Fresh off a dramatic revamp, luxury boutique steakhouse scores unprecedented acclaim at one of the country’s top culinary and wine festivals, earning The Waterford Crystal Chef of Chef and Just Desserts Trophies
June 14, 2018 (The Woodlands, Texas) – The Howard Hughes Corporation® is proud to announce that Area Executive Chef David Morris and Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Witcher of Robard’s® Steakhouse swept both top chef awards at this year’s Wine & Food Week’s Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase competition, which was held in The Woodlands®, Texas last Saturday, June 9th. An unprecedented achievement, Chef Morris was awarded The Waterford Crystal Chef of Chefs Trophy and a $5,000 Cash Prize, while Chef Witcher was honored with The Waterford Crystal Just Desserts Trophy and a $1,000 Cash Prize. This accomplishment comes just weeks after the destination steakhouse unveiled a completely reimagined dining experience, which was inspired by its namesake Howard Robard Hughes Jr.’s sense of adventure, discovery, timelessness and pioneering spirit.
The 14th Annual Wine & Food Week, which took place June 4 – 10, 2018, was presented by H-E-B and is the largest, most comprehensive epicurean and wine adventure from Aspen to New Orleans. This year’s theme, "Taste the Love” brought together 225+ wineries and 75+ chefs from across the globe, delivering thousands of flavors and immersive experiences throughout wine tastings, wine dinners, seminars, the Celebrity Cruises Platinum Wine Vault Collector’s Tasting, Taco Takedown Competition, casual wine walk for 4,000 people and the elaborate, Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase, featuring the Cadillac VIP Premium Lounge and the Gloria Ferrer Bubbles Cove.
"We are honored to have worked with world-class talent throughout the week, bringing over 900 wines from 225+ wineries, international cuisine, endless flavors and immersive experiences to The Woodlands year after year,” said Constance McDerby, founder of Food & Vine Time Productions, which produces the annual culinary event. "In the festival’s 14-year history, no other restaurant has ever won both top chef awards in the same year. We look forward to welcoming Area Executive Chef David Morris and Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Witcher to defend their titles.”
Following three hours and two rounds of voting by a panel of esteemed judges in a field of more than 40 restaurants, Chef Morris earned the top prize with his Ménage à Trios Wagyus in the Woods dish. A classic creation with an inventive twist, the winning-dish featured a spectacular Miyazaki A5 Japanese Wagyu, Mishima Ranch Wagyu Short Rib, and Snake River Farms Wagyu Tenderloin with petit garden surprises, sunchoke purée, uni and foie butter with hollandaise and bordelaise syrup. Chef Witcher equally wowed judges with his clever Texas Two-Step Donut Sundae, comprised of homemade brioche donuts served with basil-infused Texas peaches and Rebecca Creek Whiskey Sauce topped with buttered Texas pecans.
"Since the Robard’s re-launch just a few short weeks ago, I am delighted to see our team rise to the occasion,” said Area Executive Chef Morris. "From humble beginnings, the results are a true testament to the hard work, passion and drive our culinary team has dedicated to ensuring Robard’s lives up to its namesake. We’re in the business of creating raving fans, and it will be exciting to see as more people discover the new Robard’s."
"I am beyond humbled and proud of our culinary team's accomplishment. We are honored that the judging panel regonized our team’s talent and dedication, recognizing our dishes to be among the best,” said Executive Pastry Chef Witcher. "It was inspiring to be surrounded with such amazing, young talent and I look forward to participating in next year’s event.”
Under the supervision of Area Executive Chef Morris, who recently joined the Robard’s team following five years overseeing the culinary program at Arizona’s Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, where he served as Executive Chef, the luxury boutique steakhouse has reestablished itself as the preeminent destination restaurant in The Woodlands. Complementing Chef Morris’ expertise, Chef Witcher’s extensive background in restaurant and hotel openings, as well as his experience overseeing the pastry programs around the world, provides him with a uniquely global take on classic favorites. Chef Witcher has held the Executive Pastry Chef role in several celebrated establishments, including New York’s Taven On The Green, Sinagpore’s Marina Bay Sands, Ritz-Carlton’s Washington, D.C. hotels, and Four Seasons Seattle.
Since its relaunch in May 2018, Robard’s has delighted locals and travelers with bold, inventive dishes in an immersive dining experience. The new Robard’s redefines the classic American steakhouse with a menu that showcases sophisticated cuts of dry-aged beef, artisanal breads, fresh-catch seafood, creative desserts, and handcrafted garden-to-glass cocktails.
To learn more about Robard’s or to make a reservation, please visit www.robardssteakhouse.com.