Wine & Food Week awards $5,000 to Chef Masaru Fukuda, capping a night of culinary artistry

By: Debra Ford
| Published 06/12/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX - An epicurean masterpiece it was. The 19TH Annual celebration of Wine & Food Week concluded in The Woodlands with a $5,000 check presentation and final closing ceremony capping off an extraordinary week of culinary and winemaking achievement and intersection of the arts for the theme Wine + Food = Art. Foodie friends, chefs, and winemakers from across the U.S. along with visual and performing artists all raised a glass in honor of this annual food fete. All total, the week featured chef teams totaling more than 125, 75 restaurants, 500 wines, numerous educational seminars, and various culinary events ranging from Rose’ Way, A Sweet Soiree to the elegant Ladies of the Vine Tasting, Luncheon & Panel Discussion and culminating in the climatic and show-stopping Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase. A highlight was the celebratory toast to long-time food journalist Patricia Sharpe, Executive Editor, and restaurant columnist for Texas Monthly, who was inducted into the Wine & Food Week Hall of Fame.

The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase was the ultimate adult evening out where guests sipped from a selection of hundreds of wines and sampled dishes like, seared A5 Wagyu with charred shallots and a smoked onion bearnaise by Chef Ricardo Bravo of The Woodlands Resort, Tamal De Elote: fresh corn tamal, corn cream, esquites, cotija cheese, and corn husk by Chef Beatriz Martines of Xalisko and an Antelope Meat Loaf with a chili crunch demi-glace, pomme puree served with a fraise a smoked tomato vinaigrette by Chef Jeff Balfour of Southerleigh. These decadent bites were created by 41 chefs competing for the Goya Foods Chef of Chefs Award judged by an esteemed chef and culinary-trained food media panel.

Chef Masaru Fukuda with Pacha Nikkei took top honors including a $5,000 cash prize along with the trophy presented by GOYA Foods for his Lobster Ceviche—poached lobster guanabana (soursop) leche de tigre, Peruvian corn, crushed cancha, cherry blossom powder & sweet potato air.

Second Place went to Chef Alex Au-Yeung of Phat Eatery for a steamed Lobster Dumpling with a sesame scallion aioli topped with pickled red onions, a bell pepper trio, shaved green scallions, scallion oil, and a lime zest.

Third place went to Chef Urvin Croes from Infini Aruba for a Tuna marinated in fermented seaweed served with pink lemonade cream, strawberry Pico de gallo and onion pop rocks.

“We had so much fun this year weaving artistic elements into our event line-up,” said Wine & Food Week Co-Founder Constance McDerby. With everything from performance art painting to ballet to artistic wine labels. The art theme was so fitting since everyone in this field takes such pride in whatever fills a glass or is plated for a guest. It’s why we have loved putting on this week-long event celebrating all things wine and food—the passion behind every creation. We were also thrilled to recognize a longtime colleague of ours, Patricia Sharpe. Not only is Pat an incredibly talented journalist with an impressive background, she has also been a lead judge on our culinary panel for over a decade and one of only six people to have received the Hall of Fame honor,” added McDerby.

Mixing, mingling and munching in the crowd were a who’s who of food and wine superstars including Bayway Cadillac owners Darryl and Linda Wischnewsky; Joe Casiano, Sr. Marketing Manager with H-E-B; Chef Urvin Croes from Aruba; Chef Alex Au-Yeung with Phat Eatery; Chef Paul Friedman, a past Chef of Chefs award winner, now with The Chef’s Table, Chef Fernando Desa with GOYA Foods, Chef Thomas Perez with Plane & Level and many more. Culinary judges included Pat Sharpe, Executive Chef Blaine Staniford, Chef Bart Black, Tanji Patton, Bravo TV Cutthroat Kitchen winner Chef Nancy Manlove, Executive Chef David Denis, Chef Keisha Griggs, Chef José Hernandez, Culinary Institute LeNotre Program Director Stephanie Lamour, and Chef Sunil Srivastava.

Wine & Food Week supports charitable organizations such as New Danville and The Woodlands Waterway Arts Council. Food & Vine Time Productions has raised well over two million dollars through various channels for local charities over the years.

Make plans to attend the Platinum Wine Vault August 11 at Bayway Cadillac and the H-E-B Wine Walk at Market Street on October 6. Information at

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