Four of Houston’s top chefs delighted a sold-out crowd of wine lovers at the T.J. Martell Best Cellars Dinner, raising more than $200,000 for cancer research at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The sounds of popping champagne corks before dinner set the tone for the evening that bubbled over with delights for the senses. Chefs Mark Cox of Mark’s, Ryan Hildebrand of Triniti, Charles Clark representing Coppa, Brasserie 19 and Ibiza and Charles Carroll of River Oaks Country Club combined their culinary talents for a memorable multi-course meal.
In a spontaneous move, designer Elaine Turner donated a $1,000 shopping spree at her Madison Avenue store in New York, much to the delight of T.J. Martell CEO Laura Heatherly.
Every great meal deserves an equally delicious wine and thanks to dinner chair Franelle Rogers, honorary chairs Jeannie and Jim Janke and wine host chairman Robert Sakowitz, each table was outfitted with a selection of red and white wines to complement each course. Wine hosts selected their personal favorites from their own collections for the evening’s meal and also donated wines to the auction.
The idea for the wine dinner was born from a casual conversation at a coffee shop and now, five years later, the Houston event at River Oaks Country Club is one of the most coveted invitations, especially among wine enthusiasts.
The T.J. Martell Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for research into treatments and cures for leukemia, cancer and AIDS. The foundation was founded with the help of the music industry in 1972 with Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington early supporters. Music plays a key part in the organization's fundraising efforts.
As guests sipped port at the end of the dinner, the lights were dimmed and the ballroom became a cozy nightclub where Alabama native Ryan Kinder performed his Southern-tinged acoustic set. Kinder is opening for the Zac Brown Band on their upcoming tour and guests took the opportunity to pose for pictures with the rising star throughout the night.
Between the silent and live auctions, guests bid on a trip to walk the red carpet at the Country Music Awards, a trip to Napa and an exquisite selection of rare and exclusive wines. In a spontaneous move, designer Elaine Turner donated a $1,000 shopping spree at her Madison Avenue store in New York, much to the delight of T.J. Martell CEO Laura Heatherly.
The lively crowd of oenophiles included Robert Cruikshank, Norelle and Brian Becker, Caroline Kenney, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Stephanie and David Baird, Rose and Harry Cullen, Dean Putterman, Cyndi and Steve Ford, Rainey and Kirby Janke, Carolyn Faulk, Anne and Chris Richardson, Cathy and David Herr, Mark Bermann, Gaye Lynn and Stuart Zarrow, Elizabeth and Alan Stein and Terrie and Mike Turner.