Delicious in every way — that would be Thursday night's March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala that for the first time crossed the $1 million mark, making it the most successful Signature Chefs fundraiser in the country.
The Houston event has consistently ranked nationally as the number one evening of chefs cooking up a storm in a friendly competition, but the milestone seven-figures guarantees chairs Stephanie Cockrell and Laura Davenport and honorary chairs Sue and Lester Smith ranking in the MOD record books.
More than 750 guests grazed through almost two dozen food stations, arranged around the perimeter of the ballroom.
More than 750 guests grazed through almost two dozen food stations, arranged around the perimeter of the Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom, sampling delights from Latin Bites chef Roberto Castre, Mockingbird Bistro chef John Sheely, Uchi's Tyson Cole and Kaz Edwards, Brennan's chef Danny Trace and more.
While the munching throng had its favorites among the varied offerings, the judges had the final say. Chef Kiran Verma of Kiran's won for Best Culinary Creation and chef Mark Cox of Mark's American Cuisine took top honors for Best Presentation.
The spotlight shown, literally, on the evening's honorees — Community Honorees Greggory and Pat Burk, Corporate Honorees Neiman Marcus Galleria and Bob Devlin and the Houston Chronicle and Jack Sweeney. Julie Oliver and Tim Meiss and their son, Drake Oliver Meiss, took bows and shared their story as Fund the Mission Honorees.
Taking top chef honors was Michael Cordúa, who with his son David Cordúa, served as Platinum Culinary Sponsor, meaning that their Cordúa Restaurants oversaw the special menu served to top donors.
Savoring this rich event were 2011 chairs Vanessa Sendukas and Rosemary Schatzman plus Ned Davenport, Ernie Cockrell, Stephanie and Bill Perkins, Elizabeth and Gary Petersen, Alex and Brady Knight, Kathryn and Jeff Smith, Courtney Hopson, Rosemarie and Matt Johnson, Millette and Haag Sherman and Ericka Bagwell with Alex Klein.
The March of Dimes is happy to report that 2013 Signature Chefs Gala chairs are already waiting in the wings. Faced with the seven-figure challenge are Susan and Mike Plank and Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia.