SFoodie has been previewing this Saturday's Street Food Festival, but public gluttony is only the splashy half of the event. On Sunday, Aug. 21, and Monday, Aug. 22, La Cocina has also organized a National Street Food Conference, which is bringing many names from the local food scene, as well as nationally known chefs and writers, to Fort Mason. There, they'll talk about the appeal of street food -- as well as the conflicts it is sparking around the nation.
Monday is more of an insiders' event. The conference will break into session tracks for street-food vendors, street-food incubator organizations like La Cocina, and policymakers -- La Cocina director Caleb Zigas says he's reached out to representatives from cities that want and don't want to foster street food scenes.
The policy wonk in SFoodie is drawn most to the bigger general sessions that day. Here, the speakers will wrestle with the way street food is changing in America, creating a disparity between the fruteros and halal truck vendors that have been a visible, not-so-fashionable part of city life and the upscale taco truck owners who may have very different expectations of income and their role in the community. Chaac Mool owners Luis and Maria de la luz Vazquez will speak, and so will Robb Walsh, author of the Tex-Mex Cookbook and cofounder of Foodways Texas.
Tickets for the whole shebang cost $150, and single-day tickets for just the sessions are $50. You can read detailed session descriptions on the conference website; to look over the full list of speakers, visit the conference Tumblr.