Shelby's social diary

Houston's top chefs put on the foodie night of the year — and some pay $15,000 to $25,000 per table for it

Houston's top chefs put on meal of the year — for $25,000 per table

1 Mike and Susan Plank, from left, and Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Mike and Susan Plank, from left, and Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
18 Dan and Lori Wolterman, from left, Jim Postl and Rosemary Schatzman at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Dan and Lori Wolterman, from left, Jim Postl and Rosemary Schatzman at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
21 Holly A.N. Smith and Austin Alvis at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Holly A.N. Smith and Austin Alvis at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
16 Rebekah Johnson, from left, Julie Brown, Vanessa Sendukas and Debbie Dalton at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Rebekah Johnson, from left, Julie Brown, Vanessa Sendukas and Debbie Dalton at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
13 Ronnie O. Alford, from left, Chef Barbara McKnight of Culinaire and Kirby Smith at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Culinaire's Ronnie O. Alford, from left, chef Barbara McKnight  and Kirby Smith at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
12 Chef Kiran Verma of Kiran’s, from left, Julie Oliver and Steven Cowan at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Chef Kiran Verma of Kiran’s, from left, Julie Oliver and Steven Cowan at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
20 Rudy and Debbie Festari at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Rudy and Debbie Festari at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
17 Brandon and Audrey Cochran at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Brandon and Audrey Cochran at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
4 Chef Mark Cox of Mark’s American Cuisine at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Chef Mark Cox of Mark’s American Cuisine at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
8 Tara and David Wuthrich at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Tara and David Wuthrich at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
22 Nick Florescu, from left, Dominique Sachse and Rachel and Tom Regan at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Nick Florescu, from left, Dominique Sachse and Rachel and Tom Regan at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
15 NAME, from left, Joanna Cassas and chefs Randi McHan and Carlos Gamboa of Vic & Anthony's at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Bill and Joanna Cassas, left, with chefs Randi McHan and Carlos Gamboa of Vic & Anthony's at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
2 Marci and Steven Alvis at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Marci and Steve Alvis at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
10 Chef Luigi Shimaj of Arcadoro at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Chef Luigi Shimaj of Arcadoro at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
9 Chef Hytham Badr of Ristorante Cavour at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Chef Hytham Badr of Ristorante Cavour at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
7 Taylor Govea, from left, Chef Christopher Andus of Sorrell Urban Bistro and Chelsea Reif at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Taylor Govea, from left, chef Christopher Andrus of Sorrel Urban Bistro and Chelsea Reif at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
6 Sanko Prioleau, from left, Rachel Spector and Chef Michael J. Hoffman of The Federal Grill at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Sanko Prioleau, from left, Rachel Spector and chef Michael J. Hoffman of The Federal Grill at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
5 Chef Johnny Wesley of Mr. Peeples at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
Chef Johnny Wesley of Mr. Peeples at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
1 Mike and Susan Plank, from left, and Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
18 Dan and Lori Wolterman, from left, Jim Postl and Rosemary Schatzman at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
21 Holly A.N. Smith and Austin Alvis at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
16 Rebekah Johnson, from left, Julie Brown, Vanessa Sendukas and Debbie Dalton at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
13 Ronnie O. Alford, from left, Chef Barbara McKnight of Culinaire and Kirby Smith at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
12 Chef Kiran Verma of Kiran’s, from left, Julie Oliver and Steven Cowan at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
20 Rudy and Debbie Festari at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
17 Brandon and Audrey Cochran at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
4 Chef Mark Cox of Mark’s American Cuisine at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
8 Tara and David Wuthrich at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
22 Nick Florescu, from left, Dominique Sachse and Rachel and Tom Regan at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
15 NAME, from left, Joanna Cassas and chefs Randi McHan and Carlos Gamboa of Vic & Anthony's at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
2 Marci and Steven Alvis at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
10 Chef Luigi Shimaj of Arcadoro at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
9 Chef Hytham Badr of Ristorante Cavour at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
7 Taylor Govea, from left, Chef Christopher Andus of Sorrell Urban Bistro and Chelsea Reif at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
6 Sanko Prioleau, from left, Rachel Spector and Chef Michael J. Hoffman of The Federal Grill at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013
5 Chef Johnny Wesley of Mr. Peeples at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs event October 2013

March of Dimes Signature Chefs gala chairs Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia and Susan and Mike Plank kicked it up a notch in the ballroom of the Hilton-Americas Houston for the annual blockbuster fundraiser. For the first time, the entire throng, numbering 700 this year, was seated for dinner after grazing through a line of taste sensations presented by 15 of the city's top toques.

In previous years, some two dozen chefs had put their best food forward while most of the crowd sampled and the big guns (those paying $15,000 and $25,000 a table) had a full meal served by a stellar chef's team. Friday night, culinary honoree Robert Del Grande and his RDG + Bar Annie cohorts served the high donors while the hotel served dinner to the remainder of the crowd. Also new this year were wines provided by Becker Vineyards from the Texas Hill Country and vodka and scotch tasting stations.

Among those cooking samples for 700 were Culinaire's Barbara McKnight offering roasted yellow tomato bisque with smoked crawfish sauce, Damian's Napoleon Palacios serving caesar salad and Michael Pellegrino of Max's Wine Dive presenting braised beef sliders. Guests swooned also over the offerings from Mr. Peeple's Pedro Silva, Up's David Coffman, Kiran's Kiran Verma and more. Chef Mark Cox of Mark’s American Cuisine won Best Culinary Creation for his Muscovy duck with autumn root vegetables and cider. 

Joining Del Grande in taking bows were community honorees Rosemary Schatzman and Vanessa Sendukas and corporate honoree Franco Valobra, who once again donated one of his fab pieces of jewelry for the live auction. Guest speaker was March of Dimes national board chair Laverne Council.

Themed Une Bonne Nuit dans le Jardin, the event raised more than $725,000.

Savoring the tasteful evening were guests including honorary chairs Marci and Steve Alvis, auction chair Katherine Le, Matt Schatzman, Perry Sendukas, Candice and Lonnie Schiller, Julie Brown, Lori and Dan Wolterman, Holly A.N. Smith and Austin Alvis, Rachel and Tom Regan, Tara and David Wuthrich, Audrey and Brandon Cochran and Dominique Sachse and Nick Florescu.

Following the dinner and program, Yvonne Washington & the Mix revved up the party engines with music for the New Orleans-themed after-party.