About The Awards
Since founding the Houston Culinary Awards in 1997, My Table magazine has grown the annual awards program from a small cocktail party to a gala sit-down dinner for 340. These are Houston’s most prestigious awards in the local food, hospitality, wine and beverage world. This year a total of 10 Houston Culinary Awards will be presented, and 13 Houston Foodie Star Awards – a category of casual “favorites” awards introduced in 2010 – will also be announced.
In addition, each year a prominent Houstonian is selected by the nominating committee to receive a special award that celebrates his or her lifetime contribution to the local restaurant industry. This Legend of Houston Restaurants Award has been given to restaurant leaders, culinarians, innovators and philanthropists. Past honorees have included Brock Wagner (founder of Saint Arnold Brewing Company), Jim Goode (founder of the Goode Company group of restaurants), Jim Gossen (founder of Louisiana Foods Global Seafood Source and ecological champion), Alex Brennan-Martin (owner of Brennan’s of Houston and philanthropist) and Houston Chronicle’s award-winning restaurant critic and columnist Alison Cook. Tony and Donna Vallone received the 2015 Legends of Houston Restaurants Award.
Our 2016 Legend of Houston Restaurants Award will be presented to Felix Florez, founder of Black Hill Meats and Ranch to Kitchen Home Delivery and partner at Ritual for his work in creating awareness of heritage meats.
Florez was a familiar face for several years in Houston restaurants, starting out working for the Pappas family and Robert Del Grande’s Rio Ranch, and continued to make a name for himself at Gravitas, Kraftsmen Baking, Benjy’s and, finally, Brennan’s of Houston, where he served as wine director. Before that, he was an Austin restaurateur for seven years — understanding every single component of the restaurant industry at a very young age. With Hollywood-style Texas grit, he left the restaurant world for an even more labor-intensive career and began ranching full-time in 2010. His company, Black Hill Meats, provides humanely raised heritage livestock to restaurants, while Ranch to Kitchen offers Houstonians the same high quality meats delivered to their homes.
HOW THE HOUSTON CULINARY AWARDS WORK: A nominating committee made up of local food writers, restaurant professionals, Houston Culinary Awards sponsors and dedicated foodies gather in late June to discuss hundreds of possible nominees. After much discussion (and wine), the slate is winnowed down to seven finalists in each of the 25 award categories. The ballot is posted online for review throughout July, and voting goes live August 1. After the voting closes August 31, the winners’ names are sent to the artist who prepares the awards.
SPONSORSHIPS: Several sponsorship levels are available for the Houston Culinary Awards. These various packages, which begin at $1,850, include tickets to the awards dinner, print advertising in My Table magazine, links to your website from houstonculinaryawards(dot)com, an invitation to your company representative to be on the nominating committee and a full-page ad in the evening’s program. For more information, call publisher Teresa Byrne-Dodge at 713-529-5500.
THE DINNER:A team of local celebrity chefs prepare the Houston Culinary Awards dinner, each taking a course. Cocktail reception begins at 6 pm, followed by the seated dinner at 7 pm.
TICKETS:The Houston Culinary Awards dinner is open to the public, and tickets go on sale August 1, the same day that voting begins. The cost is $185 per person, and a table of 10 is $1,850. This dinner always sells out, so avoid disappointment and buy your tickets early.
ABOUT MY TABLE MAGAZINE: Launched in 1994 as a 12-page photocopied newsletter, My Table has evolved into an award-winning magazine that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014. In addition to the annual Houston Culinary Awards, My Table also sponsors the annual Caesar Salad Competition each October. The magazine, which is owned by Lazywood Press, recently published the third edition of its popular guidebook, The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide to Houston. Visit www.my-table.com for more information. My Table is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.