As if the fifth annual Best Cellars Dinner wasn't already a lively bash with its gourmet courses and fab wines, when special guest rocker Jonathan Cain took the stage to share a few of his oldies but goodies, the otherwise sophisticated crowd jumped to its feet in a rocking sing-along.
Not only did Cain donate a signed case of his Finale wines for auction, he upped the benefit ante by having guests bid on the opportunity to join him on stage in The Houstonian ballroom for a rousing round of "Don't Stop Believin'." Cain also added to the star power by bringing his wife, televangelist/mega-church pastor Paula White Cain, whom he wed in May.
By night's end, the sold-out event, sponsored by the T.J. Martell Foundation, had raised more than $220,000 for the Physician Scientist Program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Applause, applause for chair Franelle Rogers and honorary chairs Norelle and Brian Becker, Jeanie and Jim Janke and Marcia and David Solomon.
Even greater applause for the chefs who contributed their talents to creating one of the tastiest benefit dinners on record — Chef Rudy Gitschner's black olive oil poached salmon, yellow fin tuna and sea urchin first course; BCN Taste & Tradition chef Luis Roger's sous vide rabbit loin with porcini bomba rice and sauteed artichokes; Mark's American Cuisine owner and chef Mark Cox' ash-crusted Mishima beef with lamb pancetta, osso bucco potatoes and brussel sprout leaves; and finally The Houstonian's Catherine Rodriguez Tiramisu dessert with mascarpone cream and coffee syrup.
Wine hosts chair Robert Sakowitz ensured that each table washed down the gourmet fare with premium wines from the cellars of the table hosts. H-E-B's Cyndy Garza Roberts served as emcee.
Savoring this tasty evening were Linda and Gene Dewhurst, Hallie Vanderhider, Fady Armanious, Darlene and Cappy Bisso, Penny and Dennis Murphree, Mary Lynn and Steve Marks, Mo and Ric Campo, Stephen Lewis, Carolyn Faulk, Mark Bermann and Cyndi and Steve Ford.