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Unique James Beard Foundation Dinner in Houston Features Chef Stars From Near & Far


James Beard Award Winning Chef Hugo Ortega. Photo courtesy of HTown Restaurant Group.

Posted: October 2, 2018 at 1:00 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The James Beard Awards are an annual celebration of national culinary talent and achievement. The James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour extends the magic by bringing award-winning chefs together to collaborate on special dinners across the United States. This year, Houston is one of 20 cities hosting this kind of special, star-studded dinner. It is on Thursday, October 11 at Third Coast, which is on the sixth floor of 6550 Bertner in the Texas Medical Center area. Third Coast executive chef Jon Buchanan is the host for the evening, which starts with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by a five-course seated dinner at 6:30 p.m.

The featured James Beard-recognized chefs include local Best Chef Southwest winner Hugo Ortega of Backstreet Café, Hugo’s, Caracol and XochiMichael Mina of Bourbon Steak, PABU and International Smoke (with his executive chef Jeremy McMillan); James Beard-nominated executive chef Mike McKinney of Orsay in Jacksonville (with owner Jonathan Insetta); and multiple-time James Beard finalist and chef Kevin Gillespie of Gunshow, Gamechanger and Revival in Georgia.

Houston diners are, of course, likely very familiar with Ortega’s restaurants and Mina recently opened an outpost of his International Smoke at CityCentre. As for the others, the tour dinner gives locals a rare chance to try dishes from award-winning chefs who are usually many miles away.

Third Coast executive chef Jon Buchanan. Photo courtesy of Third Coast

The cocktail reception includes passed hors d’oeuvres like Rabbit Hot Dogs with chicken-fried sweetbread biscuit sliders and Chilapita de Langosta, a crispy masa bowl with chicatana powder-crusted lobster and chintextle (an Oaxacan-style smoked chili paste) aioli.

For dinner, the dishes include intriguing selections like Buchanan’s frisée salad with roasted beets, truffled beet purée, Grana panna cotta and beet powder and Gillespie’s Apple Cider-lacquered Pork Loin, crispy boudin fritter, creamed collards, pickled crab apples.

Third Coast and Ortega have a shared history through one of Third Coast’s owners and Ortega’s wife, über-restaurateur Tracy Vaught, who also co-owns the HTown Restaurant group. When Third Coast re-imagined the former Trevisio space back in 2016, Buchanan stayed on board as the executive chef, which gave him a chance to explore different cuisines. “I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to host and work alongside some of the best chefs in the country,” he says. “This dinner will help build relationships and encourage creativity for myself and my team.”

The James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour started in 2004 to bring a similar experience to dining at the famed James Beard House in New York City. The house was once home to Beard himself and is the headquarters for the foundation where it hosts events and dinners prepared by nationally acclaimed chefs throughout the year. Ortega has cooked at the historic house on three separate occasions.

“I have been fortunate to be invited to participate in Celebrity Chef Tour dinners outside of Houston and love the camaraderie it creates among the chefs,” says Ortega. “We have fun, learn from one another and all for a great cause. I am excited we are bringing the tour and such great chefs to Houston!”

Event Information
Date: Thursday, October 11th
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Third Coast Restaurant, 6550 Bertner Avenue, 6th Floor
Tickets: Click for more information

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