Culinary Students Compete for Scholarships at Houston Hotel Restaurant Event

On April 12 and 14, students from Culinary Institute Lenôtre are taking over the kitchen of Safina Restaurant in the InterContinental Hotel, located at 6750 Main. For the 2023 Culinary Clash, two teams of students from the Houston culinary school are given the opportunity to work in the restaurant alongside the restaurant’s executive chef and earn scholarships.

This is the first year that the Culinary Clash is being held in Houston. The annual food war originated in San Francisco in 2012. Over the past decade, the contest has expanded to other InterContinental Hotels and Resorts locations, raising more than $200,000 for culinary scholarships. 

Culinary Institute LeNôtre students Caleb Edwards and Christopher Turner
Culinary Institute LeNôtre students Caleb Edwards and Christopher Turner are helping create a special menu with pairings on April 14 at Safina, the restaurant at InterContinental Hotel – Medical Center. Courtesy photo.

For the competition, guests will dine from a pre-selected menu and wine pairing organized and executed by students from Lenôtre, in conjunction with executive chef Harol Ortiz from Safina. Each night features a different team of two students, with Daniel Galvani and Mayrani Correa representing the school on April 12, and the team of Caleb Edwards and Christopher Turner on April 14. Guests are encouraged to provide candid feedback on the students’ menus. Competitors will be judged on creativity, taste, presentation and wine pairing.

bar area of Safina
The bar area of Safina. Photo by Nick Tortajada.

In the words of Houston Food Finder editor and publisher Phaedra Cook, “Culinary Institute Lenôtre has a very important role in putting new professionals into hospitality jobs that badly need filling.” The school was founded in 1998 by Alain and Marie Lenôtre. At any given time, Culinary Institute Lenôtre is teaching approximately 300 future culinary professionals through programs in culinary arts, pastry and restaurant management.

This is an excellent chance to try something different while supporting Houston’s culinary future. The two dinner services are Wednesday, April 12 and Friday, April 14 from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are available at Safina’s website and OpenTable.

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