On Sunday, April 8, 2018, celebrity Houston chefs competed in the inaugural Tacos Over Texas event, a fundraiser for the The Ninfa Laurenzo Scholarship Fund. More than 700 taco-loving Texans gathered in the parking lot at The Original Ninfa’s, the restaurant where Mama Ninfa launched the national fajita craze when she started stuffing outside grilled skirt steak in handmade tortillas in 1973. Notable guests included Houston Astros legend and The Original Ninfa’s regular Jose Cruz, famed Houston rollerblade dancer Juan Carlos Restrepo of “America’s Got Talent” fame, and The Honorable Judge Ed Emmett, one of the event’s celebrity judges.
The event raised over $100,000 for The Ninfa Laurenzo Scholarship Fund’s educational initiatives for East End students. Participating chefs were tasked with creating a taco inspired by Mama Ninfa herself, celebrating the history and transformation of Houston's passion for multicultural food. And the winners...
First Place: Donny Navarette, Laurenzo’s (Carnitas-Style Prime Rib Taco with Guacamole Cream
Second Place: Kiran Verma, Kiran’s (Lamb Keema and Cauliflower Taco with Cumin, Ginger and English Peas in Chickpea Shells)
Third Place: Alex Padilla, The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation (Lamb Taco with Hummus and Pomegranate Seeds)
People’s Choice: Michael and David Cordúa, Americas (Carnitas Taco with Queso Fresco and Plantain)
Most Creative: Robert Del Grande, Cafe Annie (Breakfast Taco with Pumpkin Seeds, Eggs, Queso Fresco, Poblano chile sauce and white onions