By any measure, chef Dawn Burrell’s epic run to the finals of Top Chef Season 18 ranks as one of the highlights of the year in Houston food. This weekend, Burrell and some of her fellow cheftestants are gathering for three events that will raise money for two local nonprofits and preview Burrell’s upcoming restaurant Late August.
The festivities kick off this Friday, December 17, with an intimate dinner that will raise funds for I’ll Have What She’s Having, the local group dedicated to improving the health of women who work in the restaurant industry. Held at the Corinthian in downtown, Burrell will be joined by two of her fellow finalists, chefs Maria Mazon and Jamie Tran, as well as fellow Houstonian and season 18 contestant Sasha Grumman.
Together, they’ll serve a multi-course meal with wine pairings plus welcome cocktails that feature sponsors Botanist Gin and Cointreau. Tickets are $350 each and include attendance at both dinner and an after party.
For those who still want to meet the chefs but are looking for something more affordable, they can choose to attend the afterparty that will feature light bites, cocktails, and music by DJ CherryLikeBounce. Tickets are $75 each.
The weekend concludes with the Lucille’s Hospitality Group Holiday Party. Held at the Ion in Midtown, the event will serve as a preview of Late August, Burrell’s new restaurant devoted to Afro-Asian cuisine that she’s opening in partnership with Lucille’s chef-owner Chris Williams. A $75 minimum donation benefits Lucille’s 1913, the non-profit Williams established in 2020 to combat food instability and provide employment opportunities.
Exact menus for both events are still under wraps, but a representative for Burrell provided CultureMap with a few dishes that will be served on one of the two nights. They include: winter squash with whipped yogurt, pistacchio dukkah, and pomegranate; jerk octopus with crisp purple yams and pickled vegetables; pani puri with salmon, passionfruit, and Asian pear; and mushroom toast.