A feast for the senses dished up at The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Food and wine enthusiasts from around the nation dressed their best for The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase on Saturday, June 8 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. The cocktail and formal attire set the stage for the superior level of culinary delights prepared by chefs competing for the title “Chef of Chefs.”
The sprawling area within the convention center was filled with hard-at-work cooks busily preparing beautifully-presented, miniature plates from their makeshift kitchens. With several chefs working together at each station, the food preparation quarters were tight. The event featured more than 50 restaurants and hundreds of wines.
The sheer amount of food and wine choices was staggering. If from the start you planned to sample everything, your dwindling appetite showed that was an impossibility before even reaching the halfway point. Choices ranging from delectable seafood and gourmet lamb to spicy Thai dishes and mouth-watering desserts provided both savory and sweet options for all tastes.
Eunice Restaurant and Raw Bar served one of the most unique foods of the evening. Upon tasting the heirloom tomato watermelon gazpacho with Louisiana blue crab, my palate experienced flavors I never dreamed of combining. The imagination and creativity each of the chefs brought to the table provided a feast for the senses.
Only two plates remained on Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery’s table. The winners hadn’t even been announced, and this restaurant’s fare had all but been consumed. The San Antonio-based chef offered his house crawfish roll with spiced butter. After dipping the roll into the side of spiced butter, I took the most memorable bite of the evening. While I spoke with the chef, another person came searching for the restaurant’s fare after a friend shared how tasty it was. As the last two plates were spoken for, the chef began to pack up. The crowd’s quick consumption of Southerleigh’s house crawfish roll speaks volumes. The chef should return home with pride in knowing the succulent sandwiches were devoured with delight. Experiencing this dish is worthy of a road trip. San Antonio, here I come!
All of the chefs prepared delectable foods and hoped to leave with a win and prize money. The Waterford Crystal Chef of Chefs trophy and $5,000 cash was awarded to Brandon Silva with the Kirby group. Silva’s win resulted from the braised short rib with fermented cauliflower puree and Italian black truffle with red wine jus. Earning the victory seemed to mean a lot to Silva, who was elated and smiling ear to ear.
Using the word grand in the title of this event, The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase, rightly states the type of affair Wine and Food Week established 15 years ago at their outset. Other words could also have been chosen for the event such as marvelous, magnificent, sumptuous or superb. Don’t miss out on next year’s The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase.