Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Young Texans Against Cancer “Kiss My Grits” cook off. I have to thanks my new friend Mr. Jay Ducote from biteandbooze.com for showing me some AMAZING hospitality in my own city. Kiss My Grits was hosted by Winter Street Studios in Houston and featured eleven local chefs and their innovative approach to Grits. Mr. Ducote came in from Baton Rouge, LA to be a judge for the event and invited me as his “+1” even though I forewarned him that I was not putting out.
The Chefs and restaurants participating included:
§ Chef Jonathan Jones of Beaver’s
§ Chef Jamie Zelko of Zelko Bistro
§ Chef Elouise Adams of Ouisie’s Table
§ Chef Mark Holley of Pesce
§ Chef Jason Gould of Cyclone Anaya’s and Quench
§ Chef Randy Rucker of Bootsie’s Heritage Cafe
§ Chef Jeramie Robison of Zimm’s Little Deck and Restaurant Cinq
§ Chef Richard Knight of Feast
§ Chef Chris Shepherd of Catalan and
§ Chefs Seth & Hori of Kata Robata
§ Chef Randy Evans of Haven
The Chefs each had a unique
take on the theme ingredient of Grtis. Some stayed
traditional with shrimp and grits, others explored the globe producing things
like Chef Holley’s grit gnocchi, Chef Evans’ Grit Congee, and <Spoiler
Alert> Chefs Seth & Hori’s Kimchee grits.
My personal favorites of the
night were Chef Gould’s fried grit cake filled with pulled pork. The dish was
surprisingly light and balanced thanks to a corn mustard and apple and arugula
salad dressed in apple cider vinegar. I also enjoyed Chef Jones’ hyper local
grits cooked in Way Back When Dairy’s unpasteurized milk. These creamy grits
were served with a smokey pork shoulder, jus made
from the smoked pork bones, and parsley and flowers from Chef Jones’ garden at
Beavers. Rounding out my top three were Chef Zelko’s
Cheese grits, spicy sausage, and microgreen salad
dressed in a soy-agave glaze.
Guests were given a single
strand of red beads to vote on a fan favorite. It was a close call for my beads
between Chef Jones and Chef Zelko… Chef Zelko’s dish was excellent but she ran out of grits one
plate before me! Feeling like a judge on Top Chef by necklace went to my next
favorite preparation of grits- Chef Jones.
Many local companies also
sponsored the event including my favorite Houston Brewery St. Arnolds and benefits of the silent auction and ticket sales went
directly to YTAC. I’ll definitely be attending again next year! I’ll also be
eating at many of the restaurants that donated their time and food to the
event. Not only because EVERYTHING was delicious, but as a way of supporting
businesses that give back to the community and saying thank you to the chefs
The night did not end there…
After the Grits cook-off, Jay and I went to Red Bull Thre3style. A competition
for local DJ’s hosted by Red Bull. Each DJ is given 15 minutes to rock the
crowd… Right as Jay and I walk in the door he meets a college friend who
hooks us up with VIP wristbands… bottle service in the balcony? Yes PLEASE!
Good music, redbull
cocktails, and scantily clad 20-somethings… a good way to end the night.