By Marcy de Luna
More than 700 guests turned out to the 14th annual Risotto Festival on Sunday afternoon. Attendees strolled the grounds at The Houston Design Center, enjoying risotto, plus antipasti, wine, music, entertainment and a charity auction.
Dishes, which ranged from carrot to oxtail to lobster, were created by 16 Houston chefs. A panel of judges chose the winners, announced by KPRC’s Rose-Ann Aragon, with Ja’Nel Witt of Sonoma in the Heights taking home first place for her risotto cacio e pepe.
Other winners included Dillon Kao of Ol’ Railroad Cafe, who came in second and Maurizio Ferrarese of Ristorante Cavour at Hotel Granduca, who placed third. Fadi Dimassi of Fadi’s Kitchen & Catering was named runner-up.
Also participating in the risotto competition were Daniel Berg of B.B. Italia, Patrick Guerra of The Art Institute of Houston, Scotty Campbell of Bertazzoni, Nathan Campbell of Chef de La Vie, Francesco Casetta of Casetta Catering, Laura Taylor of Bisou, Johnny Wesley of Poitin, Angelo Cuppone of Roma, Nick Fine of Underbelly, Brandi Key of Alice Blue, Jeff Samoska of Local Group Brewing and Lulzim Shimaj of 51fifteen Cuisine & Cocktails.
Proceeds from the festival benefited Be A Resource for COS Kids (BEAR), a non-profit organization that provides hope and help for abused and neglected children in Harris County.