Foodie Events / Restaurants

Top Chef Standouts Bring Their Talents to Houston For the Ultimate Juneteenth Celebration

An All-Star Cast, Five Courses and a Worthy Cause

BY // 06.07.21

Four “chef-testants” on Season 18 of Bravo’s hit series Top Chef are combining their talents for one great night of African-influenced cuisines, wines and art in celebration of Juneteenth in Houston. The June 19 affair, dubbed Jubilee, is an immersive five-course dinner highlighting the concept of freedom throughout the African diaspora.

Houston’s Dawn Burrell of the soon-to-open Late August restaurant in The Ion is teaming up with chefs Nelson German of Sobre Mesa in Oakland, California;  Kiki Louya, executive director of the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation in Detroit; and Chris Viaud of Greenleaf in Milford, New Hampshire to helm the evening. The dinner will take place at Carla Bisong‘s namesake Bisong Art Gallery, the only for-profit contemporary art gallery owned by an African American woman in Houston.

The Black chefs’ distinctive cultures and experiences are based in Haiti, Nigeria, America and the Dominican Republic. And their roots will inform the evening’s food The dishes will be paired with libations from  Black-owned and Texas-based Highway Distillery, which is home to Texas’ first hemp-based vodka and young American whiskey; For the Culture Brewing, the city’s first black-owned brewery; and bottles from Black winemakers curated by wholesaler Branwar Wine Distributing Company.

Black Chefs – Kiki Louya of Folk, Detroit.
Kiki Louya, executive director of Detroit’s Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, joins the Juneteenth dinner celebration (Photo by Nick Hagen for The New York Times)

“It gives me great pride to team up with my fellow Top Chef Season 18 family on my home turf, for a culinary experience that gives reverence to our rich history,” Burrell says in a statement. “Our goal is to use our respective cooking styles to celebrate Juneteenth nearly a century and a half later, while showcasing innovative riffs on dishes that represent freedom across our collective cultural experiences.”

Where the culinary art ends, visual art begins with multi-disciplinary artist Robert Hodge curating a visual experience reflective of Juneteenth and contemporary artist Wayne J. Bell working on live paintings which will depict the ethos of the holiday.

“Juneteenth and our own emancipation continue to inspire my art practice and methodology, especially as it pertains to collective thinking and what happens when we collaboratively work towards real equality in America,” Hodge says in a statement. “I’m honored to create an immersive art experience in conjunction with these talented culinary creatives for a specular dinner experience.”

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Proceeds from the dinner will benefit Lucille’s 1913, founded by Lucille’s Hospitality Group that aims to end food insecurity in under-served neighborhoods. Individual tickets are $250 with tables priced at $1,200. You can get more information or purchase tickets here.

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