Flavor File: National spotlight on Cured’s Steve McHugh, Chefs for Chefs brunch helps former Casbeers owner 

click to enlarge Up-and-comer Steve McHugh - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Up-and-comer Steve McHugh

Let’s start things off and bid good luck to Blue Box (312 Pearl Pkwy, (210) 227-2583) bartender Elisabeth Forsythe as she competes in Speed Rack Austin. Forsythe, the only San Antonio tender to compete on Wednesday, will go head-to-head with 20 other female bartenders for a chance to make it to the finals in NYC. Speed Rack is a competition created by and for female bartenders. Forsythe competed as a wild card finisher during last year’s finals alongside fellow bartendress Karah Carmack.

Much like we predicted in November’s Flavor dining guide, Cured at Pearl’s Steve McHugh, is on his way to being kind of a big deal. Eater.com, a national food trends and news website, named McHugh as one of its 2014 Chefs to Watch. The restaurant is going on its third week of business and so far, so good.

State representatives and district council members around Texas are all trying to woo Huy Fong Foods, maker of Sriracha. Representatives urging the company to relocate from its Rosemead, Calif. digs include Gene Wu (out of Houston’s District 137), Denton city councilman Kevin Roden and Jason Villalba (Dallas’ District 114). Huy Fong Foods has been under scrutiny by California regulators for its ever-present peppery fumes, which have allegedly caused some area residents a slew of health concerns. But in Texas, we can take the heat, amirite?

Culinaria announced its second annual Chefs for Chefs brunch beneficiary. The January 19 Biga on the Banks brunch will be manned by several SA chefs including the staff at Biga, Jason Dady, Zach Lutton, Diana Barrios, Mark Bliss, Damien Watel and more. Proceeds from the event will go toward alleviating the medical bills of former Casbeers owners Steve Silbas and wife Barbara Wolfe, who passed away in December. Tickets are $125 and are limited to the first 300 people.

In beer news, CraftBeer.com released a report on Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s growth across the state. While Houston leads the way as the brand’s biggest market, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth, the article points out that San Antonio is the brew’s fastest growing market with 59 percent growth in 2013. I guess SA really loves its Fancy Lawnmower.

NAO (312 Pearl Pkwy, (210) 554-6484) will continue its “celebration of cuisines” program with the launch of new Brazilian options on January 21. The three-course prix fixe menu will highlight seafood out of Brazil’s Bahia state along with indigenous fruits and veggies. Attendees can wash it all down with a fruity Caipirinha made by beverage manager Tim Bryand.

Barbecue fans can pencil in January 26 as the official kick off to the 10th annual Meat Week, a celebration of all things meaty. Details are still being pieced together, but follow Meat Week and Meat Week San Antonio on Facebook for updates.

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