James Beard Foundation Hosts “Taste America” Houston Event With 20 Chefs

2019 Taste America launch party.

The James Beard Foundation’s Taste America dinner series is coming to Houston. The event will be held in Silver Street Studios at 2000 Edwards, on Wednesday, June 29. This will be the kickoff event for Tasting America’s 10th annual dinner series, which is being held this year in 20 cities. The evening features dishes from several well-known Houston chefs, as well as a few from out-of-town.

The festive dinner is expected to be lively and casual, with nine walk-around tasting stations, multiple bars, music from DJ Seek (also known to Houston diners as Robin Wong of Blood Bros BBQ) and interactive visual art installations from Input Output.

The menu is already revealed,  and bites include as Cured Salmon with Tamarind Tiger Fry from Dawn Burrell of Late August and Hickory-Smoked Catfish with Deconstructed Dirty Rice by Michelle Wallace of Gatlin’s BBQ. Tony Nguyen and Christine Ha, 2022 James Beard Foundation Award Best Chef: Texas nominees are representing their restaurant, Xin Chao, with Vietnamese Wagyu Meatballs.

The two visiting chefs are Cassie Shortino from Phoenix who is serving Smoked Pork Loin with Pickled Blueberries and Chicago’s Gustav Baharona, who’s dishing out Squid Noodles with Wahyu XO Sauce.

The full lineup of chefs also includes Rebecca Mason of Fluff Bake Bar, Ruben Ortega of H-Town Restaurant Group (Hugo’s, Xochi and others), Evelyn Garcia of KinHTX, who made a big, national splash this year as the Top Chef: Houston runner-up, and Kaitlin Steets of Theodore Rex. The full menu for the evening is available here.

Michelle Wallace of Gatlin's BBQ.
Michelle Wallace of Gatlin’s BBQ is representing Houston on the TasteTwenty. Photo by Point and Click Photography.

This year, TasteAmerica is also launching a new program called TasteTwenty. This program is a collective of 20 chefs from around the country who are acting as ambassadors and organizing the chefs’ dinners. 

Proceeds from the event will go to support the participating chefs’ restaurants, and to help fund many of the James Beard Foundation’s programs, including the Open for Good campaign dedicated to helping independent restaurants rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.

General admission tickets for the dinner are $175, and premier tickets, which include access to the event starting an hour earlier, as well as special bites and beverages, can be purchased online.

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