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Four ‘Top Chef’ Contestants Will Host a Juneteenth Dinner in Houston

Plus, comedian George Lopez’s delivery-only taqueria opens and more Space City dining intel

a chef wearing an apron and working at a cutting block
Chef Dawn Burrell
Jenn Duncan

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Dawn Burrell brings fellow Top Chefs to Houston for dinner celebrating Juneteenth

Houston chef Dawn Burrell, who is currently competing on the Bravo reality cooking show Top Chef, will be joined by three of her fellow Season 18 contestants in Houston for Jubilee, an immersive five-course dinner celebrating Juneteeth and focusing on the experience of the African diaspora.

The dinner, which will take place June 19 at Bisong Art Gallery, will include Burrell, Nelson German, Kiki Louya, and Chris Viaud. The four chefs will prepare dishes using ingredients sourced from Texas ranchers, farmers, and fishermen, paired with beverages from Black-owned and Texas-based Highway Distillery, For the Culture Brewing, the city’s first black-owned brewery; and bottles from Black winemakers curated by Branwar Wines. Proceeds from the dinner benefit Lucille’s 1913. Tickets can be purchased here.

Cypress restaurant cites labor shortage for delayed opening

A new Cypress outpost of Mia’s Table, a local restaurant chain serving up casual American food, has been unable to open for six week due to what owner Johnny Carrabba says is a labor shortage. Carrabba told KHOU that the restaurant was supposed to open in May, but the opening has been delayed because he’s been unable to fill more than 20 kitchen positions, despite offering a $250 signing bonus. It’s a sentiment that many restaurant owners and managers have lamented in the aftermath of the COVID-19, with some even saying workers would rather collect unemployment that return to work. However, restaurant workers have said that poor wages and unsafe working conditions, which were exacerbated by the pandemic, have made them hesitant to return to work. Despite Carrabba’s offer of a signing bonus, none of the job postings for Mia’s Table’s list an hourly wage.

Underbelly Hospitality launches series of signature CBD-infused cocktails

Chef Chris Shepherd has partnered with Bayou City Hemp, Texas’s first hemp processing and extraction company, to create a series of exclusive CBD-infused cocktails that will be served at Underbelly Hospitality’s restaurants. According to a press release, each Underbelly restaurant will feature its own signature CBD cocktail, made with Mixer Elixir, a CBD extra made directly from hemp seeds at Bayou City Hemp’s Houston headquarters. Drinks include the “Grass Snake”, with salted grapefruit tonic, lemon, passion fruit, Mixer Elixir, and soda, available at Georgia James; and the “Swashbuckle”, with lemon, elderflower, hops, prickly pear, Mixer Elixir, and tonic water, available at Hay Merchant. Studies on the effects of CBD are inconclusive, but some people say it can induce feelings of relaxation and calm when consumed.

Comedian George Lopez opens delivery-only taqueria in Houston

George Lopez, the actor and comedian best known for his early-aughts ABC sitcom, has opened yet another celebrity-fronted ghost kitchen in Houston. George Lopez Tacos joins other virtual restaurants like Saved by the Bell star Mario Lopez’s Tortas and rapper Wiz Khalifa’s stoner-themed restaurant Hotbox.

The menu at George Lopez Tacos will include street taco-style eats with recipes developed by the actor himself, including slow-cooked meats and a variety of salsas. There is also a build-your-own-taco option. George Lopez Tacos launches on delivery apps tomorrow, June 8.