The chef and managing partner of one of the South's most acclaimed restaurants will be in Houston for a special, one-night only event. Chef Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano, partners in Savannah's award-winning restaurant The Grey, will be in Houston at Montrose restaurant Traveler's Table on October 14 as part of a tour to promote their book Black, White, and The Grey.
Bailey scarcely needs an introduction, but let's give her one anyway. A New York chef with Southern roots, Bailey won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2019 and was featured in a season six episode of the Netflix documentary series Chef's Table for her work at The Grey, which Eater selected as its restaurant of the year in 2017.
Black, White, and The Grey tells the story of how Morisano, a white media entrepreneur, and Bailey, a Black chef, overcame numerous obstacles to create a business partnership, a friendship, and one of America's most acclaimed restaurants. For the tour, the duo are visiting 11 restaurants across the South, starting with Poole's Diner in Raleigh on October 6 and ending in Atlanta on October 22. Along the way, they'll make two Texas stops: Dallas's Meridian restaurant on October 13 followed by Traveler's Table on October 14.
Each restaurant will serve a four-course meal inspired by the recipes in Black, White, and The Grey. In a statement provided by Traveler's Table, Morisano explains why he and Bailey selected Thy and Matthew Mitchell's globally-inspired Montrose restaurant as the Houston stop on their trip.
“I think it was really the diversity of the owners’ view on food,” Morisano said. “With Thy growing up as a Vietnamese-American and Matthew being in the business world before he decided to follow his passion into restaurants, there were elements of their story that seemed similar to ours and part of what we are doing on this tour is celebrating other restaurants, cities, and truly unique offerings that have stories that resonate. We are always trying to learn from people and places like that.”
“We all share a passion for exploring the world through food and drink,” Matthew Mitchell added. “It’s a thrill to be collaborating with The Grey where we will be cooking and meeting new friends and fans of their Southern cuisine here in Houston. My team and I have been in conversations with them for weeks as we plan a menu that will compliment theirs. It’s been a lot of fun and I know guests will be blown away by the creativity.”
Attendees have the choice of an either a 6 or 8:30 pm seating. A VIP cocktail reception with Morisano and Bailey will be held at 5 pm. Tickets, $125 for the VIP reception and the 6 pm meal or $85 for the meal, are on sale now via Resy, which is sponsoring the tour. All attendees will receive a copy of Black, White, and The Grey.
True to form, Traveler's Table has brought its eclectic perspective to Bailey's dishes. Here's the menu:
Passed appetizers and cocktails (VIP hour)
- Margie's Deviled Eggs: "Jammy" Japanese-style ramen eggs, chicharrones
- Fried Viet-Cajun oysters on the half-shell
- Paper Plane (Monkey Shoulder gin, Amaro Nonino, Campari, blood orange juice) Blood Orange Juice
- The Revolver (Bulleit rye, Licor 43, Kahlua, etc)
- Texas Tartare: Akaushi beef, hatch chili seasoning, whiskey vinegar, quail egg, toast points
- Dirty Rice: Cognac-glazed sweetbreads, duck liver, Louisiana popcorn rice
Entree (choice of one)
- Sizzling Smoky Pig: pork knuckle crackling, Steen's Cane jus, Amaretto cornbread, braised collard greens
- Whole Grilled Fish: Whole-roasted Branzino, Chermoula marinade, blood orange reduction, harissa carrots
- Caribbean-spiced honey chess pie, aged rum, almond cookie crust, Velvet Falernum merengue, sweet plantain compote
Even before its recent appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Traveler's Table has been on an upswing. The restaurant raised almost $17,000 for the Houston Food Bank during Houston Restaurant Weeks, making it one the event's largest donations. Matthew Mitchell and executive chef Stanton Bundy have introduced a number of new dishes to the menu, including tea smoked duck, Nigerian-style suya skewers, and a vegan take on chiles en nogada.