Episode 12: Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival with Julie Eastman
In this episode, Broker/Owner Brady Bridges is joined by Julie Eastman, Executive Director of the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, about the festival's beginnings, how it benefits the community, and her best advice for house flippers.
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A native Texan, Julie started in interior design before expanding her business to include event planning. She met with the festival organizers as they were getting started and realized that they knew the food and drink side, but she could handle the event planning portion. The festival started as a series of "surprise chef" dinners where they sold tickets to the dinner, but the chefs weren't announced to the diners until that night. Those dinners created the seed money to start the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival in its current form.
The festival is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a two-part mission: to showcase the food and beverage scene in Fort Worth, and also support the next generation of professionals. During Covid, they started a Restaurant Employee Relief Fund that is still active to assist restaurant workers in need. Each year there is a culinary conference for high school students to learn about all aspects of the food industry from professionals - not just working in a restaurant, but also topics like farming, food science, and running a business.
Switching gears, Julie's advice for people interesting in house flipping was simple: "don't!" She teamed up with one of her design clients to buy a house, and after they had fully transformed the home, nobody cared how rough it had been before - just how it looked now. "You can't put as much value in your vision of changing the way it looks, it's just the end product that matters. It's easy to get caught up in 'wow, we took out walls, we added two bathrooms and two bedrooms upstairs'...but nobody knows those weren't there, they just look at the finishes and how it functions for them."
This year's Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival will be held from March 30 to April 2. Information about event tickets, sponsorship, and volunteer opportunities is available at fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com