Local Spotlight

24 Chefs to Compete for Houston's Truffle Masters Title

Last year's winning team from Kata Robata show off their truffle trophy.
Last year's winning team from Kata Robata show off their truffle trophy. Photo courtesy of DR I Delicacy
Saint Jacques aux Truffes d’été by chef Jacques Fox of Artisans Restaurant. Fox is one of the judges in the Truffle Masters competition. - PHOTO BY MAI PHAM
Saint Jacques aux Truffes d’été by chef Jacques Fox of Artisans Restaurant. Fox is one of the judges in the Truffle Masters competition.
Photo by Mai Pham

This coming Monday, January 16, the truffle competition that was launched three years ago comes back, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Think of it: beautiful, aromatic fresh black truffles from Spain. Twenty-four of Houston’s best chefs vying for the grand prize. Don't you want to be there?

The event has changed names a few times. In 2015 it debuted as the Truffle Chef of the Year competition. Then, last year, it changed to the Truffle Chef Challenge. This year it’s called The Truffle Masters, but the premise is just the same: Which Houston chef will make the most delectable dish featuring fresh truffles? 
click to enlarge Last year's winning team from Kata Robata show off their truffle trophy. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DR I DELICACY
Last year's winning team from Kata Robata show off their truffle trophy.
Photo courtesy of DR I Delicacy

As in years past, the grand prize winner will receive one kilogram of fresh black truffles and a trophy. The second and third runners-up will also receive trophies and prizes of 500 grams and 250 grams, respectively.

It’s the type of competition that has the best chefs in town turning out for a chance at the prize. And, to remove any potential bias, the panel of 12 judges, including myself, will be tasting each entry blind.

The event kicks off at 7 p.m. at The Hobby Center this coming Monday evening. Tickets are $150 per person (a steal for what amounts to 24 truffle courses). VIP tickets are $250 per person, and include one-hour early entry and access to cocktails by mixologist Alba Huerta of Julep featuring RoXoR gin and dishes by chef Robert Del Grande of Cafe Annie.

Details:
Date: January 16, 2017
Time: 6 p.m.-7 p.m. VIP Entry; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. general admission
Location: Hobby Center
Tickets: $150 general admission, $250 VIP
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.thetrufflemasters.com.

The list of participating chefs is as follows:

Barbara McKnight - Culinaire
David Denis - Le Mistral Restaurant
Sidney Degaine - Cafe Azur
Robert Del Grande - Cafe Annie
Tommy Elbashary - B & B Butchers and Restaurant
Maurizio Ferrarese - Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel
Enrico Glaudo - Ristorante Cavour
Edel Goncalvez - Fieldings Wood Grill
Jose Hernandez - Radio Milano
Ryan Hildebrand - Triniti Restaurant
Mark Holley - Holley’s Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Manabu Horiuchi - Kata Robata
Kris Jakob - Brasserie 1895
Brandi Key - SaltAir Seafood Kitchen
Jason Kohler - Central Market
Adison Lee - Kuu Restaurant
Manuel Pucha - La Table
Omar Pereney - Peska Seafood Culture
Luis Roger - BCN Taste & Tradition
Sandro Scarafile - Sud Italia Ristorante
Austin Simmons - Cureight / Hubbel & Hudson Bistro
David Skinner - Eculent
Lee White D-leecious Bites
Danny Trace - Brennan’s of Houston

The event is underwritten by Diane Roederer of DR Delicacy, a locally owned truffle and caviar importer, and Elizabeth Stone of Silver Stone Events. Proceeds will benefit local Houston culinary and scholarship programs. Past recipients include the Les Dames d’Escoffier International Houston Chapter Scholarship Fund, Culinary Institute LeNôtre and University of Houston culinary student scholarships.

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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham