"What did you like most?"
That was the question heard 'round the C. Baldwin Hotel Monday evening at the annual Truffle Masters, the fancy gala from luxury food importer and distributor DR Delicacy and founder Diane Roeder. The event, at which 26 chefs from across the area attempted to wow judges and guests with dishes incorporating truffles, benefitted food rescue organization Second Servings of Houston.
The judges liked "Mad to the Moon," a chocolate and truffle lollipop (64 percent black truffle ganache) from MAD the most at the event. Alongside that was a BCN Taste & Tradition wild mushroom and truffle cream dish; together, the sister restaurants from Luis Roger and Ignacio Torras took home top prize (a pound of truffles, a "fork" trophy, and the official Truffle Masters Trophy).
In second place was La Table for a black truffle cheese mousse with pear jam, salted chocolate, pear nappage, and caramel. Degust, which will open soon at 7202 Long Point Road, took third place for Japanese milk bread with candied truffle pecans, noble tonic maple, brown butter, orange, and shaved truffle. And Kiran's finished in fourth place for black truffle and pistachio ice cream with truffle honey florentines.
Judges included chefs like Kata Robata's Manabu "Hori" Horiuchi, who won last year's Truffle Masters, and food writers and personalities like CultureMap's Eric Sandler, Houston Food Finder's Phaedra Cook, Texas Monthly's Pat Sharpe, Edible Houston's Francine Spiering, the Houston Chronicle's Marcy De Luna, myself, and freelancers Kate McLean and Megha Bhandari. Michael Garfield served as emcee.
As the judges finished selecting their favorites, guests tasted the truffles while sipping drinks through multiple rooms at the C. Baldwin. The public's favorite dish was sweet corn pansoti by La Lucha's Bobby Matos, who got his own "fork" trophy for seemingly having a constant line throughout the night. Right next to them was the team of Sasha Grumman and Valerie Trassati, who made truffle arancini and soft serve inside a truffle casing while donning awesome black jumpsuits. Other chefs seen at the event included Austin Simmons (TRIS), David Skinner (Eculent), J.D. Woodward (1751 Sea & Bar), and Troy Guard (Guard & Grace).
A silent auction at Truffle Masters raised money for Second Servings, with bidded items including dining experiences with chefs like Skinner, Horuichi, and Simmons, and a stay at a private chateau in France.