Becoming a Robb Report Culinary Master is no walk in the park. This year’s winner—Nick Badovinus, chef and owner of the four Neighborhood Services restaurants in Dallas—competed against some very stiff competition: Jean-Marc Boyer, nominated by Pierre Gagnaire; Josef Centeno, nominated by Wolfgang Puck; Yoshiaki Takazawa, nominated by David Bouley; and Nicolas Delaroque, nominated by Nancy Oakes. Each selected by an established culinary powerhouse, these up-and-coming chefs represent some of the best new talent in the culinary world. Ultimately, Badovinus’s take on modern Texas cuisine won the hearts (and stomachs) of our judging panel during the meal he prepared in October at the Edge Steakhouse at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, in Southern California. In late January, Badovinus and his nominating chef, Dean Fearing, returned to the Ritz-Carlton to celebrate with an exclusive group of guests comprising Robb Report staff, members of the Robb Report Club, and local dignitaries.
Wines from Dom Pérignon and Vérité Wines complemented the dishes in the four-course meal. Following canapés, the meal began with a delectable barbecued-shrimp taco prepared by Fearing with a garnishing salad of chopped mango, pickled red onion, and smoky citrus vinaigrette. The second course was courtesy of the Edge Steakhouse’s executive chef, Linton Romero. It entailed foie gras with citrus, black olive oil, and blood-orange cake. Badovinus prepared the main course, staying true to his modern take on U.S. cuisine: a 60-day dry-aged Heart of Delmonico rib-eye steak dusted with cracked black pepper and placed on a bed of Texas-style Rosewood brisket hash with Peppercress; Badovinus’s signature voodoo sauce provided some mouthwatering spiciness to the dish. Dessert was deconstructed cookies and cream with chocolate shortbread and Earl Grey mousse.