Courtesy of Dessert Gallery

It’s just become a little easier to send a taste of Houston to friends and family in faraway places. Dessert Gallery is now shipping its cookie dough nationwide for at-home baking.

“The cookies have a cult following,” Dessert Gallery owner Sara Brook tells CultureMap. “In this day and age of online shopping and ordering what you want, when you want and wanting to try everything from everywhere, it seemed like the perfect time to put our cookies out there to the wider universe. I’m really excited. We’ve been working really hard on packaging and shipping.”

Available in four flavors — Chocolate Chunk, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Brookie, and Red Velvet with white chocolate chip — each box contains a dozen frozen dough pucks and a sheet of parchment paper. Recipients bake the frozen dough according to the instructions provided. Prices start at $36 for a dozen cookies, or customers may order a 24-pack that includes six cookies of all four flavors for $65 (plus tax and shipping).

In particular, the Chocolate Chunk cookies have been a fan favorite from day one. As the name implies, the pieces of high quality Guittard chocolate in each cookie are far too large to qualify as mere “chips.”

“The thing that sets our cookies apart is it’s more chocolate chunks than cookie dough,” Brook says. “We are serious about the ratio of dough to chocolate chunks.”

After a series of trial runs sent to friends, family, and this author's very lucky nephews — including a seven-year-old who gives two very enthusiastic thumbs up — the cookies are available for purchase from the Dough by Dessert Gallery website. Brook says she's looking forward to sharing her cookies with the rest of the country.

“I just can’t wait to get it out there, because I think people will love it,” she says. “That’s what my whole career has been about is putting stuff out in the world and hoping people love it. It puts all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings out there.”

Known for its nostalgic cakes, cookies, and other treats, Dessert Gallery has been satisfying Houstonians’ sweet toothes for almost 40 years. The bakery and cafe recently announced it would open a second location in The Woodlands Waterway later this year.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Dave Chappelle, Houston's history-making James Beard Award winner, and Trill Burgers lead week's top stories

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Dave Chappelle heads to Houston as part of 4 Texas arena stops. Expect a full house when the talented comedian takes the stage at Toyota Center.

2. Talented Houstonian wins James Beard Award for Best Chef: Texas. She's only the fifth Houstonian to earn a regional chef award, joining Robert Del Grande, Chris Shepherd, Justin Yu, and Hugo Ortega.

3. Meet the gifted chef showcasing authentic, home-grown Greek fare to Houston, plus hottest food news. Mary Cuclis spent 10 years at Pondicheri before launching Kriti Kitchen in West U. earlier this year.

4. Houston celebs show out in VIP sneak peek of Bun B's red-hot Trill Burgers first brick-and-mortar location. Andre Johnson, Slim Thug, and Gow Media's own Lance Zierlein got a first taste of the restaurant's signature OG Burger.

5. Houston's Masterchef champ Christine Ha opens new Spring Branch restaurant devoted to her favorite sandwiches. Unlike the chef's other two restaurants, Stuffed Belly doesn't serve Vietnamese food.

Standout Houston-born Broadway star shines as Best Actor nominee in upcoming Tony Awards

and the tony goes to...

Left to right Alex Newell, Caroline Innerbichler, Kevin Cahoon, and Andrew Durand in SHUCKED

Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

(Left to right) Alex Newell, Caroline Innerbichler, Kevin Cahoon, and Andrew Durand in Shucked.

Houstonians tuning into the 76th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11 honoring Broadway's best and brightest have an inspiring special reason to cheer.

Kevin Cahoon, a graduate of the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, is in the running for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his performance in Shucked. He plays Peanut in the show, which Variety called "surprise delight of the Broadway season."

"It is a lifelong dream come true," Cahoon tells CultureMap. "I am gobsmacked. And every time someone brings it up, it's like hearing it for the first time. I keep pinching myself."

A Houston star is born

Cahoon said he knew from a very early age he wanted to perform. At age six, he began working as a rodeo clown. HIs father was a calf roper who met his mother at a school rodeo club. Over his next decade, Cahoon would go on to perform in rodeos across Texas and Oklahoma, including at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

By age 10, he was enrolled in TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre and was performing on the mainstage. That's where he met Vanessa Garner, who became his HSPVA classmate and the founder of the Nashville Theatre School.

"She's my date to the Tonys," Cahoon notes.

For Cahoon, attending HPSVA gave him more than just an opportunity to hone his skills as an actor and a launching pad for a career that, thus far, has spanned three decades.

"HSPVA really was a safe haven for smart, talented, brilliant oddballs to feel supported," he sats. "I was a gay kid. I wasn't out, but the writing was on the wall. And it wasn't an easy daily existence in middle school. But I got to HSPVA and it was this school full of unicorns in the best possible way!"

He graduated from HSPVA in 1989 and went on to earn his BFA from NYU's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.

"Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and growing up here caused my heart, my mind, my eyes to be open to people of other backgrounds," says Cahoon. "When I hit New York City, I'd already been exposed to people from so many different backgrounds, and a lot of that was true at HSPVA, too."

Once he arrived in New York, he stayed.

From PVA to Broadway

Following graduation from NYU, he made his Broadway debut in The Who's Tommy, stepping into the ensemble as a replacement after the show opened. He originated the role of Ed, one of the hyenas in the original Broadway cast of Disney's The Lion King.

He was in the original casts of The Rocky Horror Show as Phantom and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as the Childcatcher, and originated the role of George in The Wedding Singer, the musical based on the Adam Sandler film of the same name.

Television audiences will know him as Ed Clark in Fox's Monarch and Hugo from seasons two and three of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, as well as that streaming service's season three of Glow, where he played Bobby Barnes.

Shucked and awe

Shucked, with a score by Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally and book by Robert Horn, is nominated for nine Tony Awards. The musical tells the story of Maizy and Beau, two residents of the fictional Midwestern community of Cobb County who are forced to call off their wedding when the corn crop gets blighted.

As corn is the lifeblood of this community, Maisy heads off to the big city looking for help and a way to save the crop. The show's corniness has been compared to the classic "Hee-Haw" comedy TV show, and its earnestness has been delighting audiences and critics. Cahoon's Peanut is something of the show's everyman, serving as county clerk, resident philosopher, and more. He's the guy with lines like, “I think if you have time to jump in front of a bullet for someone, they have time to move.”

The New York Post called his performance "brilliant."

"It's been peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys," reflects Cahoon on his journey with Peanut in the show, which as taken 12 years from development to the Great White Way. He's been part of it for a decade, through workshops and readthroughs. A pre-Broadway run in D.C. was shuttered due to the pandemic.

So, having the show finally arrive on Broadway is a triumph.

"Audiences tell us, ''I'm from Nebraska,' 'I'm from Ohio,'" says Cahoon. "And they've never felt like they've seen themselves in a positive light in a lot of media."

For Cahoon, playing Peanut is a joy.

"I love that does everything in the town," he says. "And he tries to keep everyone's spirits afloat. He looks at the world, which can be unfair and sometimes unjust and he still has this positive, sunshiny view of it. This is one of the great gifts of my career."

Kinder in the house

At the Tony Awards on Sunday, Cahoon won't be the only HSPVA representing H-Town. While his is the only performance by an alumni that's nominated for an individual award, Sterling Overshown, HSPVA Class of 2012, wrote the music for Ain't No Mo, nominated for six Tony, including Best Play.

Meanwhile, Fernell Hogan, Class of 2015, is in the musical Kimberly Akimbo, which received eight nominations, including Best Musical. Jarvis B. Manning, Jr., Class of 2005, is in Some Like It Hot, nominated for 13 Tonys, including Best Musical. Brandon Lee, Class of 2001 plays trumpet in that show's orchestra.

A standing-o representation, indeed.


Watch for Kevin Cahoon on The 76th Annual Tony Awards, broadcast live on CBS and Paramount+ at 7 pm Sunday, June 11.

Veteran Houston French chefs are not opening a French restaurant in River Oaks


Three Frenchmen have teamed up to open a new restaurant in the River Oaks Shopping Center, but Cocody may not be quite what people are expecting.

Chef David Denis, his brother, front of house specialist Sylvain Denis, and chef Lionel Debon worked together at Le Mistral, the acclaimed French restaurant in the Energy Corridor that closed in 2019. More recently, the Denis brothers have been operating Bistro 555, the Memorial-area French restaurant. Their business partner, Edwin Bosso, grew up in French-speaking Ivory Coast before coming to Houston, where he attended Rice University and started a successful career as a consultant.

Those biographical details would seem to suggest that Cocody will also be a French restaurant, but that's not the case. Instead, the team is creating a restaurant that's merely "French-influenced," according to press materials.

“Cocody is French-influenced because its leadership came from France. The owners are originally from the French-speaking Ivory Coast. All three operating partners got their training and built their early careers in France, including at a number of Micehlin-star (sic) restaurants,” publicist Mark Hanna writes in email. “The menu, on the other hand, will be a variety of dishes they have created for Cocody which can't be so easily labeled. There will be a lot of influences from all over, including Houston and Texas.”

We'll have to wait a bit to learn more about the specific dishes that will be created by the blending of French training with Texas influences, as the menu is still under development.

Considering the neighborhood, not opening a French restaurant in that location seems wise. After all, Cocody will have to distinguish itself from Brasserie 19, the restaurant across the street from its location at 1971 West Gray that has been serving French-influenced dishes such as escargot and trout almondine to River Oaks diners for more than a decade.

Whatever food the chefs decide to serve, they will do so in an elegant dining room with an Art Deco-inspired decor that includes a free-standing metal bar, a chef’s tasting room, and illumination by hundreds of shimmering crystal lights. It will also be quite large — with a 7,000-square-foot interior and a 2,000-square-foot patio.

As for the rest, Houstonians will have to wait and see what kind of not-French food this team of French chefs comes up with.

Rendering by Winn Wittman Architects