This year, the biggest party of the Houston food and beverage scene came right to your living room. CultureMap's Tastemaker Awards — Virtual Edition brought all the delicious and innovative ideas from our city's best chefs and bartenders straight to you, courtesy of Tasting Totes that were brimming with goodies.
If you purchased a ticket to the online awards show, hosted by hip-hop legend Bun B, then you also got to indulge in generous samples from nominees. Missed out this year? When you see what you could have enjoyed, you'll be first in line to purchase in 2021, whether the party is virtual or in-person.
VIP ticket-holders had their Tasting Totes delivered right to their door, while general admission attendees swung by Silver Street Studios to pick up their swag bags.
Once home, a feast awaited, complete with a bottle of Grandes Vinos Monasteria Reserva or Old Vine Garnacha (read more about their history here), a six-pack of Topo Chico, and a variety of craft beers from Cigar City Brewing.
The next best thing to having 2019 Bartender of the Year winner Sarah Troxell make you a drink in person is to have her show you how to do it yourself, step by step onscreen. Equipped with Dripping Springs Vodka, Topo Chico, and a to-die-for lavender lemonade mix, guests could mix their own cocktails to get the party started.
Guests could also shake things up with the first edition of the Tastemakers Cocktail Book, filled with exclusive recipes by Bartender of the Year nominees from across the state.
As for delicious bites from the nominees, VIP guests could dig into chicken biryani from Himalaya, puffy tendon chicharron from Les Ba'get, spicy saltines from Monkey's Tail, tomatoes with whipped feta and olive oil from One Fifth Mediterranean, and marinated octopus carpaccio from Rosie Cannonball.
GA diners certainly weren't left out in the cold. Topo tarts from El Topo, eggplant dip from Politan Row, and shiitake and edamame dumplings from Traveler's Table joined the aforementioned offerings from Les Ba'get, Monkey's Tail, and One Fifth Medierranean.
Rising Star Chef of the Year was announced by a representative from Houston Insider, a completely free program by Visit Houston that can score you invitations to special experiences, giveaways, discounts, and more (plus a koozie for now).
H-E-B sponsored the first-ever Tastemakers Hero Award, in which we recognized Chris Shepherd and the Southern Smoke Foundation for their service during the pandemic. Fun sunglasses and vanilla lip balm helped everyone show their love for the local grocery chain.