Nearly 1,200 haute and hungry Houstonians packed the 2022 CultureMap Houston Tastemaker Awards to toast the Bayou City’s best at Silver Street Studios.
Houston’s hottest, biggest, and preeminent food event is the crowning moment of our annual, weeks-long program that highlights and celebrates the hottest, most innovative, and most visionary of the city’s culinary and bar scene.
This year’s Tastemaker Awards benefited local charity Second Servings, the nonprofit organization that rescues surplus food from retailers, sports venues, distributors, hotels, and more and delivers it to charitable operations and shelters.
As always, a host of sponsors helped make the night a rousing success, including Maestro Dobel Tequila, Stranahan’s Rocky Mountain Single Malt Whiskey, 11 Below Brewing Company, Malibu Splash, All Hands Craft Cocktails, DAOU Vineyards, Goodstock by Nolan Ryan, and Topo Chico.
Cheered on by unseasonably cool weather, fans packed Silver Street’s grand hall; some pregamed at the VIP bar and lounge, many snapped pics at the selfie stand and backdrop and — always a fave — the uber-cool 360 Photo Booth from PicMe Events. The twirling takes made for hundreds of Instagram stories.
Then, it was on to some of the city’s best bites and libations and hydration stationing courtesy of Topo Chico. Delectable dishes included:
- Kinokawa’s Carbonara di Uni
- Koffeteria’s Fried Chicken Sandwich on Focaccia, Baguette with Cambodian Pesto, and Oatmeal Cookie
- Trattoria Sofia’s Polpetti D’Agnello
- Hidden Omakase’s Waygu Picanha Toast
- Le Jardinier’s Poached Shrimp
- Bludorn’s Pimento Cheese Gougere
- Phat Eatery’s Shrimp Siu Mai Dumpling
- Brasil’s Frito Pie-ish
- De Gama Canteen’s Pani Puri
- Common Bond Brasserie’s Smoked Duck Rillette
- Click Virtual Food Hall’s Bicol Express
- El Topo’s Strawberry Carlotta and Al Pastor Croquette
- Stella’s at the Post Oak’s Tuna Poke
- Blacksmith’s Candy bars
- Degust’s Olive Baba Yogurt & Castelvetrano Olive Bread
- Fluff Bake Bar’s Couch Potato Cookie Dough
- Golfstrømmen’s Smoked Salmon Snitter, Red Drum, and Norwegian Salmon
- J Bar M’s Tri-Tip Tostada
- Candente’s Tacos de Canasta
- Handies Douzo’s Sake Crudo
- Goodnight Hospitality’s (Rosie Cannonball and March) Scallop Crudo
- Daily Gather’s Deviled Eggs
- Trill Burgers’ OG Burger and Smashed Onion Burger
Emcee Bun B, Houston’s own hip-hop icon, fresh off a historic rodeo show and a Coachella stop — and longtime trill Tastemaker Awards host — hyped up the energetic audience and set the tone for the fast and fun awards program. His Trill Burgers, which he debuted at last year’s Tastemaker Awards, were once again one of the night’s buzziest stops.
In a well-deserved hat tip, Bun B glossed CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler as “the best palate in Houston” before moving to the nominees.
Audience members roared for nominees including Pop-up of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year, Bar of the Year, Best New Restaurant, and the hotly anticipated Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.
Winners were chosen by the aforementioned judges panel of restaurant industry experts — except Best New Restaurant, which was voted on by CultureMap readers. Get the full list of winners here.
As Bun B pointed out, much like the Academy Awards’ buzz builds around Best Actor and Best Picture, the Tastemaker Awards anticipation builds around the Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year categories.
In the end, the acclaimed Aaron Bludorn took the title of Chef of the Year. Restaurant of the Year, the awards’ top prize, went to Street to Kitchen in a surprise win. The humble, “unapologetically Thai” restaurant shares a building with a gas station convenience store.
Since its launch in 2014, our Tastemaker Awards have been the city’s defining food event where A-list dining names mix with casual fans. The massive crowd and eager participants made 2022 one of the biggest and brightest awards ever.
Hearty congratulations to the winners and thanks to the fans; we can’t wait for next year.