Houston Event Chef RSVP

Thank you for your interest in participating in Indie Chefs Week Houston from January 5-7. The event will hold three dinners; two preliminary dinners (on the 5th and 6th) featuring 9 chefs cooking one course each. The Grand Finale dinner will feature all 18 chefs paired off in deuces collaborating on a 9+ course dinner. All dinners will be held at our host restaurant, the Rose Café in Venice. As a participant, you are required to cook at one preliminary dinner followed by the Sunday Grand Finale. We will work with you to schedule you on nights you are available. If you’d like to attend, please fill out the form below (in full) and submit as soon as possible as slots are first come, first serve. If you have participated previously in NYC or LA and have filled out this form, there is no need to do it again unless you want to update the bio, photo, or any other information we used for the NYC event. If you have any further questions, please read the FAQ below. If you still have questions, email Grover Smith at grover@indiechefsweek.com.

You must RSVP by Friday, December 1st, 2017! Slots are first come, first serve.


1. What the heck is Indie Chefs Week?

Indie Chefs Week was started in 2012 by Ned Elliott and the inaugural series was at his restaurant, Foreign & Domestic in Austin in January 2012. We created it as a way to showcase hard-working, talented, independent chefs who ran their own small, thoughtful restaurants. These men and women were piggybacking on the explosion of twitter and facebook to bootstrap their own PR and marketing. As twitter’s use continued to grow, Ned began discovering dozens of incredibly talented chefs making amazing food with little or no PR. Eager to get the group of indie chefs together, Ned wanted to create an anti-food festival; an event where chefs could plate the food they liked making for their own restaurant’s guests for a small group of appreciating diners, but still be able to underwrite the costs of travel, housing, and location expenses. We didn’t want to make you put up 1500 bites in the blazing sun. So, Indie Chefs Week was born. In 2015 we took it to Taco Maria in Costa Mesa for the first traveling event. Now in 2017, we’re doing four events in four cities across the country to bring together the best in up-and-coming, hard working, and not-yet-well known culinary talent. Our first event just wrapped up in March in Austin, NYC was in May, and LA just finished in November. Houston is our last event of 2017 (yes we know it’s 2018 but Hurricane Harvey put a wrench in our plans).

We pay for most, if not all of your travel expenses, provide you with housing, pay for your food cost, and host you all week as we bring in food and hang out each night so you can unwind, network, and do a little relaxing while you get away from your own place. For LA, we’re bringing in 9 chefs from across the country to pair up with 9 Houston area chefs for a series of three dinners.

2. Can I bring a guest or chef from my team with me?

Yes, you can bring as many guests as you’d like. However, Indie Chefs Week will only provide housing and flight reimbursement for the participating chef. We can provide you with a list of alternative accommodations if you would like to stay with your guest. If you would like to bring another chef, friend, or spouse / significant other, we have tickets available for purchase at a steep discount (one per participating chef). Any additional tickets after the first guest are available first come, first serve at the full price. If your guest doesn’t need to have a seat at the dinners, they are welcome to attend as a non-eating spectator. We will allow your guest to attend the after parties at no cost. However, certain after party venues have limited space and there may not be space available for more than one guest.

If you have financial difficulty paying for your flight out of pocket and waiting for reimbursement at arrival, and please notify us in your RSVP. When absolutely necessary, we can book flights for you. Failure to attend the event after food, housing, and flights are purchased will result in you forfeiting your right to reimbursement. By RSVP’ing to attend, you agree to these terms.

3. I’d be coming in from out of town so where am I staying?

We’ve reserved a block of rooms at a boutique hotel in Houston down the street from the event location . You will be staying in a double room and share it with another chef. We will do our best to match up requested roommates and meet any other requests by the chefs. We pay for the rooms and you are responsible for any incidental charges. The hotel has complimentary breakfast each day. Any other charges are your responsibility to cover. If you need your own room, we can book it and Indie Chefs Week will cover half of the room cost (rental rate and taxes only). You must request a single room at the time of RSVPing and we will contact you to make arrangements.

4. How much of a reimbursement credit do I get towards my flight?

Flight credits largely depend on the location host city. We reimburse up to $300 per itinerary. We know that’s not a large budget, so please try and book your flights as soon as possible. If you’re having trouble finding affordable airfare, please contact us and we’ll make it happen and provide you with alternate airports and ideas for getting to Houston. You will probably need a flexible arrival date. If you’re driving in, provide me with receipts and I’ll reimburse gas. If you don’t want reimbursement, please let us know! We are donating the leftover food, travel, and accommodations budget to No Kid Hungry at the end of 2017 and any help keeping down expenses is appreciated! I don’t want to hold rooms that will go unused!

5. What is my food cost reimbursement maximum?

Your food cost is limited to $125 per dinner. For example, if you’re cooking Sunday and Tuesday, you’ll have $250 to spend. However, please keep in mind that you are collaborating on a course in the grand finale dinner and therefore you split the $125 with another chef (which totals a max reimbursement of $187.50 per chef). You are welcome to bring prepped ingredients and proteins with you from your restaurant and submit for reimbursement up to the limit. However, any additional cost incurred above your maximum will require you to pay for it out of pocket. We will not reimburse for any additional expense from shipping or traveling with your food. We have many wonderful purveyors and sponsors in each host city that provide food gratis so use those sources wisely. The purveyor and product information will be provided in the web link to be sent via email after you confirm your participation.

6. How will I get around and what transportation is provided by ICW?

We do not provide transportation. It’s Houston, you’re staying right down the street, and the hotel gave us free parking. You must agree to not drink and drive, so please use public transportation, taxis, and rideshare services when necessary.

7. What are my responsibilities as a participant?

You are required to attend each of the dinners when you are scheduled along with creating your own course for each preliminary dinner and working collaboratively with another chef to co-create a course for the finale dinner on Sunday. The format requires that you come out and speak about your dishes in advance of them being enjoyed by our guests. For Houston, each preliminary dinner will have around 75 guests, so you’ll need to have ingredients for up to 80 plates, which includes the dishes used for photos and video and feeding media.

Our sponsors will ask for a recipe using their products to use as promotion for Indie Chefs Week and we may ask you to participate in demos and testimonials, when appropriate. We humbly request that you help our generous sponsors with social media mentions of their products that you believe in along with mentions of Indie Chefs Week on all social media channels.

8. What is the deadline to accept the invitation?

The deadline is Friday, December 1st, 2017 and you must RSVP by submitting a completed form below. Spots for each Indie Chefs Week are first come, first serve. Once December 1st passes, we send out a second wave of invites if all the slots aren’t filled. The chef questionnaire has a spot to request certain nights to cook based on availability. We will do our best to accommodate those requests. If you’re not available for the event you’ve been invited to, we do have other events throughout the year and can transfer your invite to the next event(s). If you cannot confirm your participation, but would like to be put on our “wait and see” list, please let us know and we’ll hold a spot for you as long as possible.

9. I can’t make the Houston event, can I attend another ICW later in the year?

Most likely. We haven’t set locations and dates yet but will sooner than later.

Indie Chefs Week Code of Conduct

By RSVPing to attend Indie Chefs Week and participate, you are agreeing to the following code of conduct.

Basically, don’t get intoxicated and drive. Be nice, friendly, and welcoming to everyone. Come to the event and understand the whole point is just getting to spend time together, learn, teach, and bullshit. Don’t just show up for the dinners. Take part in everything: the communal prep time, the after parties, and the service itself. Make new friends. Take this seriously. The guests are the ones that pay for making this happen. If a guest is inquisitive, humor them. Most of all, just enjoy yourself; whatever that means to you. We want you to be able to get away from your restaurant and do what you love doing most around those who feel the same.

For more information, including a schedule, locations, and general event info, visit indiechefsweek.com. The event specific page will be at indiechefsweek.com/hou-2018/.

Full Schedule

Preliminary Dinners: 9 chefs cook over 2 nights
7:30 PM Service: Friday and Saturday, January 5th and 6th – Closed restaurant space in Midtown

Grand Finale Dinner: all chefs required to attend
7:00 PM Service: Sunday, January 7th – Closed restaurant space in Midtown

Photo Gallery

RSVP form

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  • The shirts run a little small and are "athletic" fit!
  • To participate in ICW you are required to cook at one of the first two preliminary nights (Thursday/Friddy) and again on Sunday. Please pick your first preference here. We will do our best to accommodate your request.
  • If you're a Houston area local, please skip the next four questions and jump down to the bio.
  • Because we schedule mandatory group dinner outings for the chefs, we ask that if you're cooking Friday, you arrive in time to go out on Thursday with the other Friday chefs. If you're cooking Thursday, we ask that you arrive Wednesday night or as early as possible Thursday morning.
  • Please let us know if you will need housing during your stay.
  • If you need us to provide you with housing, on which nights will you need it?
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