Who would have known that that was Sorrento Ristorante's Abbas Hussein in the dashing suit or recognized Mockingbird Bistro's John Sheely in an equally stylish ensemble? Without their chef's coats, these kings of cuisine along with Haven's Randy Evans, Le Mistral's David Dennis and others appeared a bit distant from their sartorial comfort zone as they walked the runway at M Penner.
But any moments of fashion self-consciousness were for a worthy cause, the launch of Green Beans and Guacamole, a coffee table-style cookbook comprised of scores of recipes and tales from city chefs, photographed in lavish style by Julie Soefer, Shannon O’Hara and Debora Smail. All proceeds from sale of the book benefit The Arc of Greater Houston.
Karen and Murry Penner hosted the evening during which more than 200 cookbooks were swept up by eager buyers.
For the book's formal debut, more than 250 fashion savvy and philanthropically-minded men and women poured into M Penner for wine tastings, samplings of items from the cookbook and the runway show of fall fashions. Cavour's Renato de Pirro, Sorrel Urban Bistro's Soren Pedersen and Masraff's Dominic Juarez and other celebs including Houston magazine editor Jeff Gremillion strutted their stuff to wild applause and a few cat calls.
In the party mix were Shelly deZevallos, Belinda Hillhouse (who works for M Penner) and Laurie McNay, board members of Friends for Good, which created the cookbook. That non-profit is a support group for The Arc. Hillhouse's son, Austin Hanson, is a member of The Arc of Katy. The affable 25-year-old was the hit of the party.
Sampling the sophisticated fare from the cookbook and applauding the chefs-turned-fashion-models were Anna and Hal Holliday, Karen Stall, Kim Padgett, Natalie Bogan, Tony Masraff, Franelle Rogers, Alicia von Greisman, Lee Ann Johnson, Dale Robertson, Candace Burns, Gayle and Steve Waldman, Scott Hoffer and Kristi and Ken Breaux.
The partying for Green Beans and Guacamole continues with a cocktail reception at RDG + Bar Annie, hosted by Shelly and Chris deZevallos and Belinda and Corky Hilhouse, on Tuesday and another at Gremillion & Co. Fine Art on Dec. 7. While the book is offered for sale at these special events, it can also be purchased here.