And the winner is Kata Robata for the third time in the five-year competition.
The winning dish from Kata Robata
Truffle Masters judge and sommelier Antonio Gianola
The chefs' formal portrait before the cooking began.
Mai Pham, Mechelle Tran
Jeff & April Mason and Truffle the pooch
Eunice's Drake Leonards, Rosie Hernandez, Daniel Blue, Jeremy Allen
A taste of bubbly for VIP guests
At The Revaire Truffle Masters judge Cleverley Stone, Kerry Thornhill with the Texas Association of Olive Oil
Tris chef Austin Simmons at work
Jonathan Horowitz, Phaedra Cook, Eric Sandler, Alvin Schultz, Megha Tejpal
Glory So, Cindy Nguyen, Natalie Pham
Diane Roederer, chef Brandon Silva, Michael Garfield
Fresco! Cafe Italiano chef Roberto Crescini
Ryan O. Harris, Felice Sloan, Magen Pastor, Shanna Jones
Cafe Annie chef Elliott Kelly with truffle-laced scallops
Kristina Wilson, Liara Tamani
Nick Scurfield, Tyler Horne
Central Market's display of in-house chocolate tempts guests.
a'Bouzy chefs work on their truffle concoctions
a'Bouzy proprietor Shawn Virene welcomes guests to his station.
Chef Robert Del Grande preparing his Roxor gin cocktails.
The Roxor gin cocktail with Q tonic, beet juice, a sprinkling of shredded truffle and touch of lime
The Bourbon Room was a special offering for VIPs
Truffle Masters at the Revaire
Truffle Masters at the Revaire
As much as I love truffles, both black and white, I could never be a judge at the vaunted Truffle Masters competition. After a mere four samplings at the recent fest at The Revaire, I was done. Never mind that some two dozen culinary stars had put their best dishes forward, loaded with richness and drenched in black truffles courtesy of DR Delicacy.
I swooned over my first bite — a’Bouzy’s Truffled Potato Croquette rolled in squid ink panko, nestled on a dollop of truffle parmesan cream with shaved truffles. And I adored Ninfa’s on Navigation’s duck ravioli striding atop mushroom ragu and laced with truffle sauce.
“But you’re a Tex-Mex restaurant,” I queried. “Yes, but this is a truffle competition,” countered chef Jason Gould.
Alas, I opted to avoid the crush at the station of Cajun hotspot Eunice, which won the People’s Choice award for chef Drake Leonards‘ Potato Gnocchi with Blue Crab and Truffles. And, I confess, I passed on tasting big winner Kata Robata’s offering as I just can’t deal with truffle ice cream. Friends, however, and judges went wild for chef Manabu Horiuchi‘s Japanese Style Soufflé Cheese Cake with, yes, Truffle Ice Cream.
Second to the top contender was Yauatcha’s chocolate choux pastry. Third place went to chef Brandon Silva of Wooster’s Garden, who impressed with his mussel/potato chip/truffle concoction. Presenting the awards were high-tech Texan Michael Garfield and DR Delicacy owner and Truffle Masters founder Diane Roederer.
The wealth of sophisticated gluttony was an absolute foodie dream, compliments of the Houston-based luxury food importer. Beneficiary of the evening was Second Servings of Houston.
Among those joining the truffle fray were Fig & Olive, Hotel Alessandra, State of Grace, Poitín, Le Mistral, Big Easy Ranch and Cafe Annie. VIPs (paying close to $300 for the privilege) enjoyed early entry and private tables where servers delivered the offerings from each of the two dozen chefs.
The evening included tastings of Texas olive oil from 1836, Gloria Ferrer’s bubbly, Kagan Cellars wines, Crooked Fox bourbon and Robert Del Grande’s truffle-laced Roxor Gin cocktails. Who knew that Del Grande’s gin would be such an elegant platform for Q tonic, beet juice, shredded truffles and a pinch of lime?