Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair’s Grand Tasting Features Acclaimed Chefs From Near And Far

small bites at The Grand Tasting

Don’t delay and get tickets now: The Grand Tasting, part of the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, is mere days away! It’s on Friday, April 7 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. It will reflect high-end culinary diversity. thanks to a bevy of national and local award-winning chefs. These include James Beard Award semifinalists from far away as well as many of Houston’s own top chefs.

Visiting from Tampa, Florida are James Beard Award semifinalists Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster & The Till (2017 semifinalist, “Best Chef South”) and Greg Baker of The Refinery as well as Fodder & Shine. Baker was a repeat Best Chef South nominee from 2012 through 2016 and The Refinery was a Best New Restaurant semifinalist in 2011.

Here are other acclaimed and award-winning chefs who will show off delectable bites at The Grand Tasting:

  • Chef Sunny Baweja of modern Indian restaurant Lehja in Richmond, Virginia
  • Preeminent butcher Jason Nauert of the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat in Colorado Spring
  • Frequent Food Network guests Brian and Shanna O’Hea from Academe at The Kennebunk Inn and Maine Lobster Pot Pie, both located in Kennebunk, Maine
  • Fernando Ruiz of Santacafé in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a recent winner of Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Guy’s Grocery Games” competitions
  • The 2016 Food Network “Grill Master Champion” Sophina Uong of Mestiza Taqueria in San Francisco
2016 SLWFA chefs
Dozens of acclaimed chefs from near and far are visiting to participate in the 2017 Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair! Shown is the 2016 group of participants. Photo by Shannon O’Hara

Of course, Sugar Land and the Greater Houston area have no lack of notable chef talent. Here are some of the local participants:

  • John Bogue, Ella’s Table at The Sheraton Houston Brookhollow
  • Ricky Cruz, Grotto Ristorante
  • Junnajet “Jett” Hurapan, Songkran Thai Grill
  • Richard Knight, “Breaking Bread” pop-ups (formerly of Feast and Hunky Dory)
  • Ryan Lachaine, Riel
  • Hassan Obaye, La Table
  • Ricardo Ramirez, The Palm
  • John Signorelli, The Remington at St. Regis
  • Scott Tycer, Kraftsmen Baking
  • Kourtenie Tyson, The Burning Pear
  • Antoine Ware, Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace
  • Jeff Weinstock, Cake & Bacon

Each of the chefs’ mouthwatering creations will be perfectly paired with delightful libations. Bubbles and rosé wine goes with just about everything, so several will be featured. Then, there are the “Killer B’s”: deep red wine offerings that include Boudreaux, Burgundy and Brunello). Don’t worry, craft beer lovers: there will be plenty of selections for you as well.

The Grand Tasting guests
The walkaround format of The Grand Tasting lets attendees pick which wines and small bites to try first! Feel free to make a beeline to your favorite chefs! Photo by Shannon O’Hara

Held in the elegant ballroom of the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square, this exquisite tasting is a night not to be missed. There will also be a silent auction that benefits the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management.

The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair was founded and produced in 2003 by the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce and benefits the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. For tickets, the full lineup and more information, please visit

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