If you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit Houston (a city that is much cooler than you might think, according to this
GQ article), this weekend would be a good time. Aaron Franklin is participating in the
Southern Smoke Festival, an event co-founded by fellow James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd (
One Fifth,
UB Preserv), and he’s gonna be in some heady company.

Franklin and Shepherd will be joined Sunday evening by a stunning array of talent at the festival that is part of a non-profit
that benefits the National MS Society and Southern Smoke’s
Emergency Relief Fund. The roster of award-winning talent includes
Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme in New York City; Seattle chef
Edouardo Jordan, who has taken home more honors in the last few years to count; famed pizzaiolo
Chris Bianco of Phoenix; TV host and Beard winner chef
Vivian Howard of North Carolina; barbecue bosses
Sam Jones of North Carolina and
Billy Durney of NYC;
Matthew Rudofker of Momofuku; an all-star group of Houston chefs known as the
Houston BBQ Collective and more.

Chingo Bling will emcee the afternoon event that will also feature musical performances from the Bayou City Brass Band, Max
Flinn and Neon Rainbow and Mariachi Los Gallitos.

Tickets cost $200, with half of the ticket money going to charity (read: it’s tax deductible). Southern Smoke’s Emergency Relief Fund raised
more than half a million dollars last year for Hurricane Harvey relief. The block-party style event runs from 4 to 8 p.m.
next to UB Preserv in the Montrose neighborhood.