The holiday season is here and not a moment too soon. To get your creative culinary muscles warmed up, we've partnered with four of Houston's most popular chefs and bartenders to take over our Facebook Live and demo their favorite festive recipes. From sides and secret salsas, to feasts and sweet treats, we're gearing up for a tasty time!
Oh, and adult beverages.
Several Many adult beverages. Don't we deserve it? YUP. #2020
Take a peek at the plans and which culinary kings and queens are going to turn your holiday meal prep easy-breezy.
⚡ BONUS: Each of our four chefs/bartenders are sharing bonus recipes with our VIP readers. All you have to do is sign up to become a Houston Insider (special experiences, local discounts + info, and it’s all free!): bit.ly/3kGAfmD
UPDATE 12/17/2020: We had an awesome time hosting these live recipe sessions - scroll down to see all four of the videos. ♥️
PREVIOUS LIVE SESSIONS - WATCH NOW
⏰ On Wednesday (November 18th) Chef Chris showed us how to make some of his favorite holiday recipes:
• Turkey Breast Roulade Stuffed with Dressing Creamy
• Texas Pecan Pie cocktail
• White Christmas cocktail
👨🍳 Who is Chef Chris Williams?
Classically trained in French, Mediterranean, West Indian and East African cuisine, Chef Chris Williams has made a name for himself serving up well-refined Southern food with international infusions at his Museum District restaurant Lucille’s — opened as a tribute to his great grandmother and culinary pioneer Lucille B. Smith. Chef Williams has served as the lone culinary cultural ambassador for the USA for three years, advancing food diplomacy in destinations like Slovenia, Croatia, and Ukraine. He is also a member of the Southern Food Ways Alliance, an organization that documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.
Chef Williams most recent endeavor — his newly-formed non- profit Lucille’s 1913 — mimics the ethos of his restaurant and its namesake, functioning as a conscious community collective that combines food philanthropy and nutrition development to further nourish our most vulnerable communities. To date, Lucille’s 1913 has delivered more than 65,000 meals to Houstonians in need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
⏰ On Monday (December 7th) Chef Van showed us how to make one of his favorite holiday recipes:
• Cranberry Ginger Beer Cookies!
👨🍳 Who is Chef Vanarin?
Vanarin Kuch is the pastry chef & owner of Koffeteria in Houston's East Downtown. Growing up as the child of Cambodian refugees, food served as an anchor to bring his family together. Kuch rose to prominence early in his career as the opening pastry chef at Tiny Boxwoods, and national audiences got to know him from appearances on Top Chef: Just Desserts and Chopped. After years away at top kitchens in New York and Chicago, he returns to his hometown to open Koffeteria.
His shop welcomes people into the East Downtown neighborhood, where his relatives used to operate fish & doughnut shops. Showcasing beautiful mid-century furniture in an industrial setting, the shop is an inviting place for visitors to enjoy a dessert in style. His food is often as whimsical as it is ambitious, but always brings bold flavors into balance.
⏰ On December 10th, Alba showed us how to make a few of her favorite concoctions:
• Morning Call
• Espresso Martini
• Summer Never Ends (non-alcoholic)
🍸 Who is Alba Huerta?
Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Alba Huerta is a proud Mexican-American Houstonian. Her first job was working in a bar, and it was not long before Alba was bartending and building her expertise as a service professional. After spending some time in Las Vegas to further hone her craft and experience high volume projects, Alba returned to Houston and in 2011 joined the Anvil Bar and Refuge team as general manager. Alba also helped launch the Houston chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild during this time and became involved in the Tequila Exchange Project.
In 2013, Alba opened The Pastry War, a Mezcaleria that reflects her high-quality standards for agave production. She opened her Southern cocktail bar Julep in late 2014, which was a finalist for Best American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail’s 2015 Spirited Awards. Julep was named one of the top five bars in the United States by Bon Appétit in 2015 and one of the Best Bars in America by Esquire in 2017.
Alba was inducted in the Tales of the Cocktail Dame Hall of Fame in 2012, named Bartender of the Year in 2014 by Imbibe magazine and one of Houston’s 50 Most Fascinating People by the Houston Chronicle. In 2015, Food & Wine selected her as one of ten rising-star female mixologists, and Thrillist named her one of the Best Bartenders in America. Alba has also been named one of The Cherry Bombe 100 and released her first cocktail book named after her flagship bar ‘Julep’ in 2018. Above all, Alba is known for bringing her passion for quality wine, spirits and cocktails and her Southern hospitality to her bars and her profession.
H-Town Restaurant Group
(Hugos, Xochi, Backstreet Cafe, Caracol)
🎦 LIVE NOW: Chef Ruben Ortega of H-town Restaurant Group (Hugo’s, Caracol, Backstreet Cafe, Xochi) is showing us how to make his favorite holiday feast: Barbacoa de Borrego with Salsa de Molcajete and Salsa Habanero! 🌶️ 🚩 For a bonus recipe from Chef Ruben, sign up to become a Houston Insider (free & fun): bit.ly/3kGAfmDPosted by Visit Houston on Wednesday, December 16, 2020
⏰ On December 16, Chef Ruben went live on our Facebook page to demonstrate how to make his favorite holiday feast:
• Barbacoa de Borrego (roasted leg of lamb)
• Salsa de Molcajete
• Salsa Habanero
👨🍳 Who is Chef Ruben?
Ruben Ortega was raised in Mexico City and Puebla, Mexico, and learned his love of cooking and baking from his aunt, who taught him how to knead dough by hand in a hollow tree trunk. At age 17, Ruben left Mexico for the United States, landing in California and eventually joined his older brother Hugo in Texas.
A 1991 graduate of the Culinary Arts Program at Houston Community College, Ruben won first-place honors in 1993 at the Texas Culinary Federation’s statewide contest. He spent two-and-a-half years with chef/restaurateur Michael Cordúa and his award-winning Américas and Churrascos restaurants as pastry cook before becoming a pastry chef at Aries restaurant.
He was named Pastry Chef of the Year at 2019 Tastemaker Awards hosted by Culturemap, and Pastry Chef of the Year at the 2003 Houston Culinary Awards. He has worked with brother Hugo and sister-in-law Tracy on two cookbooks – Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico (2012) and Backstreet Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from Our Neighborhood Cafe (2013) – and is known for his amazing, made-from-scratch Mexican chocolate and creative and whimsical desserts.