Rising Stars Chefs’ Contest


The Dallas Wine and Food Festival celebrates the role that fine wine and food plays in the enhancement of our lives. In 1998, we developed The Rising Stars Chefs’ Contest to recognize and honor up-and-coming chefs who are particularly skilled at pairing wine and food. In this Contest, we look for recipes that effectively blend flavor and textural elements of wine and food and that feature ingredients and instructions that can easily be replicated by home cooks.

The contest is open to professional chefs who work in establishments open to the public with a wine program or allows wine to be consumed on premises.
A Call for Entry is posted on the festival web site and emailed to chefs in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Those who enter the contest are sent a written examination. If there are more than 18 chefs who pass the written examination, each will be given a set of oral questions. The finalists go on to the cooking round.

The 2012 Rising Stars Chefs’ Contest judging took place on Monday, April 23 at El Centro College Culinary Arts School. The Awards Dinner was held during the Dallas Wine and Food Festival on Thursday, May 3, 2012 at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

2012 Advisory Panel

This panel of culinary and wine experts provides the questions for the contest’s written and oral examinations for the 1st and 2nd rounds of the contest:

  • David Brawley, Executive Pastry Chef, Princi Italia
  • Chris LaLonde, Chef Instructor, El Centro Community College, Dallas Texas
  • Rebecca Murphy, Freelance Wine Writer, The Dallas Morning News; Founder and Chairman, The Dallas Morning News Wine Competition

2012 Judges

This panel of judges will determine the winners at the cook-off on April 23, 2012

  • Cathy Barber, Wine & Food Editor, The Dallas Morning News
  • Ji Kang, Chef de Cuisine, Dish-Dallas
  • Paul Peddle, Executive Sous Chef, Fairmont Dallas
  • Omar Flores, Executive Chef, Driftwood
  • Guillaume Chhun, Chef Instructor, Le Cordon Bleu


  1. This contest is open to professional chefs working in establishments serving the public. The contest recognizes up and coming chefs - those who have held an Executive Chef position for more than five years are not eligible. Entrants must be over the age of 18.

  2. There is no category restriction on the dish prepared it may be any course from appetizer to dessert.

  3. Wine Assignments

    • Half of the entrants will be assigned the white wine, half the red wine.
    • Wine is not a required recipe ingredient.
    • Assignment of each entrant to a wine will be made by random drawing to be held by the Contest Committee. Each entrant will receive his/her wine assignment after the oral examination.
    • Each entrant will be provided 2 bottles of his/her assigned wine for recipe development.
  4. Judging Criteria

    • Compatibility of the food with the wine.
    • Ease of preparation and accessibility of ingredients to the home cook.
    • Overall presentation, taste and originality.
  5. Recipe Criteria

    • Recipes must be clearly written and concise.
    • Please scale the recipe for 4-6 servings.
    • Please submit your recipe in a Microsoft Word file. Please do not submit your recipe in a commercial format.
    • Recipes were submitted via e-mail, by midnight on Wednesday, April 17 to: info@dallaswinefest.com.
    • Recipes not received by midnight Wednesday, April 17 may be disqualified.
  6. Timing and Cook-off Guidelines
    • Entrants were notified of burner time on or before Friday April 20 for the judging on Monday and are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to this time. Late chefs can be disqualified.
    • Chefs may bring one assistant.
    • Each chef were allotted 45 minutes to prepare his/her dish.
    • We encourage you to do prep work in advance. The venue for this cook-off has limited space.
    • General pots, pans, bowls and baking trays will be available, but we encourage you to bring with you what you need. Chefs should bring any other equipment such as knife bag, cutting board, molds, etc.
    • Chefs are to prepare 1 plate for presentation and 6 reduced-portion tasting plates for the judging panel. Identical 15” plain white plates or other suitable plates will be provided for each entrant’s presentation. Chefs may not bring their own plates for judging.
    • Chefs are to clean their work space and any borrowed utensils before leaving the competition kitchen.
    • All costs of entry are the responsibility of the entrant.

  7. Judging was “blind” with no chef or affiliation identified.

  8. First and Second prizes were awarded for each of the two wines. All contestants were notified of winning entries immediately following the end of the Contest.

  9. Prizewinners for each of the two wines were required to recreate their winning dishes at the Rising Star Chefs’ Awards Dinner on Thursday, May 3, 2012. We will solicit donations from purveyors and other sponsors to help cover food costs for the dinner. The chef’s food expenses will be reimbursed at cost upon receipt of a copy of the supplier’s invoices.