Presented by

Zest (zêst) : vigorous and enthusiastic

2016 Best of Zest Culinary Awards
presented by

with special guest judges
Phaedra Cook, Kris Jakob, Jeremy Parzen, Mai Pham, and Shannen Tune

West Houston's finest restaurants compete for the coveted title of Best of Zest.

2016 Award Winners include:
     Latin Bites
     Cacao & Cardamom
     Mark Cox Catering

2015 Award Winners Include:
     Le Mistral
     Latin Bites

2014 Award Winners include:
     Le Mistral
     Kris Bistro & Wine Lounge
     Sweet Voodoo Artisan Confections

2013 Award Winners include:
     Latin Bites Cafe
     Peli Peli
     Kris Bistro & Wine Lounge

2012 Award Winners include: 
     Kroger with Nolan Ryan Meats
     Carmelo's Ristorante Italiano
     Gigi's Cupcakes


2016 Fashion Forward Award

presented by

Come dress to the nines to Zest in the West as you can be selected to win the Fashion Forward Award, presented by Chloe Wines!

Judges will wander the floor to find the best dressed individuals present and will come on stage towards the end to compete for the Fashion Forward Award. Come dressed to impress.

2016 Best of Zest Culinary Awards Judges

Phaedra Cook
Principal Writer & Communications Consultant
Revolution Collaborative

Phaedra Cook has been writing about food and beverage scene in Houston and its suburbs for the past four years. She started out with her own blog, Houston Food Adventures, and soon after started writing for the Houston Press “Eating Our Words” blog. She was the lead freelance restaurant critic for the Houston Press and a regular contributor to My Table magazine. She is currently the Principal Writer & Communications Consultant for Revolution Collaborative.


Kris Jakob
Owner & Executive Chef
Brasserie 1895
2014 Winner at Zest in the West

Kris Jakob of Kris Bistro grew up in a German household. Jakob started curing sausages with his family from a young age. He worked on the line at the first Macaroni Grill that opened before it became a chain.

Now an instructor at Culinary Institute LeNotre, Jakob is also executive chef of the bistro that they named after him. The menu at Kris Bistro is simple enough, a one-page, front and back affair. One of the things Kris Bistro is known for is Jakob's charcuterie. One of his personal passions, Jakob cures all the meats in house and serves them on a custom-made rack hanging from clothespins.

Jeremy Parzen
Food & Wine Historian
Do Bianchi

Born July 14, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in La Jolla, California, Jeremy Parzen is a widely published author and translator. His feature articles on food, wine and food history have appeared in nationally distributed cooking magazines, cookery books and academic journals. He lived, traveled, worked, and studied in Italy as a graduate student and resided in New York from 1997 to 2008.

He has translated numerous literary works, scholarly essays and books, including The Gallery of Memory by Lina Bolzoni (UTP) and F.T. Marinetti’s The Untameables (Sun and Moon).

His articles on food and wine have appeared in Wine & Spirits Magazine, Gastronomica, Men’s Vogue, La Cucina Italiana, andThe Tasting Panel among others.

Mai Pham
Food & Travel Writer

Mai Pham is one of the most active food and travel writers in Houston today. Her byline appears in numerous local and national publications — locally at Local Houston, but also in Houston Press, Houstonia, My Table Magazine — and nationally at, Food Republic, Forbes Travel Guide, and more. In addition to her written work, Mai is one of the top Tastemade vloggers in the nation. She is also a correspondent for Fox 26 News, where she dishes on the local food scene. Finally, she is a freelance restaurant critic for the Houston Press. Join Mai on her delicious culinary journeys by following her on Twitter, Instagram, and Tastemade @Femme_Foodie.

Shannen Tune
Owner and Executive Chef
Craft Burger Food Truck
2016 Food Network's Chopped Winner

Shannen Tune lunched craft burger food truck in January of 2016 with his partner Shadi Ardekani. Craft Burger is a gourmet burger food truck that uses all natural, locally sourced beef and produce. Before starting his own business Shannen Tune spent 17 years working in some of the best hotels in country such as the Mandarin Oriental hotels in Miami and New York City, Caesar’s Palace, MGM Grand, Platinum Hotel, The Luxor, Terrenea Resort, Hotel Icon, The Driskill Hotel and most recently the 4 start 4 diamond Hotel Derek. With his culinary experience having taken him across continents, Chef Tune’s adds refined touches to timeless Texas cuisine.

Shannen Tune most recently was featured on Food Network’s Chopped episode "Beg, Borrow or Eel." He went on to win the show, making him the first chef in Houston to take home the title of Chopped Champion.

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