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Big Wins for Chris Shepherd and Bobby Heugel at the 2012 My Table Houston Culinary Awards

It wasn't quite a Lord of the Rings-style Oscars sweep for Underbelly last night at the 2012 Houston Culinary Awards -- the restaurant didn't win in every category in which it was nominated -- but chef Chris Shepherd and mixologist/bar owner/restaurateur Bobby Heugel took home four awards between them.

Shepherd won the Restaurateur of the Year award, while Underbelly's Matthew Pridgen won Service Person of the Year. Next door, the jointly owned craft beer bar The Hay Merchant won Favorite Pub or Bar while Bobby Heugel -- a partner in both The Hay Merchant and Underbelly, as well as his original bar, Anvil Bar & Refuge -- won Favorite Mixologist.

Out of the dining rooms and into cyberspace, Eating Our Words was honored to be nominated for Favorite Houston Food Blog alongside Dude, You Going to Eat That?, Eater Houston, Guns & Tacos, Houston Foodie, CultureMap and Robb Walsh's Texas Eats. We were even more honored to actually win the award last night, which is shared between all of our hard-working bloggers.

The annual awards, sponsored by My Table, took place in grand gala format at the the Hilton Hotel on the University of Houston campus where, for the third year in a row, some of Houston's best chefs gathered to serve a multi-course meal to a sold-out ballroom of the city's biggest culinary supporters.

Among the other winners last night were Matt Marcus of the Eatsie Boys, who Mai Pham recently profiled on Chef Chat, for Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year; Randy Evans at Haven for Chef of the Year; and Uchi for Best New Restaurant.

A list of all the 2012 winners can be found at My Table's website.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

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Katharine Shilcutt