Exciting news for all the Houston foodies out there: the city is hosting a myriad of chef-organized, chef-led culinary tours in 2013. The “Where the Chefs Eat” Houston Culinary Tours started in 2010 as a means of teaching diners about the Houston food scene and all its intricacies and diversities. Proceeds from the tours benefit Foodways Texas, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates the diverse food cultures of Texas. This year, a number of talented chefs will be leading the tours including James Beard nominated chefs Robert del Grande, Anita Jaisinghani, and Levi Goode and The Next Iron Chef’s Bryan Caswell, Top Chef Masters’ Monica Pope, and Top Chef Just Desserts’ Rebecca Masson. “Houston is a great town for food and culture, and through the culinary tours, we get to share that with people–Houstonians and tourists alike! It has singlehandedly changed the way the country views Houston chefs and the Houston culinary scene,” Monica Pope, owner/chef of Sparrow Bar + Cookshop, says. Chef Ryan Pera of Revival Market and Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly took guests to Houston’s prime places for eastern-Asia-inspired fare. Pictured here: Korean BBQ at Nam Gang. Photo taken by Shannon O’Hara. “I participate because I love Houston,” Ryan Pera, owner/chef of Revival Market, says. “There is so much to explore on a culinary level–so many diverse restaurants and markets to try. It’s a great way to show others what I believe is unique and special about our city.” The culinary tours are limited to sixteen participants each and cost $180 per person. Tour descriptions – taken directly from the press release – are below. To purchase tickets, see this link. Sunday, January 13: Farm with Randy Evans, Claire Smith and Monica Pope Get outta town! Canopy and Shade Chef Claire Smith, Chef Randy Evans of Haven restaurant and Sparrow Bar + Cookshop’s Monica Pope venture beyond the Loop to celebrate all things locally-grown. Visit each of the chefs’ favorite farms for pick-your-own produce and a tour of the land. Then, chase down some of Houston’s top food trucks known for their locally-sourced cuisine. On sale Dec. 3, 2012. Sunday, January 20 – Korean with Chris Shepherd and Ryan Pera Join Chef Ryan Pera of Revival Market and Underbelly’s Chef Chris Shepherd as they spotlight the ‘underbelly’ of Korean cuisine in Houston. Guests will go beyond barbecue, discovering traditional Korean fare in everything from a classic noodle house and Korean sushi bar to a Long Point Road mainstay and authentic Korean grocery store. Live octopus, anyone? On sale Dec. 3, 2012. Sunday, February 17 – Oyster with Bryan Caswell and Robb Walsh Catch the bus when cookbook author Robb Walsh and Chef Bryan Caswell of Reef set out in search of all-things oyster. Discover where to find the best bounty in the city, helpful shucking tips and get a lesson on the difference between East Coast and Gulf varieties. Caswell and Walsh will also highlight the local seafood counters selling Galveston Bay oysters, before bellying up to a few H-Town oyster bars for a taste of the sought-after seafood. On sale Dec. 3, 2012. Sunday, March 17 – Seafood with Bryan Caswell and Levi Goode Celebrate living along the Gulf Coast with a seafood-filled day in the city. Ride along with avid fisherman and Reef Chef Bryan Caswell, as he teams up with Goode Company president Levi Goode for an exploration of Houston’s top seafood selections. Among the day’s stops, guests will check out a soul food spot that draws crowds for its crab claws and rich gumbo, dig into top-notch sushi and discover where the chefs shop for the best catch in town. On sale Feb. 1, 2013. Sunday, April 21 – Vietnamese with Ryan Pera and Monica Pope As home to the largest Vietnamese population in Texas and the third-largest in the U.S., it’s safe to say that Houston is well-versed in the art of Vietnamese culture and cuisine. Chef Ryan Pera of Revival Market and Chef Monica Pope of Sparrow Bar + Cookshop share their favorite spots to find pho, bò bía and bánh mì. On sale March 1, 2013. Sunday, May 19 – Pig with Chris Shepherd and Robert del Grande Pigs have recently been on the front burner of some of the nation’s most sought-after kitchens-much to the dismay of animals of the porcine variety. But these days, the culinary masterminds are leaving little behind, thanks to an emphasis on nose-to-tail cooking and a little epicurean wherewithal. Tag along with Underbelly’s Chef Chris Shepherd and RDG + Bar Annie’s Robert del Grande as they share their favorite places to find, buy and delight in the city’s best pork. Head to a sustainable shop in the Heights to learn about locally raised heritage pigs, before heading out in the city to taste how different cultures put their spin on the savory meat. On sale April 1, 2013. Sunday, June 23 – Taco with Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan Any local can tell you, regular taco consumption just goes with the territory in H-Town. But around here, the sizzling fajitas have to share the spotlight with more than just Tex-Mex. Ride along with The Pass and Provisions’ Chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan as they spotlight the rolled-and-wrapped fare in Houston. From breakfast tacos and barbacoa varieties to Korean lettuce-wraps and taqueria-style selections, guests will walk away with a whole new appreciation for the take-along treat. On sale May 1, 2013. Sunday, July 21 – Long Point Road with Bryan Caswell and Chris Shepherd Anyone that’s ever driven down Long Point Road in West Houston’s Spring Branch district knows that it’s a melting pot for the city’s culinary scene. Join Underbelly’s Chef Chris Shepherd and Chef Bryan Caswell of Reef as they guide guests on a diverse and well-edited selection of their favorite undiscovered hole-in-the-walls. From wallet-friendly taco trucks and authentic Thai food to Korean barbecue and Korean fried chicken, it’s an eclectic mix of cuisines that are sure to please. On sale June 3, 2013. Sunday, August 18 – Vegetarian with Robert del Grande and Anita Jaisinghani Going meatless in the Lone Star State isn’t always easy, but Indika’s chef Anita Jaisinghani and Chef Robert Del Grande of RDG + Bar Annie are teaming up to prove Texas can turn out vegetarian fare just as well as anyone. Hop on the bus as both James Beard-nominated chefs share their favorite meatless menus in the city and point out the traditional places that knock vegetarian offerings out of the park. From Indian dosas and a Vietnamese mainstay to traditional basen ladoo at a 100 percent vegetarian-owned biz, guests will delight in a diverse mix of animal-free delicacies. On sale July 1, 2013. Sunday, September 22 -BBQ with Levi Goode and Robb Walsh Goode Company president Levi Goode and Legends of Texas Barbecue cookbook author Robb Walsh team up to showcase the most interesting barbecue Houston has to offer. Get ready for an array of offerings from Tex-Mex barbacoa tacos to interior Mexican, cabrito al pastor and lamb barbacoa, to falling-off-the-bone ribs and dirty rice at a family-owned, Bayou City-staple. On sale Aug. 1, 2013. Sunday, October 13 – Brewery with Rebecca Masson, Kevin Floyd and Brock Wagner Spend the day brewery hopping with Fluff Bake Bar’s Rebecca Masson, Hay Merchant’s Kevin Floyd and Brock Wagner, the founder of Saint Arnold-Texas’ oldest craft brewery. From grain to glass, guests will get an inside glimpse at the beer-making process at four of Houston’s most ground-breaking breweries. To round out the experience, a handful of the city’s top food trucks will be on site to serve up savory street fare with a modern twist. Discover everything from a mobile pizza biz and Vietnamese vendor to a sassy sandwich maker and comfort food truck. On sale Sept. 3, 2013. Sunday, October 27 – Day of the Dead with Hugo Ortega and David Cordua Join restaurateur-chef Hugo Ortega–of Montrose’s Hugo’s–and Chef David Cordua of Americas for an afternoon filled with cuisine and culture. Stop by the Museum District where a local gallery celebrates art, music and the practices of Mexico during a series of Día de los Muertos events. Later, the group will dig into savory snapper a la plancha at a Mexican mainstay, take a guided tour of Airline Market and swing by a Heights bakery for pan de los muertos. On sale Sept. 3, 2013. Saturday, November 9 – Southern Comfort with Randy Evans and Rebecca Masson Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy the best homestyle fare the city has to offer. Haven’s Chef Randy Evans and Fluff Bake Bar’s Rebecca Masson take guests on a tour of the comfort food restaurants that take them back to their childhood. From a momma-approved pie shop and a Cajun-inspired soul food joint to an old-fashioned fried chicken spot and an old-school barbecue classic, guests will be treated to all of the true flavors of the south. On sale Oct. 1, 2013. Sunday, December 8 – Chinatown with Justin Yu and Ryan Pera Grab a seat alongside Oxheart’s Justin Yu and Ryan Pera of Revival Market as they share the secrets and standouts of both Houston’s Chinatowns. Join them as they highlight delicious dim sum destinations and visit a couple of Vietnamese outposts known for their bahn cuon, bánh mì and spicy crawfish. Plus, learn the ins and outs of navigating one of the largest Asian markets in the city. On sale Nov. 1, 2013.
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