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A Gala Night for Houston’s Star Chefs

Some of the finest culinary talent Houston has ever produced turned out at the Four Seasons tonight – along with super sommelier Sean Beck and a celeb bartender Bobby Heugel – to celebrate the first year the New York-based Star Chefs organization recognized our fair city. A major hit among the tastings was the shrimp and grits (pictured above) served up by chef Jamie Zelko of Zelko Bistro in the Heights.

The evening reception was a great opportunity for chefs to meet friends and fans alike, as Bryan Caswell of Reef is doing right here. Bryan was clearly enjoying the “relaxation” of serving trigger fish, since many of his recent days have been spent getting his El Real Tex-Mex homage ready to open on Westheimer near Montrose.

It’s all Scotch to me. At least that’s what the Zimmerman boys of La Colombe D’Or fame seem to be saying, or maybe they really are discussing the fine points of this particular single-malt. Their chef, Jeramie Robison of the hotel’s newly minted Cinq restaurant, was busy dishing up Australian short ribs.


A really different take on those same short ribs was delivered, not surprisingly, by Kata Robata – complete with broccoli puree, toasted nori yogurt, kaeshi sauce and wasabi vinaigrette.

In this shot, Kata Robata executive chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi (right) gets a bit of kitchen help dishing up traditional egg custard with shrimp, chicken, sea urchin, shiitake mushrooms and dashi.


Chef David Grossman of Branch Water Tavern (the man in black) was on hand for the Star Chefs event. His dish was roasted cervena venison with sweet potato-Brussels sprout hash, bacon confit and pomegranate jus.


One of the most popular booths didn’t serve any food at all. At the very bar where many Houtonians have enjoyed a pina colada while coming to the Four Seasons for a swim, Bobby Heugel of Anvil was more about shaking and stirring. If you want a crowd, serve alcohol.


One of the prettiest dishes seen all evening was a dessert created by Chris Leung of Randy Rucker’s Bootsie’s up in Tomball. Instead of making you guess, here’s what this one is: roasted Texas carrot and Ruby red grapefruit mousse, with grapefruit marmalade, hay sherbet, candied sesame seeds, clove meringue and miso foam. Now there’s a dessert that needs a few more different tastes!


About John DeMers

I've been a journalist and author forever. My favorite single word in the English language is "foodandwine." This spirit drives my 45 published books and my weekly radio show heard in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

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