Who Are the Dueling Chefs for the 2016 Menu of Menus Iron Fork Competition?

Four-time winner chef Kevin Naderi is a Menu of Menus judge and retired champion now. So, who is competing? Find out now.
Four-time winner chef Kevin Naderi is a Menu of Menus judge and retired champion now. So, who is competing? Find out now.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

As revealed earlier, chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly is taking over as emcee for his longtime friend and co-worker Randy Evans at the 2016 Houston Press Menu of Menus Extravaganza Iron Fork Competition. Retired Iron Fork champion Kevin Naderi is now a judge. That leaves the question: Which chefs will compete this year?

Things are sure to heat up onstage when Shepherd's former chef de cuisine at Underbelly does battle with Evans's former right-hand man at Haven. Both are now executive chefs in their own rights these days.

Executive chef and co-owner Lyle Bento of Southern Goods (center, with pitmaster/sous chef Patrick Feges on the left and chef de cuisine J.D. Woodward to the right) will have to work to win the Iron Fork competition under the watchful eye of his former mentor, Chris Shepherd.
Executive chef and co-owner Lyle Bento of Southern Goods (center, with pitmaster/sous chef Patrick Feges on the left and chef de cuisine J.D. Woodward to the right) will have to work to win the Iron Fork competition under the watchful eye of his former mentor, Chris Shepherd.
Photo by Troy Fieds

Executive chef Lyle Bento of Southern Goods, formerly of Underbelly, will face off against Jean Philippe-Gaston of Izakaya, who worked with Evans at Haven. Will having to perform under the gaze (and unexpected whims) of James Beard award-winning chef Shepherd be a dose of extra pressure? It's a good bet the answer is yes. Both Southern Goods and Izakaya earned outstanding reviews from the Houston Press last year, so we know these chefs are heavy hitters. 

The 2016 Houston Press Menu of Menus Extravaganza, presented by Stella Artois, is on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Silver Street Station, 1501 Silver. Tickets are on sale now. Buy now, because early-bird pricing is still in effect. General admission is $45 and VIP admission, which gets attendees in the doors an hour early, is only $85. Attendees must be 21 or over. 

Chef Jean-Philippe Gaston of Izakaya was former Iron Fork emcee Randy Evans's chef de cuisine at Haven.
Chef Jean-Philippe Gaston of Izakaya was former Iron Fork emcee Randy Evans's chef de cuisine at Haven.
Photo by Troy Fields

Jumping in early saves $10 per ticket. Starting on March 4, tickets will be $55 for general admission and $95 for VIPs. Tickets get participants unlimited food and drink samples from dozens of restaurants and beverage distributors all evening long.

A bevy of new restaurants have signed up, too. Here are the latest additions: 

  • Andalucia Tapas
  • Bismillah Restaurant
  • Bundt Cake-A-Holic
  • Carey's Frozen Delights
  • CoCo's Crepes
  • Cumbia Coffee
  • Express Rolls
  • Freeerlicious
  • Fuzzy's Taco Shop
  • Harold's
  • Method at The Marque
  • Mia Bella
  • Revelry on Richmond
  • Sweetcup Artisan Gelato
  • White Plate Art

They join Arnaldo Richards' Picos, Churrasca Brazilian Steakhouse, Eculent and many more participant —and many more are still to come.

Restaurants interested in participating at Menu of Menus can read the requirements and fill out the form online. It's an opportunity to get their food and identity in front of about 2,000 Houstonians.

Stay tuned for more announcements to come as the big day draws closer. 

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