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.