David Cordua wins first Truffle Chef of the Year Challenge

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Truffled bread pudding with crab claws and saffron-leek sauce. At the first Truffle Chef of the Year Challenge. (Photo: Greg Morago)

What can a chef create with $1,000 worth of black truffles from Spain? Just ask David Cordua, executive chef of development for Cordua Restaurants. His clever take on a Twinkie (brioche filled with a mascarpone egg cream and topped with shaved black truffle) emerged as the winning dish at the First Annual Houston Truffle Chef of the Year Challenge held Monday night at the National Tree & Shrub Nursery on Yale Street. About 250 people attended the event.

Cordua was among the 20 local chefs invited to compete in the event that showcased Roederer black truffles from Spain. Each chef was given 450 grams of truffles to create their dish. Cordua took first place with his indulgent, grown-up version of a childhood treat. Javier Lopez of Brennan’s Houston was judged first runner up for his black truffle bread pudding with crab, and Coppa Osteria’s Brandi Key was judged second runner up for her black truffle duck fat brioche cups.

Other restaurants competing included 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, Arcodoro, Arturo Boada Cuisine, Del Frisco’s, Eculent, Etoile, Holly’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, Ibiza, Inn at Dos Brisas, Kiran’s, Kris Bistro, L’Olivier, Le Mistral, Max’s Wine Dive, Ristorante Cavour, Table on Post Oak and Urban Eats.

The event was a fundraiser for Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s scholarship Program.