Local Spotlight

Bring on the Truffles: 20 Top Houston Chefs to Compete in the Second Annual Houston Truffle Chef Charity Challenge


If you love fresh truffles and want to experience what it’s like to have 20 chefs duking it out in competition for the most supreme dish featuring fresh, imported winter black truffle, it’s time to mark your calendars.

On Monday, January 11, from 6 to 10 p.m., the Second Annual Houston Truffle Chef Charity Challenge is set to take place at the swanky Astorian event space ( 2500 Summer Street). It will be hosted by Diane Roederer of DR Delicacy, a locally based importer of truffles and caviar, and organized by Elizabeth Stone of Silver Stone Events, and the proceeds from the event will benefit the Houston chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the food, beverage and hospitality industry.

Last year’s event was a smashing success that crowned David Cordúa of the Cordúa Restaurant Group (Américas, Churrascos, Artista, Amazon Grill) champion for his ingenious truffle Twinkle — butter-crisped rectangles of toasted brioche filled with mascarpone egg cream, topped with a single slice of freshly shaved black truffle. Cordua took home one kilogram’s worth of fresh truffles for his win. Javier Lopez of Brennan’s took home second place with a decadent crab bread pudding with truffle (and a prize of 500 grams of black truffle), while chef Brandi Key of Clark Cooper Concepts took home third place for duck-fat fried brioche cups topped with black truffle (and a prize of 250 grams of black truffles.  

As last year's winner, Cordúa will be sitting in one of the judges' seats this year. Asked what he'll be looking for, he says: "What I would be preparing and looking for are flavors that can play back-up singer to the truffle. They can't be out-sung."

This year's grand prize winner will again take home one kilogram of fresh black truffles (worth approximately $1,500), with the first and second runners-up receiving 500 grams and 250 grams of black truffles, respectively. All three winners will receive a beautiful truffle trophy as well. 

Tickets are set at $150/per person for regular admission, and $250/per person for VIP admission, which will get you in an hour earlier and give you access to a private champagne station and caviar station.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: http://drdelicacy.com/truffle-chef-charity-challenge/. 

The following is a roster of this year’s chef competitors:
  • Efisio Farris, Arcodoro
  • Arturo Boada, Arturo Boada Cuisine
  • Ben Berg, B & B Butchers
  • Luis Roger, BCN Taste & Tradition
  • Eddie Sierra, Brennan’s
  • Charles Clark, Ibiza
  • Brandon Lampert, Corner Table
  • Don Schoenburg, The Durham House
  • David Skinner, Eculent
  • Philippe Verpiand, Etoile
  • Enrico Glaudo, Ristorante Cavour
  • Manabu Horiuchu, Kata Robata
  • David Denis, Le Mistral
  • Maurizio Ferrarese, Quattro at the Four Seasons
  • Robert Del Grande, RDG + Bar Annie
  • Monica Pope, Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
  • Manuel Pucha, Table on Post Oak
  • Ryan Hildebrand, Triniti
  • Jason Grigar, Urban Eats
  • Richard Kaplan, Weights + Measures

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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