Everyone likes to pick a winner, and here’s your chance: My Table magazine has released the list of finalists for its 2016 Houston Culinary Awards, and your input is being solicited. Want to help select chef of the year? How about best interior design of a restaurant? Ten culinary awards will given out in categories including best new restaurant and best wine program, and 13 “foodie star” honors (favorite bakery and favorite breakfast, to name but two) will be bestowed.
Voting opened today, and will close on August 31 (click here for your ballot). The winners will be announced on October 2 during a gala dinner (cocktails and food prepared by former winners and Houston culinary notables), at which Felix Florez will be presented with My Table‘s 2016 Legends of Houston Award (tickets are $185 and can be purchased here).
“Twenty years ago, the ‘Houston Culinary Awards’ was a big name for a very small event. We had just four awards, given during a happy-hour cocktail party at the Neiman Marcus store at Town & Country,” say Teresa Byrne-Dodge, founding editor and publisher of My Table. “Interestingly, three of the first four winners are still well-known in the Houston restaurant scene: Robert Del Grande (Restaurateur of the Year), Mark Cox (Chef of the Year), and Claire Smith (Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year/Under 35). Outstanding Wine Program went to the much-loved Rotisserie for Beef & Bird, which closed a few years ago when owner/chef Joe Mannke retired.”
In addition, the Awards have teamed up with The Grant Gordon Foundation to give $5,000 to a Houston-area individual in the hospitality industry who has been affected by a hardship or crisis, such as illness or an accident. After you vote for the awards, you’ll have the chance to nominate a person for The Grant Gordon Initiative for Chefs.
“We’re honored that the Grant Gordon family asked to work with us in order to give their foundation’s first award of $5,000,” says Byrne-Dodge. “The Grant Gordon Initiative for Chefs is meant to help a Houston-area chef (or any hospitality person) in crisis. This might be a medical situation or another sort of disaster, such as a fire. The foundation expects to make this an annual award.”
For fun, I’ve selected my winners below, based on intuition, taste, and subjective passion. May the best men and women take home the honors!
Houston Culinary Awards
Restaurateur of the Year: Agricole Hospitality (Coltivare, Revival Market, etc.)
Chef of the Year: Justin Yu (Oxheart)
Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year: Graham Laborde (Bernadine’s)
Outstanding Wine Program: Camerata
Pastry Chef of the Year: Chris Leung (Cloud 10 Creamery)
Outstanding Bar Program: Backstreet Cafe
Service Person of the Year: Annie Balest (Vallone’s)
Houston Classic: Tony’s
Best Interior Design: State of Grace (the oyster bar is a beautiful space)
Best New Restaurant: State of Grace
Houston Foodie Star Awards
Favorite Bakery: Macaron (in La Table)
Favorite Barbecue: Roegels Barbecue Co.
Favorite Bartender: Leslie Ross (Canard)
Favorite Breakfast: Revival Market
Favorite Burger: abstain
Favorite Coffeehouse: Morningstar
Favorite Farmer’s Market Vendor: Wood Duck Farm
Favorite Food Truck/Cart: Lucky Fig
Favorite Late-Night Spot: Spanish Flowers
Favorite Mom & Pop Ethnic: I am writing in Gerardo’s Drive-In Grocery
Favorite Outdoor Dining: B&B Butchers
Favorite Pub or Bar: Moving Sidewalk
Favorite Sweets/Ice Cream: Fluff Bake Bar