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Houston’s Top Chefs Reunite for the 2023 Truffle Masters

The indulgent food competition returns on March 6 with the city’s top culinary talent banding together to raise funds for the Houston Symphony

A group of chefs from Hidden Omakase in black chefs coats.
Chef Niki Vongthong and her Hidden Omakase team at a previous year’s Truffle Masters.
Emily Jaschke

While some may be itching to see who will be named Best Actor or Actress at the Oscar’s, Houstonians are counting down the days to see who will be crowned champion of the 2023 Truffle Masters. The lavish event returns for its 9th installment on Monday, March 6 at the Revaire, with more than 25 of the city’s top chefs competing for the title. This year’s Truffle Masters will aid in raising funds for The Houston Symphony, whose mission spans beyond its orchestral performances to include educational programs and community activities for the city.

Hosted by Houston-based luxury food importer and distributor DR Delicacy, the Truffle Masters is a chance for chefs to stretch their culinary muscles. Lauded talent from restaurants, catering companies, and hotels are given the challenge to think up imaginative dishes, elevated with the addition of fresh truffles, to present at the event. The result is an indulgent showcase, ranging from sweet to savory, including dishes like green tea soufflé cheesecake with truffle ice-cream, truffle and fatty tuna hand rolls, truffled grilled cheese, and honey truffle butter chicken biscuits.

Votes are tallied from a panel of judges made up of local chefs and food writers who are tasked with tasting through the various dishes and narrowing down finalists. Power is given to guests as well, with tokens passed out to all attendees to cast votes for People’s Choice, and all winners are announced at the end of the night.

An unrolled tuna and truffle hand roll on a small disposable plate.
Chef Manabu Horiuchi’s truffle and fatty tuna hand roll with mushroom sushi rice won the People’s Choice Award in 2022.
Emily Jaschke

Guests may recognize return chefs like Luis Roger from BCN/MAD and Niki Vongthong from Hidden Omakase, but this year’s fete boasts a slew of first-time participants. Chefs Benchawan Painter from Street to Kitchen, Michelle Wallace from b’Tween Sandwich Co., Jassi Bindra from Amrina, Masaru Fukuda from Pacha Nikei, Felipe Botero from Le Jardinier, and Daniel Davidson from Doris Metropolitan are among the large group of Truffle Masters newbies, raising the bar to new heights.

With a price tag of $295, even general admission tickets are a splurge, but as they say, you get what you pay for. Guests are given free range to peruse the truffle-fueled samplings at each chef’s table, and truly get their fill, while musicians from The Houston Symphony provide entertainment throughout the evening.

Those who want to shell out the extra loot for a VIP ticket ($395) will get complimentary valet parking, a swag bag, exclusive access to the event’s pre-party from 6 to 7 p.m., where they can mix and mingle with participating chefs and judges, plus access to the Reserved VIP Lounge with a private, full bar, during the main event from 7 to 10 p.m.

Rows of cheesecake rolled in balls.
The winter truffle Basque cheesecake with tangerine and apricot confit, created by the team from BCN and MAD, won first place in 2022.
Emily Jaschke

In the past, top honors have gone to chef Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata, for his open face truffle banh mi; chef Austin Simmons of Tris, for his truffle grilled cheese; and to pastry chef Karla Espinoza of MAD, for her Basque cheesecake bon bon with citrus and truffle. With so much top tier talent competing, it is anybody’s guess who will reign as this year’s champ, and what whimsical concoction they will bring to the table.

Visit to purchase tickets.