Houston Pastry Chef Injured in SXSW Crash

Categories: News

Photo courtesy Mark's American Cuisine
Gracie Nguyen with chef Mark Cox at Mark's.
On March 13, a drunk driver barreled into a crowd of concert-goers at the SXSW music festival in Austin, killing two people and injuring another 23 people. One of those injured is the pastry chef at Mark's American Cuisine, Gracie Nguyen.

Nguyen, 23, was in Austin for the music festival, and 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens attempted to flee from police and drove through a barricade into a crowd that included Nguyen. He's been formally charged with capital murder. Nguyen remains hospitalized at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin with fractures to her skull, left leg and right knee.

A fundraising page to help cover her medical expenses has been set up by her friends and family.

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Shooting at Adair Kitchen Shocks Galleria Residents and Workers

Categories: News

Photo courtesy Adair Kitchen
The chalkboard inside Adair Kitchen bears a message of support for a wounded colleague.
Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, March 11, two workers were shot while leaving their jobs at Adair Kitchen , which is located at 5161 San Felipe.

According to the police report, the victims, 31-year-old Estela Renteria, a cook, and 20-year-old Jose Isabel-Amador Vasquez, a dishwasher, were approached by two men with pistols as they were getting into their vehicle to leave. The men robbed and then shot the two victims before fleeing on foot.

Vasquez was grazed by a bullet, but Renteria was shot in the head and remains in the hospital in critical condition. She is expected to survive.

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Kevin Naderi to Face Off at Iron Fork Against...

We have secured a second chef for the third annual Iron Fork competition at this year's Menu of Menus Extravaganza. This brave fellow will be competing against Kevin Naderi of Roost in a secret-ingredient cooking challenge moderated by Randy Evans of Haven to determine which of them is the Iron Fork master.

Here are some hints:

  • He was born in Manhattan...Kansas.
  • He has worked with Lucky Dog Rescue to raise money and foster homeless dogs.
  • He never went to culinary school. Instead, he started as a line cook at the Aquarium at Kemah.
  • He served as the private chef for country singer George Strait.
  • He's an avid fisherman, and that comes through in much of his Gulf Coast-influenced cooking.
  • His last meal would probably be a rib eye, pounded out, chicken-fried, with mashed potatoes and gravy on it.

  • Any guesses?

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    Houston Celebrates Multiple James Beard Award Nominations for 2014

    Photo courtesy James Beard Foundation
    The nominees were announced on Wednesday, and Houston received several nods.
    The prestigious James Beard Award semifinalists were announced this week, and Houston is represented well by four individuals and one bar in three different categories.

    Anvil Bar & Refuge was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program for the third consecutive year, while Chris Shepherd, Hugo Ortega and Justin Yu were all nominated for Best Chef: Southwest. Rounding out the list of Houston nominees is part-time Houstonian Philip Speer, nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef for his work at Uchi in Austin and here in Houston.

    This is the third nomination for Shepherd, who was previously a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category for Underbelly and a finalist for Best Chef: Southwest. It's also the third nomination for Hugo's chef Ortega, who was a finalist for Best Chef Southwest in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Yu was nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year and Oxheart was nominated for Best New Restaurant. This is Speer's second nomination in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category, and it's the fourth year Bobby Heugel of Anvil has gotten a nod, either individually (Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional) or for the bar.

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    Houston Restaurant News Site B4-U-Eat Is No More

    Categories: News

    Screenshot by Kaitlin Steinberg
    The final weekly newsletter was delivered on Wednesday, February 12.
    This morning it was working and bringing Houstonians news of restaurant openings and closings, and this afternoon it is no more.

    When we tried to access B4-U-Eat.com today, we found the following message from the administrators:

    Screenshot by Kaitlin Steinberg
    When you go to the website, this is all that you see.

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    Where's the Beef? California Company Recalls Nearly 9 Million Pounds of Meat

    Photo courtesy USDA
    Maybe switch to pork for a little while...
    Rancho Feeding Corporation of Petaluma, California, was forced to recall 8.7 million pounds of beef this past weekend due to improper inspection. And of course, some of the meat in the recall made its way to Texas, because it's not like we have a gazillion of our own cows here or anything.

    The United States Department of Agriculture issued a press release on February 8 that listed the health risk as "high," but it took a few days for details about where the recalled meat had been shipped to surface. According to the press release, Rancho Feeding Corporation "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."


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    Lay's Flavor Contest Is Back, So We've Created Some Houston-Inspired Flavors Of Our Own

    Images created by Brooke Viggiano on dousaflavor.com
    We think Houston's doing the world a "flavor" with these inspired combinations.
    Last month, potato chip brand Lay's brought back its "Do Us A Flavor" contest, which invites fans all over the nation to submit their ideas for the next great potato chip flavor. What's in it for the fans, you ask? Well, a $1 million grand prize, for starters. Plus eternal glory and ultimate bragging rights in front of all your annoying friends on Facebook and Twitter.

    Now through April 5, 2014, entries can be submitted for three potato chip forms -- Lay's Original, Lay's Kettle Cooked and/or Lay's Wavy -- with up to three flavorings of your choosing for each entry. And this year, the company has upped the finalists from three to four, meaning four flavors will be created and brought to store shelves for fan voting.

    Well, since this is all too exciting and we want to revel in the fact that Houston has one of the most badass food scenes around, we've come up with a few chip ideas of our own, based on some of our favorite dishes in Houston.

    Here are Five Houston Dishes that Should Be Lay's Next Flavor:

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    Minimum-Wage Increase Could Mean Higher Restaurant Prices

    Photo by Andinarvaez
    Fast-food workers could soon be making more money.
    Last Tuesday during President Obama's State of the Union address, fast-food workers and their fellow minimum-wage workers were an important topic. Obama called for the minimum wage for federal workers to be raised from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. He also called for an increase in the minimum wage across the country, a move that would help people in the restaurant, construction and retail industries (among others) to make a "living wage."

    But while many see a pay increase as a positive step toward reducing income inequality, the restaurant industry worries that operators will have to raise food prices to respond to the higher labor costs. The National Restaurant Association reports that a higher minimum wage could lead to more expensive food, fewer employees, a drop in the quality of food that is served and fewer franchises.

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    Woodlands Market Hubbell & Hudson to Close

    Photo courtesy Hubbell & Hudson
    The gourmet market at Hubbell & Hudson will be closing in the next few months.
    A beloved market in the Woodlands will soon leave residents without nearby access to dry-aged beef, farm-to-market produce and cooking classes -- at least until Whole Foods opens there in 2015.

    Hubbell & Hudson market and cooking school will be closing, reported CultureMap's Eric Sandler, after rumors started swirling on Facebook over the weekend. Though the bistro and kitchen will remain open, Sander writes that the rest of the venture will be closed by March 12, if not sooner. An unnamed source provided CultureMap with documents proving the grocery store has lost millions since it opened, and consultants for the company did not believe it could compete with Whole Foods or nearby H-E-Bs.

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    Velveeta Cheesepocalypse Causes Queso Contemplation

    Photo courtesy Velveeta
    Everyone knows the Egyptians invented queso.
    When you hear the word "queso," what do you picture?

    If you live anywhere outside of South Texas, you probably see cheese, possibly a Mexican cheese like queso fresco or cotija.

    If you grew up with Tex-Mex in your life like I did, you hear queso and think of a warm, soothing bowl of melted yellow cheese with chunks of red and green peppers

    Of course, the shorthand queso actually refers to chile con queso, a Tex-Mex staple that doesn't contain that much cheese if it's made properly. And by "made properly," I mean with a log of Velveeta and a can of Ro*Tel.

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