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Report: Stephan Pyles 12th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine Auction

It is hard to believe  the Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner is already in its 12th year. The event raises money for the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship compete in the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarhip Cookoff, an Iron Chef-style event that takes place in the summer.  In the first phase of that competition, the student prepares an application packet which includes the menu that they would prepare. A panel of professional judges selects the top ten, which are sent to Stephan Pyles who selects the top three. In the second phase, the three finalists spend two days prepping, cooking, and erving their menus to a panel of culinary experts that includes Stephan Pyles. The winner receives a $15,000 scholarship made payable to their school, a $500 stipend to travel with Chef Pyles to a celebrity chef fundraising event, and the opportunity to present a course at the Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine Auction which took place last Sunday.

Let’s get down to the evening.

Renée Morgan’s Bone Marrow Brulée Tartlett with Cranberry and Red Onion Relish

The fairytale ending is obviously the scholarship would be won by someone of exceptional talent who would not otherwise have been able to afford their culinary training. In that situation, they would have their dream breakthrough, and we would have the fruits of their talent. That is what happened last year.  Winner Renée Morgan’s husband had just lost his job and the couple had to declare bankruptcy. In advance of the competition they made the difficult decision to have the electricity to their house cut off in order to pay for the ingredients for the competition. She won it and received the scholarship. Her husband also got a new job.

At this year’s dinner she was responsible for the hors d’oeuvres. Before I was even aware that she had made them I thought they were inspired (especially the Bone Marrow Brulée Tartlett with Cranberry and Red Onion Relish), and assumed that the staff of Restaurant Stephan Pyles must have been responsible. I was impressed when I heard that these were the work of someone just out of culinary school. If these dishes are representative of her abilities then I want to use her Chefalicious Hospitality catering service if I move to Austin.

The full list of chefs and their contributions to the menu is below. The food this year was exceptional.

MENU

Renée Morgan – Austin

Bone Marrow Brulée Tartlett with Cranberry and Red Onion Relish

Country Ham and Gouda Goat Fritters

Tomato Martini Shooters with Mozzarella & Basil Oil

NV Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne

David Garrido – Austin

Scallop with Bacon-Potato ball, red Jalapeno Crema and Pumpkin Seed Chardonnay Jello

2010 Evening Land Vineyards Bourgogne Blanc, Burgundy

Stephan Pyles & Joel Harrington – Dallas

Bay of Fundy Salmon Confit with Horseradish Panna Cotta, Honeycrisps and Manchego Chicharron

2008 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Nick Badovinus – Dallas

Cider Roasted Texas Quail, Butternut Squash Grits, Luxardo-Walnut Compote

2008 Pedernales Cellars Family Reserve Red Wine, Texas

Jason Dady – San Antonio

Pan Seared Lamb Loin with Root Vegetable Spoonbread, Fennel, Wild Mushroom and Smoked Huckleberry Bordelaise

2007 Fontanafredda Barolo “Serralunga”.

Rebecca Rather – Fredericksburg

Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Garrison Brothers Bourbon, Bacon Caramel Sauce and Caramel Ice Cream

2007 Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve, Alsace, France

David Garrido's Scallop with Bacon-Potato Ball, Red Jalapeno Crema and Pumpkin Seed Chardonnay Jello

After the meal was a spirited live auction ably led by Harvey Kronberg. Fifteen out of  eighteen lots went for above their estimated values. The highest bid was made for an exclusive meal for eight lucky diners prepared by Stephan Pyles at his home. A number for the total amount raised will be available in the next few weeks.

The chefs and their restaurants, students from The Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy, staff at The Food and Wine Foundation of Texas, and George Majdalani, General Manager at Stephan Pyles all donated their time. Also, these events are not possible without the help of generous sponsors and that role of honor is: Central Market, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Evening Land Vineyards, Espirit du Vin, Soklo Blosser Winery, Palm Bay International, Pedernales Cellars, S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.

Stephan Pyles and Joel Harrington's Bay of Fundy Salmon Confit with Horseradish Panna Cotta, Honeycrisps and Manchego Chicharron
Nick Badovinus' Cider Roasted Texas Quail, Butternut Squash Grits, Luxardo-Walnut Compote
Jason Dady's Pan Seared Lamb Loin with Root Vegetable Spoonbread, Fennel, Wild Mushroom and Smoked Huckleberry Bordelaise
Rebecca Rather's Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Garrison Brothers Bourbon, Bacon Caramel Sauce and Caramel Ice Cream

2 comments on “Report: Stephan Pyles 12th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine Auction

  1. Andrew, Thank you for writing this nice article about the dinner and scholarship. It is always a pleasure to have you at one of our tables and I am so glad you were able to tell Renee’s story.

    We appreciate your time and talent,
    Marshall Jones
    Executive Director, The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas

  2. Pingback: Report: Stephan Pyles 12th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine Auction – D Magazine - My Wine Broker