Texas Renaissance Festival Launches New Chef Showdown With $10,000 Prize

Turnt up Ren-style
Turnt up Ren-style Photo by Lisandro Sanchez

Texas Renaissance Festival is jumping in the chef competition game this year with its first-ever Royal Chef Showdown, which will award a whopping $10,000 cash and the very appropriately named King’s Beard Award to one lucky, winning toque.

The festival is currently calling on chefs to compete by bringing their “most inventive and delicious food items," ones that will "add to the annual Festival’s famous menu" anyways. Interested chefs can apply online through March 31. After the festival has sorted through tens of thousands of applications concerning deconstructed turkey leg balls with mead mash aioli, the top ten contenders will be announced on April 10.

“We are going to look for the best chefs in the area to bring menu items our guests haven’t seen before, and give them yet another reason to make their way through the Royal Gates this year,” the festival’s general manager, Terre Albert, says in a press release. Time for that deep, pressing question, chefs: What would keep a centaur coming back for more?
click to enlarge
The centaur taketh tips.
Photo by Lisandro Sanchez

The festival will pair the ten competing chefs with longtime food vendors to make sure the dishes are fest-friendly, as they will be available for purchase. A panel of judges called "The Knights of the Dinner Table" will choose the winning chef at a tasting in August, after a preliminary tasting in July.

The Texas Renaissance Festival, which is the nation's largest ren fair, attracting more than half a million visitors per year, will take place every Saturday and Sunday and the Friday after Thanksgiving, starting September 30 and running through November 26 in Todd Mission. For the first time ever, the festival will host nine themed weekends (instead of eight), including the new “Heroes and Villains” weekend, scheduled for November 11 and November 12.

For more information, head to www.texrenfest.com.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.