A star Houston chef teams up with a Fort Worth restaurant at the Food + Wine Festival

March 21, 2022 | Bud Kennedy | Star-Telegram

The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival also celebrates Asian cooking this year, and it’s about time. A Tex-Asian dinner March 31 highlights the schedule for this year’s festival, along with the usual events that feature “Tacos & Tequila” or “Burgers & Brews.” A $195 dinner named “From Houston to Ho Nai” teams Houston celebrity chef Chris Shepherd with Fort Worth chef Tuan Pham of Four Sisters Taste of Vietnam, 1001 S. Main St.

Yes, it’s a $195 dinner. But that includes eight dishes served in four courses, with wine pairings and autographed copies of a Shepherd book. Here’s why that’s important: Houston has the best restaurants in Texas, and Shepherd emerged in recent years as the city’s most heralded chef, originally for his Underbelly restaurant and now for his Georgia James steakhouse.

In Houston, it’s no big deal to find dishes like a Cajun-Viet crawfish boil. That’s one of the courses Shepherd’s Underbelly Hospitality will serve in Fort Worth along with “Vietnamese fajitas.” Four Sisters will counter with Pham’s crab fried rice, steamed-rice pork-and-mushroom rolls and for dessert, Vietnamese coffee flan. The dinner is in BRIK, 501 S. Calhoun St., an events center in a former textile mill. It’ll be interesting.

“The craziest part,” Pham said, “Is that there’s no kitchen.” Shepherd and Pham will work in a makeshift kitchen under a canopy. (It’s not unusual these days as more restaurants serve in historic buildings or unusual locations.) Pham’s looking forward to Shepherd’s crawfish boil, served with a Texas riesling. “He’s the king of Houston,” Pham said. “He’s been on my list of chefs I’d like to meet.”

Four Sisters is running full speed again, Pham said. If you haven’t gone down South Main Street on a weekend night lately, then you’ve missed the crowds packing the bars and restaurants of South Main Village. The top menu items are Pham’s crab fried rice ($14) and shaken beef tenderloin ($18.50), he said.

If you’d like to see Pham and Shepherd at work, tickets to “From Houston to Ho Nai” are sold at fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com. (Some tickets are still on sale for other events at $50-$175.)

If you’d just like to try Four Sisters, it’s open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays and for lunch Wednesdays through Fridays; 682-385-9353, foursistersfw.com.


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