades, is coming to the Houston area — and he's bringing along a very special guest. Adams is teaming up with rock 'n' roll icons Joan Jett and the Blackhearts for his "So Happy It Hurts Tour," stopping at Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre on June 28.

The U.S. tour kicks off on June 6 in Baltimore, Maryland, and ends August 3 with a show in Seattle. He'll visit just two Texas cities - Fort Worth and Sugar Land, outside Houston, for a show at Smart Financial Centre on June 28.Fort Worth on June 29, 2023.

Adams is touring in support of his 15th studio album, So Happy It Hurts, which was released March 11, 2022 via BMG. The album is nominated for Best Rock Performance at the upcoming 2023 Grammy awards, taking place Sunday, February 5.

Adams also is riding the wave as the lyricist for Pretty Woman – The Musical, the Broadway musical based on the famed Julia Roberts-Richard Gere rom-com. The touring musical draw huge crowds when it recently stopped in Houston for a limited run.

Barrier-breaking rock 'n' roll badass Joan Jett is known for Top 40 hits such as "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "I Hate Myself For Loving You," and "Crimson and Clover." Joan Jett and the Blackhearts toured last year with Def Leppard, Motley Crue, and Poison. Bad Reputation, a 2018 documentary about Jett's life, is now streaming.

Tickets for the "So Happy It Hurts Tour" go on sale at 12 pm Friday, February 3 via ticketmaster.com.

Beyoncé adds second Houston date to highly anticipated world tour due to massive surge in ticket demand

back-to-back bey

Houston Beyoncé fans, rejoice: Queen Bey has added another show to her just-announced Renaissance World Tour.

As CultureMap previously reported, Beyoncé is returning to her hometown in a show originally planned for September 23 at NRG Stadium. Now, due to surge in ticket demand, a second show at NRG has been added for the following day on September 24.

This comes as tour organizers have added seven new dates to the North American leg of the tour, based on Beyhive buzz.

According to LiveNation, fan demand for Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour now exceeds the number of available tickets by more than 800 percent, based on current registration numbers in the Group A cities.

Even with these added dates, LiveNation expects a majority of interested fans "will not be able to get tickets because demand drastically exceeds supply," per a press announcement.

Beyhive fans who miss the second Houston show can try to catch Bey in Dallas two days prior to the Houston show, where she'll play AT&T Stadium on September 21.

Ticketing for the world tour dates go on sale Monday, February 6. BeyHive members will enjoy an exclusive presale, while other fans can register now with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan technology here. Those interested can score tickets, schedules, and more information at beyonce.livenation.com and tour.beyonce.com.

Note to jet-setting Houstonians: The queen kicks off her world tour on May 10 in Stockholm, Sweden at the Friends Arena. She'll dot Europe with big stadium shows through June 27, where she'll play Warsaw, Poland.

Her North American tour starts July 8 in Canada, where she'll play Toronto's Rogers Centre. Beyoncé will trek the U.S. through the summer and into September; her Dallas and Houston shows are the sole Texas performances.

In a bit of a head scratcher, the Houston native will end her tour in New Orleans (Caesars Superdome) on September 27.

The world tour comes as Beyoncé is awash in Grammy glow: in November, she was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, tying her with her husband (neé Shawn Corey Carter) for the most nominations in Grammy history. Critics and fans have lauded Renaissance, her first solo work since the wildly popular and deeply personal 2016 effort, Lemonade — even through its minor controversy.

Here is the entire world tour schedule:

Europe

May 10, 2023 – Stockholm, SE – Friends Arena

May 14, 2023 – Brussels, BE – King Baudouin Stadium

May 17, 2023 – Cardiff, UK – Cardiff Principality Stadium

May 20, 2023 – Edinburgh, UK – BT Murray Field Stadium

May 23, 2023 – Sunderland, UK – Stadium of Light

May 26, 2023 – Paris, FR – Stade de France

May 29, 2023 – London, UK – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

May 30, 2023 – London, UK – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

June 08, 2023 – Barcelona, ES – Olympic Stadium

June 11, 2023 – Marseille, FR – Orange Velodrome

June 15, 2023 – Cologne, DE – Rhein Energie Stadion

June 17, 2023 – Amsterdam, NL – Johan Crujff Arena

June 21, 2023 – Hamburg, DE – Volksparkstadion

June 24, 2023 – Frankfurt, DE – Deutsche Bank Park

June 27, 2023 – Warsaw, PL – PGE Narodowy

North America

July 8, 2023 – Toronto, ON – Rogers Centre

July 12, 2023 – Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field

July 15, 2023 – Nashville, TN – Nissan Stadium

July 17, 2023 – Louisville, KY – L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium

July 20, 2023 – Minneapolis, MN – Huntington Bank Stadium

July 22, 2023 – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field Stadium

July 26, 2023 – Detroit, MI – Ford Field

July 29, 2023 – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium

Aug. 01, 2023 – Boston, MA – Gillette Stadium

Aug. 03, 2023 – Pittsburgh, PA – Acrisure Stadium

Aug. 05, 2023 – Washington, DC – FedEx Field

Aug. 09, 2023 – Charlotte, NC – Bank of America Stadium

Aug. 11, 2023 – Atlanta, GA – Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Aug. 16, 2023 – Tampa, FL – Raymond James Stadium

Aug. 18, 2023 – Miami, FL – Hard Rock Stadium

Aug. 21, 2023 – St. Louis, MO – Dome at America's Center

Aug. 24, 2023 – Phoenix, AZ – State Farm Stadium

Aug. 26, 2023 – Las Vegas, NV – Allegiant Stadium

Aug. 30, 2023 – San Francisco, CA – Levi’s Stadium

Sept. 02, 2023 – Inglewood, CA – SoFi Stadium

Sept. 11, 2023 – Vancouver, BC – BC Place

Sept. 13, 2023 – Seattle, WA – Lumen Field

Sept. 18, 2023 – Kansas City, MO – Arrowhead Stadium

Sept. 21, 2023 – Dallas – AT&T Stadium

Sept. 23, 2023 – Houston – NRG Stadium

Sept. 24, 2023 – Houston – NRG Stadium

Sept. 27, 2023 – New Orleans – Caesars Superdome

As always, Beyoncé will create activations, programs, and giveaways via BeyGOOD, the foundation she created in 2013.