Houston's chefs continue to make national waves.
Over the weekend, Underbelly chef/owner Chris Shepherd competed in the Second Annual Waffle House Challenge. Part of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, the event pitted four chefs from across the South against each other in a battle to win the coveted golden skillet and be named the Master Blaster.
Shepherd's competitors were Top Chef veteran Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta’s Gunshow, Michael Hudman of Hog & Hominy in Memphis and defending champion Mike Lata of Charleston’s FIG. Bon Appétit magazine restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton hosted the event.
Shepherd trained for the event by working a shift at a Waffle House in Pasadena.
Shepherd defeated Gillespie in the first round before defeating Lata in the finals to take the title. In a bonus match, Shepherd and Gillespie joined forces but still came up short against a six year Waffle House cook, suggesting that cheffy credentials are no match for experience.
"Waffle House is a way of life for many people in the South, myself included," Knowlton says in the video. "People talk about Southern icons . . .
"And I think Waffle House is an American icon."