Some things are widely taken for granted—ice, great cell phone reception, and, sous chefs. We hear the names of chefs with a certain air of prestige, but the sous chefs are often the cogs turning the wheel, and a restaurant wouldn’t be successful without them.
Three years ago, a handful of these cuisiniers banded together to begin a new tradition in which the second-in-commands now call the shots (and the sauces and the garnishes) and the diners are treated to some incredibly inventive delicacies, all done to support a great cause. 2016’s events mark the 3rd Annual Texas Sous Chef Dinner hosted by Justin Holt, sous chef at Lucia, and Downtown Dallas’s CBD Provisions.
Diners were treated to nine courses from 10 chefs each of two nights (a second night was introduced due to the popularity of previous years’ dinners). Each course the result of extraordinary ingenuity paired with ingredients of the highest quality; not a single dish of the nine left us feeling as though the envelope wasn’t pushed far enough and each incredibly unique. Each course was presented by its chef with words that were so titillating that you’d have to be catatonic for your mouth not to have watered in anticipation. If the promise of incredible dishes wasn’t enough, Bolsa’s Kyle Hilla mixed some accompanying cocktails that complimented the food perfectly.
I was lucky enough to attend the second of the two nights, and each evening was presented by a different set of sous chefs. Night one saw dishes from Dallas staples like The Grape and the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek along with Austin and Houston outliers. There was a huge amount of talent in the kitchen that evening and we’re sure to see these names rise to be the famous names we hear so often.
The outstanding dishes of the evening were lightly smoked sturgeon with preserved cumcuats and caviar (Neal Liston, Knife, Dallas), a deconstructed and reconstructed pig head with shellfish escabeche (Cullen Holle, Shuck Shack, Austin), and a complex black pepper cavatelli with smoked fondue and three day-braised short ribs (Mat Urban, Americano, Dallas). My favorite dish of the evening by far was a smoked brahman from Patrick Feges from Houston’s Southern Goods–a bull hump smoked for days and served with a cherry watermelon bourbon BBQ.
For three years now, Texas’s sous chefs have fed us at this incredible event to benefit No Kid Hungry and have been very successful in doing so–so successful that this year they introduced a second night. With any luck, in 2017 there will be three nights.
Sunday, June 12
- Justin Holt, Lucia (Dallas)
- Joel Orsini, Filament (Dallas)
- Ben Leath, CBD Provisions (Dallas)
- Scott Girling, The Grape (Dallas)
- Alex Astranti, Top Knot (Dallas)
- Nick Walker, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas)
- Max Sage, Fixe (Austin)
- Steve Moore, Foreign & Domestic (Austin)
- Emmanuel Chavez, Compass Group / Brink Dining (Houston)
- Kim Nguyen, Fluff Bake Bar (Houston)
Monday, June 13
- Justin Holt, Lucia (Dallas)
- Coner Seargeant, CBD Provisions (Dallas)
- Josh Healy, Filament (Dallas)
- Mat Urban, Americano (Dallas)
- Neal Liston, Knife (Dallas)
- Antonio Ibarra, Small Brew Pub (Dallas)
- Steve Hoogeboom, Grace (Fort Worth)
- Cullen Hole, Shuck Shack (San Antonio)
- Patrick Feges, Southern Goods (Austin)
- PJ Edwards, Chicon (Austin)