Chef John Sikhatta is walking proud these days since his spice-seared tuna with curry potato pani puri earned the approval of the majority of the 200 guests attending Sunday's Curry Crawl at Straits Restaurant in CityCentre. Even if he does helm the Straits kitchen, it was no stacked deck that won Sikhatta the People's Choice award.
While guests voted his dish their fave, the panel of judges awarded Ambrosia chef Rik Patel first place honors for his Miso Chicken Curry. The two winners competed in the second annual fundraiser against restaurants including Latin Bites, Nosh Bistro, Rasoi, RA Sushi, Restaurant CINQ, Soma Sushi, Sparrow Bar + Cookshop and The Tasting Room.
Beneficiary of the afternoon of grazing and socializing was St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System’s young professional group, PULSE. Curry Crawl chairs Lindley and Jason Arnoldy, also PULSE chairs, joined celebrity judges Cleverley Stone, Greg Morago, Pat Sharpe and chef Kiran Verma in sampling the creative interpretations of traditional curry dishes. In from homebase in San Francisco was Straits owner and founder chef Chris Yao.
Guests taking home the curry spice mix party favors included, Annie and Tyler McQueen, Elizabeth Wise, KHOU Channel 11's Katherine Whaley with Chris Wadley, KTRK Channel 13's Miya Shay and State Rep. Gene Wu, Heather Connery, Marcy de Luna, Jessica Ford, Lauren Baughman and Max Barrett.