San Antonio joins global culinary network as one of only 3 U.S. cities
San Antonians know this city has some world-class restaurants, but tourists are still learning to look beyond New York and Los Angeles. That might change as San Antonio joins the worldwide Délice Network, a collective with 25 other member cities developing themselves on the world stage through their culinary scenes.
Only three U.S. cities — San Antonio, Tucson, and Chicago — made the cut. Their inclusion reflects not just a culinary prowess, but a commitment to using it to strengthen the city in general. According to a news release from the City of San Antonio, that means "advanc[ing] economic development and city attractiveness."
"Being accepted into this international professional network is a tremendous honor for our city,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg in the release. “It recognizes the dedication of our chefs, the vibrancy of our local food scene, and our commitment to fostering a sustainable city and thriving culinary culture."
Beyond the general goals above, the network as four more specific focuses (as presented):
- food culture as part of city identity
- food sector as a boost for economic development
- food scene as a tool for global recognition and attractiveness
- food policies to enhance urban livability
The network's offerings to and from its member cities are similarly multifaceted. Some cities offer "study tours," which invite a diverse group member chefs to explore restaurants, markets, and farms almost as case studies. There have also been longterm projects between chefs (e.g. a year spent creating training programs for sustainability), at least one annual festival, and publications like a magazine and a recipe book.
San Antonio's membership is thanks to a collaboration between the City of San Antonio World Heritage Office and the San Antonio Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association. Colleen Swain, the director of the World Heritage Office, pointed out that this "builds upon San Antonio’s UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy designation," which is a more conservation-based network that focuses on crossovers with other arts and spirituality.
“Thanks to its vibrant, rich and diverse food scene, we know that San Antonio will bring an important contribution to our work, and we are very proud of having it as a new member of our worldwide network," added Délice Network Executive Director Elisabetta Bernardini.
"Our members all over the world are looking forward to exchanging ideas, inspiration, and best practices with San Antonio," she continued. "We are ready to boost cultural exchanges and common projects and to create interesting networking opportunities. Welcome San Antonio!”
More information about the Délice Network is available at delice-network.com.