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IKEA Hosts The Great Ramen Challenge

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Food fads are beginning to dominate the culinary scene. From fancy burgers and banh mi to cronuts and pho, who knows what the next food craze might be. Lobster rolls? Bun bo hue? Banh bot loc? Whatever it is, the dish of the moment seems to be ramen. And with exotic ingredients and clear or creamy broth wrapping around the Asian-inspired pasta, it's not hard to understand the interest.

That's why you need to be at IKEA (yes?IKEA) tomorrow for the Great Ramen Challenge. Dutch Small has organized a local all-star lineup of talented chefs with diverse noodle iterations and competitive mindsets. Small, the guy who seems to have his hands in anything and everything creative and delicious in town, has gathered chefs and sous chefs that include: Cove's Jean-Philippe Gaston, Underbelly's Lyle Bento, Bar Boheme's Jordan Economy, Eatsie Boys' Patrick Hart and Demetrius Smith, Uchi's Michael Castillo and Kata Robata's Cyrus Caclini and Masahide Wakatsuki.

They all need to bring it because although they're equally skilled, their specialties vary greatly, and the ingredient budget is limited to $3. No matter who wins the audience-selected or panel-selected prizes, IKEA has already agreed to donate $6,000 to the Houston Food Bank.

Full disclosure: Eater will be participating as a judge, along with food critic Mai Pham, Houston Chronicle's Syd Kearney, MyTable Magazine's Taylor Byrne-Dodge, 002's Carla Valencia, Houstonia Magazine's Katharine Shilcutt, CultureMap's Eric Sandler, Little Soya's Crystal Lee and foodie PR pro Paula Murphy, who is judging on behalf of the Houston Food Bank. A few others will join the panel tomorrow, too.

The event is free to the public and begins at 7 p.m. at IKEA's café. Beer and cocktails, along with tasting samples, will be free.
· IKEA [Official Site]
· All Other Eater Houston Competitions [-EHOU-]

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