Tastemakers is back.
For those who may need a little refresher, Tastemakers is CultureMap's annual awards ceremony that highlights the best of Houston's bar and restaurant scene. What sets it apart is that, rather than simply pick the winners ourselves, we ask restaurant industry insiders to choose both the nominees and the winners. After all, who knows the industry better than the people who work in it everyday? This year's panel features many of the places that won our first annual Tastemakers in 2014, as well as some of the city's most esteemed culinary professionals.
Between now and the awards ceremony on May 13, we'll profile all of the nominees in the eight categories that our panelists have already voted on, but CultureMap readers still have a role to play. Just like last year, we're asking you to vote for the winner of Best New Restaurant. The last year has seen so many high-profile new openings that even winnowing down the field to 16 caused a few arguments. It's anybody game, and the results will be surprising.
Of course, CultureMap readers have another way to be involved in the event, and that's by attending the party we're throwing to announce the winners. Last year's soiree featured a who's who of Houston's culinary community, and this year's event promises to be even bigger.
Twelve of Houston's most exciting restaurants — everything from Bernie's Burger Bus to Uchi mixed with some of 2014's most exciting newcomers like KUU and Dosi — will be serving food. In addition, our best bartender nominees will be demonstrating cocktails made with premium product by presenting sponsor Tequila Herradura.
But that's not all. Whole Foods Market will be on hand with a Say Cheese lounge that features specialty cheeses paired with honey and jams. We also convinced them to bring the Whole Foods Brewing Company beer trike from the recently opened Post Oak store to serve up some draft brews.
DJ Little Martin will keep the party going, and local artists will have work for sale.
Choose from one of three ticket options: $35 for young professionals (35 and under, please), $45 for general admission or $55 for VIP. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Washington Avenue Arts District.
For only $10 extra bucks, the 48 VIP attendees will receive a lot of value. That starts with a dedicated seating section where representatives from sponsor zifty.com will deliver all of the food from our participating restaurants on bar carts. If that wasn't enough, VIPs also get special beer pairings from sponsors Alaskan Brewing Company and Odell and a take home gift from zifty. Obviously, these will sell out quickly.
Coverage kicks off April 16 with our Bartender of the Year nominees and will roll on throughout the month. Best New Restaurant voting will follow soon.
Get your tickets today. You won't want to miss it.