Chowing down

Giada de Laurentiis and Jacques Pepin swoon over Hugo's Chile Relleno, Chile en Nogada & more

Giada de Laurentiis and Jacques Pepin swoon over Hugo's Chile Relleno, Chile en Nogada & more

While Food Network darling Giada de Laurentiis and master chef Jacques Pépin might have wowed the crowds at the weekend's Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show, they were deliciously impressed themselves with the spreads they feasted on at Hugo's

As de Laurentiis tweeted after her Friday night dinner with her agent at Hugo's: "@GDeLaurentiis Dinner @Hugos-Houston…unbelievable Chile Relleno w/pomegranates…still dreaming about it! Thx Chef Hugo Ortega!"

She even posted a photo of the dish. So impressed, de Laurentiis praised the Chile Relleno at one of her on-stage demonstrations at Reliant Center on Saturday.

In celebration of the close of the successful event, show founders Denise and Bill Medved hosted Pépin to a Hugo's feast, many of the dishes served by chef Hugo Ortega.

They dined on Callo de Hacha (pan seared scallops over house made cornbread and raja poblano), Chile en Nogada (roasted poblano pepper stuffed with seasoned pork, apples, raisins and pears, topped with creamy walnut sauce garnished with pomegranate seeds), slowly smoked wild King salmon, crispy potato tacos, Ceasar salad prepared tableside and two desserts.

Joining the Medveds and Pépin in a margarita toasting the show's conclusion were Victoria Jordan of the James Beard House/James Beard Foundation, Pépin's daughter Claudine, and Martie Duncan, runner-up on this season of the Food Network’s Next Food Network Star.

Pépin went home with a copy of Hugo Ortego's new cookbook, Hugo Ortego's Street Food of Mexico, a gift from the chef.

Ruben Ortega, left, Giada di Laurentiss, Hugo Ortega
Pastry chef Ruben Ortega, left, Giada de Laurentiis and chef Hugo Ortega were all smiles at Hugo's Regional Mexican Cuisine. Courtesy Photo
Ruben Ortega, left, Hugo Ortega and Jacques Pepin
Chefs Ruben Ortega, from left, and Hugo Ortega put on a memorable spread for master chef Jacques Pépin. Courtesy Photo