It's not often that you can get a group of social swells and leading philanthropists to sit down for dinner in a homeless facility. But that is the sought-after ticket each fall when Christ Church Cathedral's Beacon Day Center holds its annual chefs dinner. For this late September fundraiser, more than 350 gathered at the center.
The popularity of this event, which raised $300,000 to support Beacon programs, is due in no small part to the coterie of leading chefs who take over the kitchen for one night of culinary wizardry. Contributing their skills to the sublime four-course dinner were Randy Evans, Hugo Ortega, John Sheely, Claire Smith, Efisio Farris, Luigi ShiMaj and Kevin Bryant along with the Beacon's resident chef and kitchen manager Mike Puccio.
For Puccio, who serves meals to 600 homeless or poor men, women and children each day, the chance to shine in the kitchen was spectacular.
As Beacon executive director Charly Weldon told guests, "We are so grateful to have such incredible support from Houston’s culinary community.”
Leading the effort in restoring dignity, self-respect and hope to the city's poor and homeless were chairs J.J. Stevak, Michele Leal and Wick Rowland and emcee Melanie Lawson of KTRK Channel 13.
Among guests beginning the evening with cocktails in Nancy's Garden and sitting down for dinner and live auction in the Beacon Day Center were Judy and Charles Tate, Joella and Steve Mach, Bess and Matt Wareing, Jill and the Rev. Barkley Thompson, Carol and Andy Vickery, City Councilman Robert Gallegos, Mandy Chapman and Daniel Santamaria.