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My Table Magazine Announces 2011 Houston Culinary Awards

Bobby Jucker of Three Brothers Bakery (center), winner of the 2011 Houston Culinary Award for Pastry Chef of the Year, with presenters Kim Scott of Oak Farms Dairy and Pastry Chef Ruben Ortega. • Jason Sherman, manager and wine director for Brennan’s (center), accepting the award for 2011 Outstanding Wine Service with (l-r) presenters Sam Ray of Republic National Distributing Co. and Jonathan Horowitz of The Tasting Room and Max’s Wine Dive. • Sous Chef Philipe Gaston of Haven, winner of the 2011 Houston Culinary Award for Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year with presenters (l-r) David Cordua of Cordua Restaurants and Chris Tripolie of a La Carte Food Service Consulting Group and event sponsor.

Houston’s top chefs, restaurateurs, industry professionals and local “foodies” gathered for the 2011 Houston Culinary Awards, held in the ballroom at the Hilton Hotel at the University of Houston. The awards, presented annually by My Table magazine and this year co-presented by Sysco, recognize Houston’s top culinary talent with awards given in 10 main categories, voted on by the dining public. For the second year, the event also included the 15 newer Foodie Star Awards. The 13th annual Legends of Houston Restaurants award was presented to Jim Gossen, president/CEO of Louisiana Foods Global Seafood Source and Jimmy G’s restaurant, and event proceeds benefited the Foodways Texas.

Winners of the 2011 Houston Culinary Awards are: Restaurateurs of the Year – Harris Pappas & Chris Pappas, Pappas Restaurant Group; Chef of the Year – Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s and Backstreet Cafe; Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year (age 35 or younger) – Philippe Gaston, Haven; Outstanding Wine Service – Brennan’s of Houston; Pastry Chef of the Year (includes breadmakers) – Bobby Jucker, Three Brothers Bakery; Outstanding Bar Service – Brennan’s of Houston; Service Person of the Year – Hector Andrade, Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar; Houston Classic (a restaurant in business for 10 or more years) – Niko Niko’s; and Best Interior Design – Brennan’s of Houston; Best New Restaurant (must have opened since June 1, 2010) – El Real Tex-Mex Cafe.

Winners of the 2011 Houston Food Star Awards are: Favorite Mom & Pop Ethnic – Niki Niko’s; Favorite Late Night Spot – Katz’s Deli; Favorite Bakery – Three Brothers Bakery; Favorite Mixologist – Justin T. Burrow; Favorite Barbecue – Luling City Market; Favorite Food Truck/Cart – Eatsie Boys; Favorite Breakfast – The Breakfast Klub; Favorite Supermarket – H-E-B; Favorite Burger – Hubcap Grill; Favorite Pub or Bar – The Ginger Man; Favorite Coffeehouse – Brasil; Favorite Sweets/Ice Cream – Amy’s Ice Creams; Favorite Houston Food Blog – 29-95.com; Favorite Wine Seller – Central Market; and Favorite Outdoor Dining – Brenner’s Steakhouse on the Bayou.

The event, which has been called by some “the Oscars of Houston restaurant awards,” has grown a great deal from its humble beginnings 15 year ago. “Our first two Culinary Awards events were cocktail receptions held at Neiman-Marcus and included just four awards,” says event founder Teresa Byrne-Dodge, also editor/publisher of My Table magazine, “and the voting was by a few hundred members of the Houston restaurant industry. Since then we’ve increased the awards first to 10 and then, in 2010, to 25 awards. And today the voting is online and citywide.”

The menu for this year’s awards dinner was created by a phenomenal committee of Houston’s top “young gun” chefs, including Jason Hauck of The Modular, Maurizio Ferrarese of Quattro at Four

Seasons Houston Hotel, Jeramie Robison of Restaurant Cinq at La Colombe d’Or, Matt Marcus of the Eatsie Boys, Grant Gordon of Tony’s, and pastry chef Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar (and currently on the Bravo series Top Chef Just Desserts), with bread provided by Heath Wendell of Slow Dough Bread Co. and coffee by Houston’s own Katz Coffee. The chefs were welcomed and assisted by Abass Jaffari, executive chef of the Hilton University of Houston, and students from the highly regarded Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel & Restaurant Management worked side-by-side with the chefs to cook and plate the stellar meal.

This year, the magazine proudly be­stowed its 13th annual Legends of Houston Restaurants Award to Jim Gossen, president/CEO of Jimmy G’s restaurant and Louisiana Foods Global Seafood Source, which has grown from a single truck in 1979, purchasing Gossen’s favorite foods from Grand Isle, New Orleans and cities throughout Southern Louisiana for sale in Houston. Louisiana Foods now operates 24 hours a day in two processing plants with more than 100 employees and purchases seafood from around the world in addition to the Gulf Coast.

Gossen is an expert on the topic of Gulf seafood and an advocate for the fishermen of the region, as well as an ardent supporter of sustainable seafood practices.

Because of his contribution to the Houston culinary scene and his dedication to the promotion and preservation of the Gulf Coast seafood and its seafood industry, My Table recognized Gossen with this special award. And in honor of his award, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, was officially proclaimed “Jim Gossen Day” in the city of Houston by Mayor Annise Parker.

Event beneficiary is Foodways Texas, an organization that works to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.



On June 23, 2011, a nominating com­mittee composed of local food writers, restaurant-industry professionals and dedicated foodies gathered in the community room at Central Market to discuss, vote on and present the slate of finalists in the 10 main categories honored and the 15 Houston Foodie Star nominations. Finalists in all categories were posted for online voting at HoustonCulinaryAwards.com by the general public. Nearly 7,000 votes were received.

The Houston Culinary Awards were founded in 1997 to recognize and honor local chefs, restaurants and restaurateurs exhibiting high standards and likely to make a lasting impact for years to come. To view a list of all the finalists, go to my-table.com/archives/sidedish/2011/07/.

Maria Pappas, Alex Brennan-Martin of Brennan’s, Georgea Pappas and Chris Pappas of Pappas Restaurants, winner of the 2011 Restaurateurs of the Year award along with brother Harris Pappas.

Eleni Fetokakis of Niko Niko’s accepting the restaurant’s Foodie Star Award for Favorite Mom & Pop Ethnic Restaurant. The restaurant also won the 2011 award for Houston Classic.

Former Houston Chronicle food editor Ann Criswell with Chef Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s and Backstreet Cafe, winner of the 2011 Chef of the Year Award.




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