A Tasteful Tribute To Fallen Chef

Rising star chef who died far too young is honored by Houston's top restaurant talent: An emotional night

Rising star chef who died too young is honored by Houston's finest

Grant Gordon, Tony's, December 2012
Chef Grant Gordon's life was remembered in a special evening of fine dining in a replica of his dream restaurant, "The Edmont." Photo courtesy of Tony's
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Harriet Choice, Bailey McCarthy, Pete McCarthy
Benefit organizers Bailey and Pete McCarthy. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Harriet Choice, Bill Choice, Terry Rambin
Grant Gordon's mother Harriet Choice, left with her, husband Bill Choice, and Terry Rambin. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, David Cordua, Barbara McKnight, Matt Marcus
Chefs David Cordua, left, Barbara McKnight and Matt Marcus. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Worth and Lauren Snyder, Sheridan Williams
Worth and Lauren Snyder, left, with Sheridan Williams, major underwriter.  Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, David Morgan, Jillian Bartolome
Chefs David Morgan and Jillian Bartolome. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, diners
The tables were set as if they might have been at the opening of The Edmont. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Harriet Choice, Bill Choice, Terry Rambin
Blue leather banquettes, stemware and china create The Edmont setting as it was imagined before the opening that never happened. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, The sky-like ceiling
The party tent was so authentic as to have a ceiling painted with drifting clouds.  Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, kitchen
One of several tents where chefs worked their magic. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, prep tent
The assembly line for the first course in a smaller tent erected at the site of The Edmont. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Grant Gordon, Tony's, December 2012
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Harriet Choice, Bailey McCarthy, Pete McCarthy
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Harriet Choice, Bill Choice, Terry Rambin
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, David Cordua, Barbara McKnight, Matt Marcus
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Worth and Lauren Snyder, Sheridan Williams
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, David Morgan, Jillian Bartolome
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, diners
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, Harriet Choice, Bill Choice, Terry Rambin
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, The sky-like ceiling
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, kitchen
News, Shelby, The Edmont, March 2015, prep tent

It is no small thing when seven chefs walk away from their kitchens on a Saturday night in order to provide a culinary tribute to one of their own. Yet, that is exactly what occurred when friends and family gathered to celebrate the memory of bright young culinary talent Grant Gordon, who took his own life in August at the age of 28. The evening was extraordinary.

Once friends recovered from the initial shock of losing the James Beard finalist shortly after announcement of his new restaurant, The Edmont, they began planning a tribute that would double as a fundraiser for the newly-established Grant Gordon Foundation. The foundation is focused on suicide prevention among those suffering with neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Gordon was being treated for the disease when he lost his life.

With Bailey and Peter McCarthy, partners in The Edmont, at the helm, organizers created a model of the restaurant faithful to Gordon's dream. In fact, Todd Events transformed the empty lot on Westheimer into a viable space that so defied the concept of "party tent" that the 250 guests felt as if they were truly in a restaurant space. The reception was held in an outer room that featured the tufted blue leather banquettes that Gordon had imagined and tables were set with china by Keith Kreeger.

"Pete and I wanted to honor Grant tonight by bringing to fruition as much as we could of his vision for The Edmont," Bailey McCarthy said. "This is about honoring his dream, showcasing his vision, but also making sure others facing an MS diagnosis as Grant was, have all the best information and help available to them."

As Jack Foster, a former roommate of Gordon's, welcomed guests, he noted, "Grant inspired every bite that these fantastic chefs have prepared."

"It is no small thing for a chef to step away from his kitchen on a Saturday night and we appreciate that." 

First course: Bay scallop ceviche from chef David Morgan. Second course: Fried lamb ribs from chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan. Third course: Grant's Cesar salad by chef Matt Marcus. Fourth course: A Study in Black comprised of black bass, black garlic puree, black olive and sea urchin terrine and black trumpet mushrooms from chef Kevin Naderi. Fifth course: Filet and sweetbreads by chef David Cordua. Sixth course: Orange blossom and brioche Napoleon by chef Jillian Bartolome. Behind the scenes Catering by Culinaire chef Barbara McKnight assisted with organization.

As Pete McCarthy said of the chefs donating their time, "It is no small thing for a chef to step away from his kitchen on a Saturday night and we appreciate that."

The celebratory evening was not without tears as Gordon's mother Harriet Choice and her husband, Bill Choice, and Gordon's father, Paul Michael Gordon, were among family and close friends who attended the sold-out evening. Each chef made a small yet touching tribute to Gordon. Camerata sommelier David Keck, a partner in the new venture, joined in the tribute as well.

Among the guests was major underwriter and close family friend Sheridan Williams with her daughter and son-in-law, Lauren and Worth Snyder, plus Gordon's sister Devin Tomiak, his brother Forrest Gordon and grandmother Rose Gordon.

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