Move over top toques Robert Del Grande and Chris Shepherd. There are a few ballet stars in the kitchen who would like to inspire your Sunday night supper for Houston Ballet patrons.
This is the scenario for Houston Ballet Barre's annual "Raising the Barre" fundraiser, that two days ago found five of the city's leading chefs in the kitchen of RDG + Bar Annie with four of the company's top dancers. The menu was inspired by the dancers' culinary roots.
The four-course dining extravaganza began with Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass and Provisions, who prepared Thai meatballs with black rice and green curry while sous chef, soloist Elise Elliott (who recently married fellow dancer Rhodes Elliott) prepared her grandmother's recipe for meatballs, just like the ones served at the couple's wedding.
Chris Shephered of Underbelly partnered with demi-soloist and newlywed Rhodes Elliott to whip up chicken bog, a South Carolina inspired dish comprised of chicken, sausage and rice. Elliott is a native of the palmetto state.
Principal dancer Sara Webb traded her toe shoes for a sous chef's apron when working with host chef Robert Del Grande and RDG sous chef Elliott Kelly on the pot roast entree. No ordinary pot roast, this one was slow roasted in a banana leaf with Texas-style green chile sauce. The course was a nod to Webb's traditional Sunday suppers at home, which she left at age 14 to pursue her ballet career.
Fluff Bake Bar's Rebecca Masson stepped in to help demi-soloist Emily Bowen prepare a sophisticated twist on her childhood favorite — PB&J bakewell tarte with Concord grape jelly and hand-churned bourbon ice cream.
Savoring the evening that raised $65,000 for the ballet were chairs Lindley and Jason Arnoldy and Erin and James Stewart.
Among the 150 guests sitting down for dinner were Lilly and Harrison Cullen, Kevin Black and Tony Bradfield, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Jaquel and Jeremy Andrews, Kristen and Steve McDaniel, Mary Patton, and Shawn Stephens with James Jordan.