Houston’s Top Chefs Wage Truffle War in a Foodie Dream Night: And the Winners Are…BY Shelby Hodge // 01.31.18
A Fare Extraordinaire chefs Gary Ly, Ryan Bouillet, Chris Wolff
Chef Austin Simmons
Hubbell & Hudson's first place winner: truffle/brioche/gruyere 'grilled cheese'
Second place winners chef Juan Pablo Colubri in from Yauatcha in Las Vegas and pastry chef Karla Rodriguez
Third place winner Chef José Ruiz of a'Bouzy
Emcee Michael Garfield, Truffle Masters founders Diane Roederer, Elizabeth Stone
Ryan Lachaine of Riel
Danil Strikhalev, Lauren Leal
Gigi Huang, Jonathan Li
Myron & Rosanna Blalock
Jason & Rachel Volz
Jacqueline & Leon Kinloch
Richard Truong, Christine Nguyen
Bob & Gracie Cavnar
Chef David Cordua, Cleverley Stone, chef Robert Del Grande at The Truffle Masters 2018
Lily Zhang, Linda Lee, Ianne Fasthoff
Rachael Volz, Becca Quisenberry, Ellen Peeples, Jennah Wakeford
Tanya White, Andrea Andrus
Shawn & Shelley Virene
Megha Tejpal, Laurann Claridge
Nick Talamantes, Christy Armstrong
Jevere Howell, Melissa Darjean
Priyanka & Hemanth Chil
Michael Garfield, Shelley Wiesenthal, Jay Long
Mincy & Scott Montgomery
Carla & Val Blasingame
Kerry Houston, Diane Roederer
Recalling the first Truffle Masters competition held four years ago in a leaky wholesale nursery, one can’t help but applaud founders Diane Roederer of DR Delicacy and Silver Stone Events‘ Elizabeth Stone for the successful transformation into a sophisticated evening at The Astorian, drawing more than 500 foodies eager to sample the chef-inspired truffle dishes.
Chefs from 22 of the city’s top restaurants including Luis Roger of BCN Taste & Tradition, Robert Del Grande of Cafe Annie and Danny Trace of Potente fired up their stove tops and ginned up their imagination in the competition that would be judged by 10 culinary experts.
Judges waded through a calorific, beyond-rich array of entries including A Fare Extraordinaire’s Truffle Glazed Doughnuts with Foie Gras Gelato, Liberty Kitchen’s lobster and truffle deviled eggs and Steak 48’s to-die-for Wagyu beef bites topped with lobster and black truffles.
Part of the success of this evening had to do with the highly-regarded philanthropic partner — Casa de Esperanza. Otherwise, according to Roederer, it was simple. “I think truffles are in. So we are in,” she said in her lilting French accent. “My job is done. So now I can enjoy and meet everyone.”
While the judges made their educated selection for the best truffle dishes, the crowd expressed its preference, giving the People’s Choice Award to Riel chef Ryan Lachaine and his Potato Leek and Truffle Pierogi with crème fraiche and chives.
Top honors from the judges went to chef Austin Simmons of Hubbell & Hudson for his “grilled cheese” composed of H&H brioche, house cultured cheese, comte and gruyere cheeses and black truffles. Yauatcha’s chef Ho Chee Boon, working with chef Juan Pablo Colubri in from Yauatcha in Las Vegas, earned second place for an imaginative Guayaquil chocolate, caramelized truffled honey panna cotta with zephyr caramel cremeux. And making restaurateur Shawn Virene one very happy man, his a’Bouzy chef José Ruiz took third place with his Roasted Indian Creek Mushrooms with Truffled Foie Gras and housemade black truffle caviar.
The chef lineup included Weights & Measures’ Richard Kaplan, Le Mistral’s David Denis, Lucienne’s José Hernndez, Eculent’s David Skinner, Emmaline’s Dimitri Voutsinas, Étoile’s Philippe Verpiand, Del Frisco’s James Cole, Central Market’s Jason Kohler, from Fielding’s Local Kitchen+Bar’s Edel Goncalves, Killen’s STQ’s Teddy Lopez, Liberty Kitchen’s Lance Fegan, Cru’s Jesse Cavazos and La Table’s Stephen Conklin.