Oak-grilled Australian Lamb and Ginger-spiced Tater Tots
Chef Jack Gilmore and Chef de Cuisine Chris Teneyck of Jack Allen’s Kitchen – Austin, TX
Pearl-Snap German Style Pilsner, Austin Beerworks, United States
Highland Park 18-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Divine Texas Wild Boar, Sweet Potatoes, Blackberries, and Smoked Bacon Powder
Chef David Gilbert of Sustenio – San Antonio, TX
Noble King Hoppy Farmhouse Ale, Jester King Brewery, United States
Braised Organic Australian Short Ribs and Polenta
Chef Mark Paul of BC Tavern and Wink – Austin, TX
Malbec, Joffre e Hijas, Grand Reserve, Argentina, 2009
Prosciutto di Parma-wrapped Pear and Taleggio with Arugula-Radicchio Salad
Chef Emmett Fox of Asti and Fino – Austin, TX
Peacemaker Extra Pale Ale, Austin Beerworks, United States
Smoke and Mirrors: Highland Park 12-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Sherry, Benedictine, Sarsaparilla Dry Bitters, and Flamed Orange Peel
Mixologist Bill Norris of Alamo Drafthouse – Austin, TX
Hell in Keller, Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que, United States
Fire Eagle IPA, Austin Beerworks, United States
A special thanks to Steelite International for providing all glassware and plateware for the evening.
We could get used to this kind of hospitality. In the first of three Southern Rising Stars cities this year, our Austin-San Antonio chefs and hosts extended us a warm, casual welcome to Central Texas. With kegs and cans of local beer flowing, and grits and homemade tater tots on the menu, our 2012 Austin-San Antonio Honorees Dinner set the tone for a fun-filled, Lone Star-style Rising Stars.
Tying the evening (and chef community) together were our host chefs. Mentor Chef Jack Gilmore opened his restaurant, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, to our newest class of Rising Stars—a group that included his son, Bryce Gilmore. (There was more than enough familial love to go around, with Pastry Chef Plinio Sandalio’s parents and Mixologist Jeret Peña’s mom in the house.) Gilmore and Chef de Cuisine Chris Teneyck were the minds behind the aforementioned grits and tots, served with Coffee-spiced Cervena Venison and Oak-grilled Australian Lamb, respectively. Chefs Mark Paul of Wink and BC Tavern, Emmett Fox of Asti and Fino, and 2007 Dallas Rising Star David Gilbert of San Antonio’s Sustenio also cooked and helped honor the Rising Stars with dishes including Braised Australian Short Ribs with Polenta, Prosciutto di Parma-wrapped Pear and Taleggio, and Divine Texas Wild Boar.
Alamo Drafthouse Mixologist and (paternity test pending) father of the Austin cocktail scene, Bill Norris got the party started with two signature Highland Park cocktails, a light and vegetal Highland Wisdom and a “big and brown” Smoke and Mirrors, the latter of which combined Highland Park 12-year Scotch, Sherry, Benedictine, sarsaparilla bitters, and flamed orange peel. Austin’s best brewers kept the buzz on with Mentor Brewer Brian Peters' Hell in Keller ale and Austin Beerworks’ Fire Eagle IPA. And just to make sure there was enough brew in the house, Scott Walker of Congress (the evening’s rabble rouser and mentor to June Rodil) paired the mentor chefs’ dishes with Austin Beerworks’ Pearl-snap Pilsner and Peacemaker, and Jester King’s Noble King Hoppy Farmhouse.
Rising Star David Bull, a mentor in his own right, honored Chef Josh Watkins, telling the crowd that Watkins is the most talented chef he’s ever worked with. Chef Clint Connaway of Max’s Wine Dive did the talking for the ever-humble Rising Star Chef Quealy Watson—after all, someone has to proclaim his genius. (Though Watson and Rising Star Chef Andrew Wiseheart might have to duel it out for the title of most modest Rising Star.) Neither of our restaurateurs were on hand to receive their awards—Tyson Cole (constantly on the run between Houston and Austin) had to go home to tuck in the kids, and Jason Dady briefly disappeared (his whereabouts never revealed). Peña’s mom, Viana Peña, spoke on her son’s behalf, citing copious chalices of communion wine for Jeret’s boozy professional calling (though we think a fun-loving mother may have helped, too). Walker adopted several chefs, including Paul Qui and Bull, whose mentors couldn’t make it. And topping off the night, Walker honored his true mentee, Rodil, by giving an impassioned speech and slamming the microphone to the ground. Enough said.