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Revealed! The New Emcee for the Houston Press Menu of Menus® Iron Fork Competition

Who Is Replacing Chef Randy Evans As Emcee of The 2016 Iron Fork Competition? 

We promised last week we’d have big news on the new emcee for the 2016 Houston Press Menu of Menus® Extravaganza Iron Fork competition. It is time to reveal who it is.

For four years, chef Randy Evans served as emcee for the competition. He has since moved to San Antonio to work for H-E-B, where he is in charge of the chain's in-store restaurants, such as Table 57 here in Houston.

The New Emcee of The Iron Fork Competition Is—

(drum roll)

We are pleased to announce that one of Evans’s best friends and former co-workers is taking over as emcee. 

He is none other than Chris Shepherd of Underbelly. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Shepherd and Evans formerly worked together at Brennan's of Houston before each went on to head up his own kitchen. The two chefs been fast friends for many years. 

Don’t expect Shepherd to do everything the way Evans did, though. The James Beard award-winning chef of Underbelly is known for putting his own spin on things. Shepherd is in the process of helping select the two chefs who will be the competitors, and his main goal is for everyone to have fun.

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“Randy did it for a few years, and he always seemed to have a good time,” he said. “It’s going to be something we’re going to play by ear, and it’s going to be fun to do. I like to see chefs pushing each other in these competitions.” It’s his first time to moderate a competition like this, although Shepherd has been on the competitive side before, such as on Esquire Network’s Knife Fight.

The chef may have at least one trick up his sleeve for challenging the chefs during the competition. “I may be like, ‘Here, I’ve got something in my pocket. Why don’t you see how this works?’”

He has some advice for the competing chefs: “You’ve got to do stuff that can actually be physically done in the available time and you’ve got to be true to yourself. That’s a big thing. You’ve got to cook for who you are. If you try to do something outside of the box, that’s not going to work out so well. Stick to what you know and you’ve got to taste. Look at all the shows where the judges ask, ‘Did you taste this?’ ‘Uh, no.’ You’ve got to taste your own food every time.” 

Tickets for what's sure to be a good time are now on sale at the Houston Press Menu of Menus® website. As in past years, it will start at 7 p.m. at Silver Street Station, 1500 Silver. (Pro tip: VIP tickets allow for entry an hour early and it's totally worth it to beat the rest of the crowd.) 

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