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Fun, fresh, fierce: Get ready for the Chowhounds' Ceviche Throwdown

Fun, fresh, fierce: Get ready for the Chowhounds' Ceviche Throwdown

Summer calls for cool citrus dishes, so it's fitting that the Houston Chowhounds have taken a break from heavier ingredients (pork belly, 'shrooms) and lightened up with the Ceviche Throwdown (CTD), to be held at Soma Sushi on July 19.

Of course, when we say the CTD is lightening up, we mean the flavor palate, not the competition. The 10 chefs competing represent some of the top talent in the city. They are:

  • Stella Sola's Justin Basye, the chef de cuisine who already has a semifinalist nod from the James Beard Awards.
  • Houston's culinary bad boy, Randy Rucker, who owns Bootsie's Heritage Cafe in Tomball and the just-announced Connate
  • Horiuchi Manabu (also known as Hori-san), executive chef at Kata Robata
  • Jason Hauck, the executive chef at Soma with the home field advantage
  • Defending Bourbon Throwdown champion, Branch Water Tavern executive chef David Grossman
  • Yelapa Playa Mexicana's LJ Wiley,
  • Jonathan Jones, executive chef at Beaver's
  • Sushi Raku executive chef Takayoshi Sekiguchi
  • Isaac Alvarez, chef/owner of Ocean's, the just-opened ceviche restaurant
  • Seth Siegel-Gardner of the future Just August Project

Whether Mexican-style, Peruvian-oriented or totally out of left field, we expect some serious ceviches from these guys.

Judging the dishes will be Theresa Byrne-Dodge of My Table, Reef's Bryan Caswell, Peter Garcia of El Meson, Houston Chronicle food editor Greg Morago and two to be picked. (You can win a seat at the table by answering the question "Why should I be a Ceviche Throwdown judge?" and sending the response to Jenny Wang at by June 28.

10 amateur chefs and Chowhounds members can also register for the Battle Gazpacho, to be judged by the Ceviche Throwdown entrants.

Tickets to the CTD are $60 (available here) and there will be a silent auction also on-site — proceeds from both benefit the Gulf Coast Fishermen's Relief Fund.

Guests will get to taste entries by each of the contestants as well as a hot and cold buffet of hors d'oeuvres by Hauck and the Soma crew.

Escalante's ceviche Photo by Barbara Kuntz
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Ceviche at Ninfa's on Navigation
Whatever favorite ingredients your ceviche holds, you'll find one just right for you.