Harlem Hosts Houston for a Chef Battle

Chefs When a night includes six stellar chefs, a MacArthur Fellow jazz pianist, and a marrow bone used as a salt shaker, it's an event you won't soon forget. And that's exactly what happened on Ginny's on Wednesday evening. With the generous support of the Houston CVB, Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of Houston's The Pass & Provisions took to our kitchens and created a showdown of flavors in a battle of Houston versus Harlem.

Having worked with Marcus at Aquavit and later, August, the night was all about bringing mentors and mentees back together in the kitchen. The Pass & Provisions was recently recognized as one of Bon Appetit's best new restaurants, and last night Marcus credited Seth and Terrence for following a dream and opening a successful restaurant in their hometown.

"It's funny how things come full circle," Terrence remarked before dinner. "It's been so great to be able to work alongside Marcus again and show him how far we've come."

The evening showcased the best of Houston and Harlem, with each course as an interpretational tete-a-tete. First course was oysters two ways, fried and raw; second highlighted Gulf shrimp and East Coast Striped Sea Bass; third was beef tartare with the aforementioned powdered bone marrow shake and sirloin wrapped around tandoori salmon; and dessert was affectionately called the Big Apple (Harlem presented green apple sorbet and fennel cream) and Little Apple (Houston fought back with baba rhum cake with Pedro Ximenez sauce).

And if that wasn't enough as a finishing touch, the amazing jazz pianist Jason Moran took to the piano to play three songs that were inspired by his native home (Houston) and Harlem, the neighborhood he's called home for the past 20 years. The night was intimate, celebratory, inspirational and delicious, and thank you all who helped make it such a memorable event, especially chefs Seth and Terrence, and our own Mark Gandara, Joel Harrington, and Leonardo Marino. To end the night in the most hospitable way he can, Marcus sent guests away with a hot piece of fried chicken as they exited the door.

Jason and Marcus

Click through the gallery for more images from the night:


Photography: Sean Sime