The fall social calendar is choc-a-block with charitable fundraisers focused on food, events in which the city's top toques join forces, compete or simply try to outshine one another. These taste-tempting happenings are designed for foodies of all ranks. Think nights of infinite deliciousness.
Hats off to the generous chefs and restaurant owners who give of their time and their pantries for so many worthy causes. Following is a wrap-up of the top 10 leading chefs events on tap in the coming months.
Fired Up for Houston, Friday September 11
The Houston Fire Museum and Houston Fire Department benefits when Four Seasons Hotel executive chef Maurizio Ferrarese joins James Beard nominee chef Hugo Ortega for an evening at the museum where Italian and Mexican street food will be on the menu. The fun includes a hot sauce showdown, live entertainment and a raffle. Hosts include the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, 8th Wonder Brewery and Maisons, Marques & Domaines
Tickets start t $110. Get tickets here.
Camp Culinary Challenge, Thursday, September 17
This is not your typical foodie event thanks to the creativity behind the beneficiary — Camp for All. It's a tasty competition to see who can whip up the best mac 'n cheese and the best s'mores and you can bet that the aromas filling the Parador will have every guest salivating.
You can sample entries from reigning champions Three Brothers Bakery and Sandy McGee's, plus Jonathon's The Rub, Sweet and Mellow, Dish Society, Artisans, Ouisie's, Small Cakes, A Cupcakery, Commonwealth, Canopy, The Union Kitchen - Memorial and more.
General admission is $65, for young professionals $55. Get tickets here.
Come to the Table, Thursday, September 24
At $500 each, guests can expect an exceptional dinner prepared by a team of the city's leading chefs including Randy Evans, Efisio Farris, Philippe Gaston, Mark Holley, Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi, Hugo Ortega, Ruben Ortega, Mike Puccio, Fernando Rios, John Sheely and Claire Smith. The twist here is that dinner is served in the Beacon Day Center with The Beacon as beneficiary.
Information: Julie Falcon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taste of the Nation Houston, Tuesday, September 29
It's a new location and new chef chairs for the annual foodie event that benefits No Kid Hungry. More than 40 top restaurants, bars and barbecue joints spread out their wares for a foodie feast at the swank Corinthian. Leading the fundraising chair are chef chairs Randy Evans and Chris Shepherd, beverage chair Alba Huerta and the event's first-ever barbecue chair Daniel Vaughn.
Individual tickets start at $125. Details here.
Best Cellars Dinner, Wednesday, September 30
Fine dining with fab wines and top tier entertainment (Jonathan Cain of Journey) are the signature of this evening which is noted for its wine hosts who open their personal cellars to provide amazing accompaniments to dinner. Chefs in the kitchen at The Houstonian (a new location for this event) are Mark Cox of Mark's American Cuisine, the talented Fritz Gitschner, Luis Roger of BCN Taste & Tradition and Houstonian pastry chef Catherine Rodriguez.
The evening benefits the T.J. Martell Foundation.
Tickets are $750 per person. Details here.
Southern Smoke, Sunday, October 11
You've never seen a barbecue extravaganza like this one taking place as a street party in Montrose under the guidance of Underbelly chef Chris Shepherd. (CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler provides the background here.) Three famed chefs from across the south join Shepherd in the 4 to 8 pm event that will take over Underbelly, Haymerchant and Blacksmith. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society benefits.
Cost is $200 for general admission or $350 for VIP entrance (soldout). Reserve tickets here.
Home Safe Home, Wednesday, October 14
Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) benefits when Houston top toques including John Sheely, Monica Pope, Danny Trace, Kiran Verma and numerous others and sommeliers including Sean Beck, David Keck and Cathy Nguyen put on a grazing opportunity across the vast space of the Astorian. This traditionally is one of the tastiest events of the season.
Tickets are $250 per person. Details here.
Signature Chefs Gala, Thursday, October 29
The annual March of Dimes benefit is billed as the city's oldest chefs event and this year features 25 representatives from eateries across the city. Charles Clark takes bows as culinary honoree, which means that he and his Ibiza team will be preparing a seated dinner for guests who pony up the big bucks for the Platinum Experience.
Tickets start at $250, the Platinum Experience starts at $15,000 for a table of 10. Details here.
Feast With the Beasts, Friday, November 6
It's adults only at this 10th annual Houston Zoo event that features food and drink from more than 60 eateries. The food stations are spread throughout the beautifully-lighted zoo grounds where special animal presentations take place throughout the night. Among contributors are Black Walnut Cafe, Cyclone Anaya's, North Italia, Dish Society, Sambuca, Doughmaker Doughnuts and Eddie V's. Better Than Ezra will provide the tunes.
Tickets are $109 for zoo members, $119 for non-members. VIP tickets are $179. Details here.
Vine & Dine Charity Wine Dinner, Sunday, November 8
Theatre Under the Stars has claimed the last big dinner hurrah before Thanksgiving feasting with this food extravaganza at Reef. Chef Bryan Caswell will be joined by chefs from Fluff Bake Bar, Carmelo's, Uchi and Pass & Provisions. Providing the vino will be Chandon Sparkling Wines, Foyt Family Wines, Hensley Family Vineyards, Stewart Cellars and Wines of Dotson Cervantes.
Tickets are $500 per person. Reservations can be made here.