Society / Featured Parties

River Oaks Chateau Hosts a Beautiful Living Book Party That Has Houston’s Chicest Ladies Standing in Line

With This Cookbook Selling Like Hotcakes, Everyone Wants a Serving

BY // 12.17.19
photography Janet Buller

Cal-a-Vie co-owner and cookbook author Terri Havens was already thrilled that her Beautiful Living, Cooking the Cal-a-Vie Health Spa Way had sold 2,000 copies in its first month and then came news that it had won the equivalent of the Academy Awards of cookbooks.

This is, shall we say, a delicious moment for Havens, for Cal-a-Vie chef Curtis Cooke, and for cookbook editor Roni Atnipp. Beautiful Living won Best USA Hotel Cookbook from the international Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Havens and her husband, oil man and Cal-a-Vie co-owner John Havens, threw open the doors of the River Oaks chateau (it is after all very, very French and very, very large) for a book signing that proved to be as popular as the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, at least among the 500 invited guests. The invitations went out to the Havens’ friends, those who had visited the spa in recent years, and those who had worked on the book.

Estimates are that 300 or so, mostly ladies, arrived within the three-hour window of the midday event that featured dishes from the cookbook prepared by the talented chefs at City Kitchen. The buffet style luncheon menu included cashew-stuffed mushrooms (31 calories per serving), roasted cauliflower soup with curry oil (152 calories per serving), Asian chicken salad (329 calories per serving), and chocolate mousse with salted almonds (74 calories per serving.)  Those sampling the fare needed no more convincing that food can be both delicious and healthy.

The ladies amiably stood in a line that reached out into the garden to make their purchases, some buying as many as 10 books and few settling for only one cookbook, as it quickly became the gift book of the season. Among the social stars loading up were Laura Sweeney, Francine Ballard, Greggory Burk, Merritt Marinelli, Cathy Brock, Stephanie Cockrell, and Melissa Schnitzer.

Cooke and Havens were busy throughout the event signing copies of the luxuriant book with 120 recipes and fine-art worthy photography by Deborah Smail.

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Beautiful Living is available in many stores locally including Berings, Kuhl-Linscomb, Plush Home, Back Row Home, River Oaks Bookstore as well as on the Cal-a-Vie website and Amazon.com.

Read about the behind-the-scenes making of Beautiful Living here.

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