Bivalve Throwdown @ Stella Sola
& Houston Chowhounds Battle Gumbo Potluck
Houston Chronicle write-up: Oyster Stew: Houston Chowhounds' Bivalve Throwdown
Houston Press write-up: Bivalve Throwdown: Oysters With a Side of Intrigue at Stella Sola
29-95.com write-up: Aw, Shucks, This Competition was one for the Books
Sunday November 8, 2009, 4 - 9 PM
1001 Studewood @ 10th St, Houston 77008
Please note the event has moved from REEF to Stella Sola
4:00 PM Doors open
4:45 PM Oyster Shucking Contest
5:00 PM Battle Gumbo Potluck Judging by Oyster TD chefs
6:00 PM Oyster Judging by Panel of Judges
8:30 PM Winners announced
The objective of this event is:
Be a part of the another exciting food event!
Local star chefs will be competing against each other to win the title of Bivalve Throwdown Champion. Will two-time throwdown champ Cody Vasek successfully defend his title? Whose oysters will reign supreme? Houston Chowhounds will competing in an amateur chef Battle Gumbo Potluck Throwdown. This competition will be judged by competing chefs in the BVTD.
Meet our Judges. The panel of judges will be announced at a later date. However, as always, one judge will be a wild card and anyone is eligible to win. The wild card judge will be chosen by whoever submits the best response to the question, “Why should I be a BVTD judge?” There is no word limit. Please send your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10/31. The winner will be announced the following week.
Here is the panel of judges:
No one leaves hungry. The patron buffet will be prepared by REEF, Stella Sola, Louisiana Foods, and Banquet Depot. Several oyster bars will also be set up at the event with shuckers serving raw oysters. Due to the sensitive nature of oysters, BVTD competitors will not be expected to bring food for the buffet.
Any chef who would like to contribute food to the event in exchange for free tickets, please email email@example.com.
No one leaves thirsty. The bar at Stella Sola will be operating with a limited drink menu during the event which will include Saint Arnold beer. Stella Sola’s staff will be slinging drinks on their day off work, so please tip them well.
Tickets. Tickets will be available for sale online via Paypal on 10/22. Tickets are $40 each and will be available via Eventbrite.
Guidelines for Bi-valve/Oyster Contestants
Rules of engagement. Each contestant must prepare one raw and one cooked oyster dish. All oysters for the competition will be provided to the contestants at the event. Contestants will be able to choose from a variety of live Gulf oysters in the shell or fresh, shucked oysters. However, contestants are required to bring all other ingredients they need to prepare their dishes for the competition. Both dishes will be presented to the judges' table simultaneously. Additionally, only one chef per restaurant will be allowed in this competition. Each chef may bring one sous chef to assist him/her in the competition.
Entries for judging. Contestants are required to prepare eight portions of both dishes for each member of the judging panel. The dishes may be individually plated or served family-style to the judges' table. In addition, the hot and cold oyster dishes may be plated on the same china if not served family-style. Contestants are encouraged to bring their own dishware as presentation will be a factored into scores.
Food for patrons. Contestants will not be required to contribute food to the patron buffet due to the sensitive nature of oysters. However, each contestant will be required to bring 1 gallon of the raw oyster accompaniment (sauce, mignonette, foam, etc.) they will be serving to the judges. The container should be labeled with the chef or restaurant's name (a taped business card is fine). The sauces/accompaniments will be available at the oyster shucking stations for patrons to enjoy. If a contestant would like to contribute a full sheet pan of food for the patron buffet in exchange for an additional ticket to the event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kitchen priviledges. All contestants will have access to Stella Sola's fryers, stove top and ovens, however all ingredients needed must be brought to the event. Prep and cooking space is limited. Contestants may arrive at the event with their raw oyster dish accompaniment, but the cooked oyster dish will need to be prepared and cooked onsite. All oysters will be provided to the contestants. Please email email@example.com with any other questions regarding kitchen or cooking logistics.
Expenses. There will be no stipend for contestants toward food expenses since all oysters will be provided. Each chef team will attend the event free of charge. In addition, each chef will receive one free guest ticket. Please submit the full name of the guest with registration.
Oyster Judging: The judging panel will be made up of eight judges. Judging will begin at 6pm and the order in which contestants cook and present to the judges will be determined the day of the competition. Each contestant will present both their raw and cooked dishes together and may give a brief explanation of the dishes.
Judging criteria: Oysters will be judged on the following:
How contestants will be selected:
The previous throwdown champion and host of the previous throwdown will have automatic entries in the throwdown. The host of the throwdown is also guaranteed entry into the competition. The remaining contestants will be chosen by lottery if we receive more entries than we can accommodate. Contestants will be announced on Mon, Nov 2.
To register as a Bivalve Throwdown contestant, please email the following information to Jenny Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tue, Oct 27.
NOTE: Chefs who register after 10/27 will not have their names listed on the event t-shirt even if they are accepted late into the competition.
Guidelines for Battle Gumbo contestants:
Battle Gumbo potluck contestants will be comprised of Houston Chowhound amateur chefs. Contestants must prepare their items off-site and bring their entry in an electric crockpot which can be plugged in to keep them warm. Entries must be ready at the time of judging which will be as early as 5pm.
Rules of engagement. Entries should be composed of a roux-based soup. Other than that, anything goes. Entries can be all meat/poultry, seafood, veggie, or a combination of both. Contestants should also bring their own serving utensils.
Expenses. Each contestant will receive a free ticket to the event and should not expect any other compensation for expenses.
Battle Gumbo Judging. Judging of gumbo will begin at 5pm. The judging panel will be comprised of all Bivalve Throwdown competing chefs. Each contestant may prepare an index card already inscribed with their entry's name and description. This is optional.
Judging Criteria: All entries will be scored by the panel of judges on the following criteria:
To register as a Battle Gumbo contestant, please email the following information to email@example.com by 11/1.
Each restaurant may enter one shucker into the shucking contest. Shuckers and competing chefs from each restaurant can be two separate individuals. The contest winner will be awarded to the person who shucks a dozen oysters on the half shell in the least amount of time. Time will be added for damaged/cut oysters, dirt, or oysters not completely separated from the shell. Contest specifics will be explained before the competition begins. Each shucker is required to bring his/her own glove and shucking knife.
Each shucker will receive one free ticket to the event.
To register for the shucking contest, please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11/1.
To all contestants:
A book of Contestants’ recipes will be compiled, printed, and sold at the event for $5 with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Recipe for Success. Please make every effort to email your recipe to email@example.com by Mon, Nov 9th.
Remember this contest is for fun, bragging rights and moreover to bring the food community together. Excellent food for excellent people.
Keep up with event announcements which will be posted to the bottom of this webpage.
To keep up with event news and discussions, follow Jenny Wang aka @imneverfull on Twitter.
Special thanks to Bryan Caswell & Bill Floyd
of REEF & Stella Sola for hosting this event
& our other event sponsors:
For more information about Stella Sola:
For more information about the Houston Chowhounds or to become a member: