My Table's 15th Annual Houston Culinary Awards

Categories: Edible Events

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All of the evening's winners posed for a group portrait at the end of the night. For more photos, head over to our slideshow.
"This is a great city to work in," said Hugo Ortega as he accepted his award for Chef of the Year at last night's My Table's Houston Culinary Awards. "And this is truly a great country," he finished to loud cheers and applause. It was well-deserved recognition for the man who fought his way out of one of Mexico City's worst slums to eventually become the executive chef and owner of the highly acclaimed Hugo's along with wife Tracy Vaught.

Along with Hugo's, plenty of other Houston classics were recognized at the 15th annual awards ceremony. Several of these classics scooped up several awards each, including Niko Niko's (for Houston Classic and for Favorite Mom & Pop Ethnic), Three Brothers Bakery (Pastry Chef of the Year and Favorite Bakery) and Brennan's (Best Interior Design, Best Bar Service and Best Wine Service). Haven took home two awards of its own, too, for Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year (which went to sous chef Jean Philippe Gaston) and Favorite Mixologist (which went to Justin Burrow).

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Jim Gossen shows off his well-deserved proclamation from the City of Houston.
And a Houston classic of a different sort was recognized last night, as Jim Gossen was presented with the 13th annual Legends of Houston Restaurants award.

Gossen has been instrumental in importing now-popular Cajun foods and fish to Houston since he opened Don's Seafood in the 1980s. He was also honored with a proclamation from the City of Houston, to which Gossen simply responded later with a grin: "I can't believe they'd honor a poor, old, coon-ass boy like me."

It was the second year for My Table to have readers cast their votes for 15 Houston Food Stars in addition to the 10 standard Houston Culinary Awards.

Eating Our Words was nominated in the Favorite Houston Food Blog category, but lost to 29-95. Greg Morago of the Chronicle accepted the award to his great surprise, the same surprise that made Ryan Soroka and Matt Marcus of the Eatsie Boys leap gleefully up from their table in the Hilton College's ballroom to accept their award for Favorite Food Truck.

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Randy Evans (left) of Haven congratulates his sous chef, Jean Philippe Gaston, on his award.
Not all winners were on hand, however, especially in the Houston Food Stars category. The $150 ticket price -- while going to benefit Foodways Texas -- was deemed too steep for many chefs and other nominees. While there has been some grumbling the past two years about My Table not giving free tickets to nominees, there are two sides to every argument.

As it stands, the event sells out every year and had to be moved to a larger venue last year -- the Hilton College at the University of Houston -- just to accommodate the expanded awards ceremony. If all of the nominees were given tickets, where would they all go? I don't have the answer, which is why I'm not in the business of organizing events.

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Rebecca Masson's dessert was a hit.
In spite of this, the event proceeded smoothly throughout the evening as guests dined on food prepared by some of this year's nominees. Grant Gordon of Tony's teamed up with Matt Marcus on the main course, while Jeramie Robison from CINQ offered up an unusual salted cod with avocado as the appetizer. But it was Rebecca Masson's silky chocolate syllabub for dessert that was the hit of our table.

KUHF's St. John Flynn announced the Houston Food Stars awards before proceeding to the "big" awards of the night. Chris and Harris Pappas took home the coveted Restaurateur of the Year award, while El Real Tex-Mex Cafe gathered up their entire crew to take home the Best New Restaurant award.

It was the second time Robb Walsh took the stage that evening, after thanking My Table for presenting Foodways Texas with a check to support the organization's mission of preserving and promoting Texas food culture.

As the evening wound down amidst hugs and photo opps, and the chefs headed to the afterparty at Grand Prize Bar, Greg Morago echoed Hugo Ortega's earlier remarks on stage: "You know, I love this city," Morago said. "We all fuss and fight but at the end of the day, it's just such a great community."

For the entire list of winners, head to the next page. And for more photos, check out our slideshow.


Location Info

Venue

Map

Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
flaggler
flaggler

I won't go so far as to say that My Table is written entirely for the old and infirm, but Teresa Byrne-Dodge its publisher was a Houston flack who once wrote "restaurant reviews" for the Houston Post, until it was revealed her method was pay for play, and she had to label them as what they were: advertisements. That alone discredits what they do.

Dineroo
Dineroo

El Real?  That place is horrible.  The fix is in.  My Table Loses all creditability.  Totally.

joe mex-tex
joe mex-tex

shouldn't they call this 'INSIDE THE LOOP or RIVEROAKS AWARDS' ?

Cangensian
Cangensian

As usual, the voting in My Table stuff comes from the old and infirm, the suburban dinner jacket crowd that is a passionately and knowingly a few years behind the times, even as Houston is six years behind the times. So congrats to all! John Sheely,advice: step up your game a few years! You'll soon be the hit for trendy blue hairs if you innovate a touch, in place of those Niko's migrants. 

Bb12
Bb12

How do you justify writing an article on the awards without mentioning that the Pappas Brothers won Restaurateurs of the Year? Isn't that the top award?

Shame.

Hugo0002
Hugo0002

Are you kidding me El Real as Best New Restaurant? What is it based on? Good location? Food is terrible, service worse.  Pretty embarrassing for Houston that they would choose a mediocre tex mex restaurant who clearly hasn't gotten any good reviews. I for one and have been and took some clients from out of town and regretted it.  What about Pondicheri and Philippe--two new restaurants that shine and represent France and India so beautifully.

Hflerler
Hflerler

My Table HAD any cred?

Ever? 

They introduce themselves and ask restaurant people questions. I've seen Theresa herself do it herself, and heard of her minions doing the same. Zero cred. Their readers are too unquestioning to even challenge this method of 'criticism'. 

Dennisonu92
Dennisonu92

on occasion, they do have some new people in the nominations and even winning. but you're right it's a pretty tired and old group. it's news that sheely isn't there, or cordua. maybe my table readers are finally getting out.

You are a sad little person
You are a sad little person

You know what is old and infirm? the fact that you have commented now multiple times on multiple articles on this blog that My Table readers are old and infirm. If I remember correctly, this is also not the first time you have made negative comments towards John Sheely and Mockingbird Bistro -- probably under another name, of course. Nobody has to agree with anybody but you're getting "old" and BORING. Get OVER it. Obviously it is some sort of an issue for you because you're all about mocking and putting down that publication and that chef, one of several that you are jealous of. Feeling left out, are we? Why else would you make it a point to again comment about the same stuff?

But guess what, negative nancy, you'll never be respected no matter how many "new spins" you put on your gimmick. Yes, YOU, Cangensian. Not because of the universe being against you, but because you're a sad little person. We all know you want to be liked. Who doesn't? Oh, okay, you don't care (hehe) what people think, right?You're not doing yourself any favors. I know that if you were a *successful* and well liked fill-in-the-blank you wouldn't have to go around trolling the internet and using fake names, putting down people to feel better about your own self-loathing and self-destruction. There, that is something new for you to comment/blog/tweet about so you can go embarrass yourself again!! Maybe in a few years after you finally mature and get some serious help for your self esteem problems you'll be a success where you won't have to be an unkind person to feel better about yourself? 

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Their award is mentioned in the paragraph that begins: "KUHF's St. John Flynn announced the Houston Food Stars awards before proceeding to the "big" awards of the night." How do you justify commenting rudely on an article without reading it? Isn't that what reading comprehension is?

Shame.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

All of the winners were chosen by My Table's readers, so you'd have to ask them.  :)

KeepGoing
KeepGoing

"They introduce themselves and ask restaurant people questions." Sorry, when was that a bad thing? The reviewers and writers of reviews do NOT ask anyone questions, FYI. As you probably know, Teresa is the editor and publisher, not the lone writer or critic. Yeah, she introduces herself to people and is friendly. Damn those manners and that kindness! You're an idiot.

FlagglerR
FlagglerR

I agree! It makes no difference if My Table readers are old and infirm; they are people too and they like food. Many of them proudly wear the 'foodie' badge, and they embrace all the lastest trends like food trucks and prohibition style drinks. They are modern beyond their blazers, and urban despite their well travelled Suburbans!

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