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Get ready for creative culinary competition — Houston-style — at CultureMap's Last Chef Standing

You think March Madness is intense? Try a night on the line at a top restaurant.

In the spirit of culinary comraderie and competition, some of Houston's best chefs are facing off in CultureMap's first-ever Last Chef Standing restaurant challenge, an online contest and tasting event taking place on April 9 at Hotel ZaZa.

 Some of Houston's best chefs are facing off in CultureMap's first-ever Last Chef Standing restaurant challenge, an online contest and tasting event taking place April 9 at Hotel ZaZa.

 In the online bracket competition, which kicks off March 19 at noon, locals can vote for their favorite participating restaurants, including Samba Grille, Mockingbird Bistro, Liberty Kitchen, Ava Kitchen and Whiskey Bar, Quattro, The Tasting Room, Straits, Sullivan's, The Grove and many more. After several rounds of votes, only one restaurant will triumph to be named the Whole Foods People's Choice Winner.

But the bracket is just the beginning. On April 9 each restaurant on the bracket will also compete live at Hotel ZaZa, serving small plates plus wine and beer pairings from Saint Arnold and more. For $45, guests can enjoy great food and drinks, live music and can interact with some of Houston's top chefs.

Each chef contribution will be judged by the guests, who will pick their favorite, and by a foodie panel that includes My Table editor and publisher Teresa Byrne-Dodge, Houston Chronicle food writer Greg Morago, Houston writer and Delicious Mischief radio host John Demers, Houston Press food critic Katharine Shilcutt, Houston Restaurant Weeks founder Cleverley Stone and CultureMap associate editor Sarah Rufca (that's me).

In the end three chefs will earn the title of Last Chef Standing: the online bracket champion, the guests' choice and the judges' favorite. Will your pick be one of them?

Last Chef Standing takes place April 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $45 in advance (click here to purchase). A portion of the proceeds benefits the Houston Food Bank and Houston Public Media. The online bracket goes live March 19, so get your tickets and get ready to start voting for your favorites.

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