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Sunday, July 12, 2009

UBC Americas 2009, Dallas, Texas

I recently competed in the Ultimate Barista Challenge Americas in Dallas Texas at the Texas Restaurant Association's Food Expo. This competition takes place in 3 to 4 locations here in America during the year, and also in 3 foreign countries as well. It is divided into 4 categories: Latte Art/Specialty Latte, Frappe, Best of Brew, and Coffee Cocktail. Essentially the competition is in an "Iron Chef" style format, where the winner of each category in our respective regions (ours being south central region) face off against the "iron barista", or ultimate barista, who has gained their title by winning against a previous ultimate barista in one of the formats. In my quest to jump into the competitive circuit I thought this competition would be a good way of combining my coffee "purist" mentality with some of the greater minds in the food and service industry here in Houston. I was mentored by Bobby Heugel of , who is one of the owners of Anvil Bar and Refuge on Westheimer. His cocktail philosophies almost made it inevitable that as long as I didn't mess up (thank goodness I pulled through) we would take the cocktail comp. We did. Which is a great example of the great things we can do when we collaborate between industries. Plinio Sandalio, of Textile Restaurant and , helped me with my frappe, and I must say, this thing was incredible! I did not take the contest like I did with the cocktial, but the fault lies solely on me. I plan on mastering this amazing drink to continue competing with it in the next competition!

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