Fans of fine food, wine and design converged at the 12th International Risotto Festival on Sunday, November 12 at The Houston Design Center. Chaired by Julie and Stephen Chen, Raine and Alan Falik, and Leslie and Charles Simmons, the event benefited Casa de Esperanza de los Niños – the House of Hope for Children, a safe place for children in crisis due to abuse, neglect or the effects of HIV. Janie and Todd Mason served as honorary chairs.
More than 800 guests strolled around enjoying delicious Italian foods prepared by some of Houston’s top chefs along with Italian wines, exotic cars and music. Carmelo Mauro competing for Carmelo’s won the blind tasting competition for his Risotto Con Melanzane. Chef Alberto Gutierrez with The Tasting Room City Centre was awarded second place and chef Michael Hoffman with Oxbow 7 was awarded third place. Chefs Dillon and Denver Kao with Express Italia took home honorable mention for their unique risotto creation. Taking home the People’s Choice Award was Scotty Campbell with Bertazzoni.
Founded in 2000, the International Risotto Festival has a rich history as a true culinary competition for a good cause. In the 11 productions of the festival since that date, more than 75 of Houston’s finest chefs have competed to help raise over $750,000 for local charities.