Top Houston Chefs Battle to Make the Best Truffle Dishes in Luxurious Event — Updated
The Truffle Masters, an annual event from luxury ingredient purveyor DR Delicacy, is returning to an in-person format for the first time in two years on Monday, March 7. As was the case in 2020, it’s being hosted at the C. Baldwin Hotel at 400 Dallas in downtown Houston. A portion of proceeds benefits Texas Food & Wine Alliance, a non-profit organization that fosters awareness and innovation in the Texas culinary community through grants, educational programming and events. This year’s event is sponsored by Texan Bank.
In 2021, diners were invited to try dishes on their own at participating restaurants and vote for the winners, not just in Houston, but in three other Texas cities: Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. The Houston winner was chef Billy Kin, formerly of Hidden Omakase. (Chef Niki Vongthong is now in charge of that restaurant. Both chefs are competing again this year, with Kin representing his new place, Kinokawa.)
As the name implies, Houston chefs are challenged to make the best dishes possible using coveted (and expensive) black truffles, and attendees can try them all in a walk-around tasting format. Here are the
24 27 chefs competing this year (list updated on 3/2/2022):
- Jose Arevalo, Brennan’s of Houston
- Alex Au-Yeung, Phat Eatery
- Angelo Cuppone, Concura
- Robert Del Grande, Turner’s and The Annie Cafe & Bar
- Willet Feng, burger-chan
- Maurizio Ferrarese, Alba at Hotel Granduca
- Troy Guard, Guard and Grace
- Charlie Ho, Le Colonial
- Michael Hoffman, Brasserie 19
- Manabu Horiuchi, Kata Robata (a three-time winner)
- Mayank Istwal, Musaafer
- Yoshi Katsuyama, AYA Sushi (forthcoming restaurant)
- Billy Kin, Kinokawa (2021 winning chef while at Hidden Omakase)
- Luis Lopez, Killen’s Steakhouse
- Michal Michaeli, Badolina Bakery & Cafe
- Joe Murphy, Nobu Houston
- Jeff Potts, 93’ Til
- Luis Roger, BCN Taste & Tradition/MAD (pastry chef Karla Espinosa’s dessert won for the team in 2020)
- Jose Ruiz, a’Bouzy
- Jaime Salazar, Warehouse 72
- Austin Simmons, TRIS (previous winner)
- Donovan Wood, Steak 48
- Niki Vongthong, Hidden Omakase (2021 winning restaurant)
- LJ Wiley, Trattoria Sofia
- J.D. Woodward, 1751 Sea and Bar
- Sherman Yeung, Money Cat (a forthcoming restaurant; also of Tobiuo in Katy)
- Justin Yoakum, Liberty Kitchen
The event this year is offering only VIP-level tickets. Regular VIP is $295 and includes tastings from all restaurants, additional dishes such as hor d’oeuvres and desserts, and wine and other beverages to go alongside. Patron VIP is $395, and those attendees also get access to the Reserved Patron Lounge with premium wines and Champagne, a caviar bar and truffle chocolates. There’s also a special Patron pin and gift bag, and a VIP pre-party from 6 to 7 p.m. with chefs, judges and sponsors in attendance. Chef-owner David Skinner of Eculent and Meticulous Spirits are also hosting an espresso martini bar featuring machines from French coffee roaster Malongo, and there’s also a silent auction and raffle.
“We are so pleased to be back in person this year for the Truffle Masters,” said Diane Roederer, CEO & owner of DR Delicacy. “Being together as we are amazed and delighted by the dishes Houston’s culinary masters can create with the truffle is such a wonderful experience. When you consider we’re also raising funds to support the important work by our friends at the Texas Food & Wine Alliance, it’s easy to see why this has become one of our city’s favorite nights. We can’t wait to share it again.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased online.
Editor’s note: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated the winning chef of 2021. We apologize for the error.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.