Creative, Indulgent Risottos by Some of Houston's Most Regarded Chefs Shine at 10th International Risotto Festival
Photos by Carla Soriano The People's Choice of the 10th International Risotto Festival was awarded to Triniti's risotto -- "a take on dirty rice," as Chef Ryan Hildebrand described it.
The 10th International Risotto Festival held this past weekend at the Houston Design Center showcased the versatility of the beloved Italian grain. Fifteen chefs from Houston restaurants showcased their versions of risotto in a competition judged by both the public and a panel of judges that included The Honorable Consul General of Italy, Fabrizio Nava; Tanji Patton, host and producer of GoodTasteTV; and James Brock, managing editor of the Houston Press.
Whether or not the competing chefs serve risotto on their menus or their restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine, each one brought a delicious version of the traditional dish to the table. Chef Brandi McHan of Vic & Anthony's produced a thick and rich lobster and three-cheese risotto. Prego impressed with its Texas Rabbit Risotto, one of the restaurant's current seasonal dishes, which features caramelized butternut squash, roasted potatoes, leeks and local rabbit -- the work of their chef John Watt. The hearty dish was molto delizioso and was a great demonstration of incorporating local and seasonal ingredients. Philippe's entry in the competition, crafted by chef Manuel Pucha, went out on a limb -- the greenest risotto of them all, the dish was bathed in a creamy roasted poblano broth, incorporated fennel pollen, and was topped with crispy bacon.
Phillipe's was the greenest risotto of them all, and was bathed in a creamy roasted poblano broth. It also incorporated fennel pollen.