On Monday night, a live band set the stage in the swanky, industrial chic loft of the Astorian for a night of pure decadence: the Second Annual Truffle Chef Charity Challenge, which featured dishes laced with truffles from approximately 20 top Houston chefs. The chefs competed in the double blind judging competition for the grand prize of one kilogram of black truffles, valued at $1,500, with all proceeds going towards the Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Tickets—$150 for regular admission and $250 for VIP—provided access to an overwhelming number of delicious bites from all the restaurants.

Some standouts included Monica Pope’s (of Sparrow fame) truffle polenta garnished with braised veal cheeks and radish sprouts, the supremely fun “Eggs and Truffles” dish from Robert del Grande of RDG + Bar Annie, which featured soft scrambled eggs inside an egg shell, blanketed in a velvety sabayon huitlacoche and shavings of black truffle, as well as the braised beef cheeks over celery root puree and celery remoulade with truffle by Manuel Pucha of La Table.

Other delicious dishes ranged the gamut from a wagyu truffle sushi roll from Benjamin Berg at B&B Butchers to “green eggs and ham” (truffled basil eggs and bacon jalapeno jam) from Levi Rollins of Urban Eats. In the end, Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata took home the grand prize with his cold soba noodle dish with mushrooms, fresh uni, uni foam and truffle shavings.

Rounding out the evening with pink salt chocolate truffles from Araya, goat cheese truffles from Mostly Chocolate, and Double Truffles billed as “the most expensive s’more you’ll ever eat” by chef Michael Pellegrino (truffle-infused honey and homemade marshmallow inside a shell of dark chocolate dipped in graham cracker crumbs, shaved truffle and sea salt) made for a perfectly sweet ending.

The event also included a silent auction, where guests could bid on a wide range of items, from multi-course dinners at many of the participating restaurants to gift baskets from local establishments to high-end kitchen appliances and more.

Keep an eye out for next year’s event—this is an absolute must for any truffle-lover! And even if you’re not obsessed with truffles, the beautiful locale, good cause, and abundance of creativity from the crowd of top-notch chefs ensure that you’ll leave extraordinarily full and extremely content with money well spent.

Erika Kwee

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