We detected a bit of competition Monday night between the chefs who are veterans of the Bon Vivant fundraiser for the Youth Development Center. Brennan's Danny Trace went Caribbean on his table and brought along a steel drum duo while Max's Wine Dive chef Michael Pellegrino flew blind while the Pork Belly duo strummed and sang for his table entertainment.
It was a wild night in the ballroom of the Hilton Post Oak with 21 chefs signing on to cook dinner for tables of 12. Imagine aromas emanating from 21 cooking stations, table decor individually planned by each chef and the rush to get the multi-course dinners served in timely fashion. The senses could not have been more entertained.
Haven chef Randy Evans allowed that his eatery was so busy — even on a Monday night — that he couldn't spare any kitchen help. So he went solo. Quattro's Maurizio Ferrarese served a whopping 12 courses. Reef's Bryan Caswell, the only chef with responsibility for two tables, had assistants to ensure that his service sang. We can only imagine what first-timer Chris Williams of Lucille's thought about the culinary carrying-on.
A sweet $60,000 resulted from the auction of dinner for 12 with chefs Chris Shepherd, Trace and Caswell cooking. The dinner sold twice for $30,000 each.
The creativity and talents brought to the tables by each of these guys — and one gal caterer Elizabeth Stone — made the night well worth the cost of admission. Good news for chairs Richard Flowers, Kirby McCool, Scott Richardson and Charlene Ripley. By night's end — after food, drink, decor and service had been donated by the chefs — Youth Development Center coffers were enriched by close to $200,000.
A sweet $60,000 resulted from the auction of dinner for 12 with chefs Chris Shepherd, Trace and Caswell cooking. The dinner sold twice for $30,000 each. Big buyers were Chuck Yates and a consortium led by Lisa and Mike Stewart.
Rounding out the chef contingent were Triniti's Ryan Hildebrand, Philippe Restaurant + Lounge's Philippe Schmit, A Fare Extraordinaire's Ricky Cruz, BB's Cafe's Brooks Bassler, L'Olivia's Olivier Ciesielski, Hotel ZaZa's Jonathan Jones, Oceanaire chef Skip King, Roost's Kevin Naderi, San Luis Hotel's Brian Robertson, Jim Benton of Houston's Louis Ray, Uchi's Kaz Edwards and the Hilton Americas-Houston's Rufy Sulaiman. Add popular chef Mark Holley, most recently of the shuttered Pesce, to the mix. Look for him to resurface on the local restaurant before you know it.