On the surface, it would seem that 20 chefs whipping up five-course dinners using 51 toaster ovens and a score of butane stoves might result in more camp-out fare than gourmet. But that would be oh so wrong as Bon Vivant Houston's annual "A Culinary Experience to Remember" is one of the best charity dinners of the year.
Sunday night, the chefs took it over the top for their individual tables of 10, putting their finest culinary skills forward. Consider Brennan's Danny Trace's duck gumbo over duck prosciutto jambalaya topped with seared foie gras and a sunny-side up quail egg. And that was just for starters.
L'Olivier chef/owner Olivier Ciesielski entertained his guests with a dramatic tropical ceviche served in glass bowls steaming with dry ice while Elizabeth Stone of Silver Stone Events wowed her table with pan seared filet and braised short ribs served with smoked gouda grits.
As is tradition Michael Pellegrino, executive chef at The Tasting Room, pushed the envelope with his interpretation of a '50s diner, complete with "The Fonz" and waitresses on roller skates. His pantry was stocked allowing his guests to order whatever they had a hankering for.
Rounding out the generous chefs were Reef chef Bryan Caswell, Holley's Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar chef Mark Holley, Peli Peli's Paul Friedman, La Griglia's Luis Rubio, Harold's Restaurant chef Antoine Ware, Helen Greek Food and Wine's chef William Wright and sommelier Evan Turner, 1600 Bar+Grille's Ruffy Sulaiman, Pour Society's Greg Lowry and Matthew Lovelace, Kuu's Adison Lee, Radio Milano's Jose Hernandez, La Griglia's Luis Rubio, Hoel ZaZa's Monarch Bistro chef Jonathan Wicks, Hunky Dory's Richard Knight, Four Seasons Hotel's Quattro chef Maurizio Ferrarese, Roost's Kevin Naderi and Royal Sonesta executive chef Peter Laufer.
Chairing the taste good/feel good event that raised $200,000 for Youth Development Center were Kristen Barley, chef Caswell, Richard Flowers, Sabrina and Rob Hallet and Candice Wells.