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THE WOODLANDS, Texas Five celebrity chefs turned up the heat at Hubbell & Hudson s Viking Kitchen in The Woodlands as they dished out a cook-off as part of a fabulous auction item at the 2011 Connoisseurs for Charity fundraiser hosted by Woodforest Charitable Foundation.

The three participating chefs were Chef Bryan Caswell of REEF, Chef Charles Clark of Ibiza Food & Wine Bar, and Chef Mark Cox of MARK S American Cuisine, who assembled teams with guests. Chef Kent Rathbun, of JASPER S and Abacus, and Chef Arturo Osorio of Amerigo s Grille were on hand to coach guests with culinary pointers and to serve as judges. All five of these famous chefs, who are top-ranked in the state and country and represent fine restaurants from Houston and The Woodlands, were featured at the 2011 Connoisseurs for Charity which raised $295,000 for numerous non-profits benefited by Woodforest Charitable Foundation.

During the cook-off, donated by Hubbell & Hudson, each of the three chefs was given a mystery basket of ingredients from which to prepare a unique meal along with the help of their team of enthusiastic guests.

The Halibut Basket was stocked with Jicama, purple fingerling potatoes, baby white carrots, orange compari tomatoes, pancetta, Israeli couscous, buckwheat sprouts, and sparkling cider vinegar. The Fillet Mignon Basket contained truffle oil, trumpet mushrooms, yuca root, forbidden rice, coconut milk, arborio rice, dried porcini and dried figs. In the Quail Basket were radishes, graffiti eggplant, red lentils, dried pears, bacon, walnuts, and coconut flour. Fueling the challenge, each chef was also allowed to choose one additional ingredient from Hubbell & Hudson s specialty market.

Armed with no recipes and relying purely on culinary talent, each team competed to turn out an appetizer, a main course and a dessert through their assigned chef s signature creativity.

Kim Marling, executive director & vice president of Woodforest Charitable Foundation, said, The chefs and professionals at Hubbell & Hudson and the Viking Cooking School worked diligently with us to create this unique and extraordinary event. We had a such a great time as all the chefs and guests enjoyed the fun challenge of coming up with their own delicious and beautifully presented dishes using just what they discovered inside their baskets. This incredible event not only supported deserving charities but was also deliciously fun. We are ready for our next Connoisseurs for Charity fundraising dinner on September 23rd, so this cook-off served as a ceremonial kick-off for us as well.

Woodforest Charitable Foundation will host its 6th Connoisseurs for Charity on September 23, 2012 at Amerigo s Grille in The Woodlands featuring all five celebrity chefs who will whisk up an extraordinary evening of delectable dining, fine wine, garnished with an exciting live auction of fabulous packages.

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