Serious fundraising demands serious sustenance. Because, before you can ask anyone to open up their wallets, it helps if there is plenty of vino and sophisticated cocktails alongside a feast of a spread fit for a king and queen.
The "March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala," presented by Wells Fargo at the Hilton Americas Thursday was on a roll. With 23 chefs participating and plenty of adult libations, this night simply had to be a winner.
Amid a contemporary décor awash with aubergine hues and silver sequins, tables with alternating centerpieces crafted from purple feathers and glass-beaded candelabras were surrounded by booth after booth manned by the who's who of Houston's culinary scene. The chefs put forth their best as the event also bestowed awards on taste and creativity.
The Best Culinary Creation Award went to chef Rafael Morales of Grace's for his tuna stack. Best Presentation was awarded to Harold Wong of The Fish for his sous vide Angus chuck, peanut crumble, pickled red onions and savory peppered tamari. The culinary entries were judged by volunteers from the Houston Young Lawyers Association.
Needless to say, chairs Rachel Regan and Michelle L. Smith succeeded in offering a delicious backdrop that prepared guests for the fierce big board and live auctions that helped raise $785,000 to research causes of premature birth and birth defects.
About that auction: A vacation getaway to any one of 17 Exclusive Resorts around the world donated by Rachel and Tom Regan sold three times for $20,000 and culinary honoree Charles Clark's progressive dinner sold twice for $10,000.
More than 540 business leaders and philanthropists joined to laud more honorees including medical honoree Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Institute at Texas Children's Hospital, community honorees Cynthia and Anthony Petrello, corporate honoree Texas Children's Hospital and ambassador family Debbie and Steve Sukin.
On the scene were Mary and Mark D'Andrea, Julie Oliver, Cris Daskevich, Millette and Haag Sherman, Christie and Mark Sullivan, Tony Bradfield, Kevin Black, Anne and Albert Chao, Andrew Cordes and Brian Teichman, Tracy and Valerie Dieterich, Leslie and Mike Appling, Jan Duncan, Dr. Joanie Hare, John and Cynthia Onstott, Rishma and Akbar Mohamed, Jacquie Baly, Perry Ann and John Reed and Phyllis Williams.