On the fifth anniversary of the highly successful “Where the Chefs Eat” Houston Culinary Tours, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau is expanding the program, giving more people access to unique foodie experiences.

The GHCVB has partnered with Food Tour Corp., a national tour operator specializing in culinary tourism in markets from Washington DC to Indianapolis. Food Tour Corp. will handle sales, planning and logistics for all tours while the GHCVB will continue to market the program.

At least 12 chef-led tours will be offered in 2014, including perennial favorites such as Barbecue, Southern Comfort, Chinatown, Day of the Dead, Vietnamese and Indian. New chefs and new tour themes will be introduced in the next year as well. Chef-led tours will be announced on a quarterly basis and will continue to be priced at $180 per person for the five-hour experience.

The Houston Culinary Tours program will also expand to include walking food tours of areas such as Downtown and Montrose. These tours, occurring on a weekly or monthly basis, will be led by professional tour guides and priced between $50 and $100.  Other facets of the augmented program will include private and corporate tour opportunities as well as food-focused events. The new website is now live detailing the complete program.

The Houston Culinary Tour program launched in 2009 with the goal of bringing the city’s rich culinary scene to life through the eyes of local chefs. Since then hundreds of people have enjoyed chef-led tours around many different themes. The program has also generated significant press for Houston’s culinary scene and helped put small, independent restaurants in the city’s less trafficked neighborhoods on the map.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the success of the Culinary Tours program and its role in growing awareness for Houston’s food scene,” says Greg Ortale, President and CEO of the GHCVB. “But with demand continuing to increase, we realized that we needed to grow beyond just 12 tours a year. This new partnership allows us to expand the program, giving more locals and visitors an opportunity to experience some of the great culinary options here in Houston.”

“We are thrilled to bring our expertise to Houston,” says Jeff Swadarsky, CEO of the Food Tour Corp. “Together with the GHCVB, we will be able to create a very special portfolio of culinary tours and events that embody the essence of the city, bring additional jobs to the market, and showcase the phenomenal culinary scene here.”

Chefs and program co-founders Randy Evans (Haven), Monica Pope (Sparrow Bar + Cookshop) and Chris Shepherd (Underbelly) will return to lead tours in 2014. Other chefs hopping back on the bus next year are Justin Yu (Oxheart), Seth Siegel-Gardner (The Pass & Provisions) , Ryan Pera (Revival Market and Coltivare), Hugo Ortega (Hugo’s and Backstreet Café), Marcus Davis (the breakfast klub) and Rebecca Masson (Fluff Bake Bar). Newcomers will include Ronnie Killen (Killen’s Steakhouse and Killen’s BBQ), Ryan Hildebrand (Triniti), Brandi Key (Coppa Ristorante and Coppa Osteria), Sean Beck (Backstreet Café) and others.

The first three chef-led tours for 2014 will be:

  • Southern Comfort with Randy Evans and Rebecca Masson – February 15
  • Indian with Ryan Pera and Monica Pope – March 16
  • Soul of Houston Barbecue with Marcus Davis and his brother Jerry Davis – March 23

All three of these tours as well as the walking tours are on sale now.


Information and image provided by the GHCVB.

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