Society / Featured Parties

Glamping Reaches New Heights at Houston’s Urban Farm

Chefs in the Fields Put on Quite the Show

BY // 10.14.18
photography Johnny Tran, George Jackson, Katherine Lenhart

Martha Stewart would be impressed. The outdoor “Chefs in the Field Pig Roast” dinner party at Hope Farms, the urban farm operated by Recipe for Success in Houston’s historic Sunnyside neighborhood, looked like something right out of the entertaining wizard’s “how to live the good life” magazine, with a downhome vibe and creative cuisine amid a gorgeous rustic setting.

Call it “glamping” at its best.

Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar welcomed 65 guests to the farm, where they enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Chefs Kitchen Garden, amid assorted peppers, eggplant and five kinds of basil interplanted among zinnias, marigold, and roselle, a species of hibiscus native to West Africa.

The idea behind the Chefs Kitchen Garden is to try new unfamiliar plants and get us all inspired to try them,” Cavnar says. 

As the sun set on the seven-acre farm, attendees sipped a Treaty Oak Caught Red Handed Bourbon cocktail, Saint Arnold Oktoberfest beer and vintages curated by Monopole Wine, as waiters passed tiny bites of snapper crudo.

Guests, many who dressed in ranch attire of jeans, cowboy boots, and outdoor frocks, then made their way to an open air barn decorated with string lights and chandeliers, and two long tables set with flickering candles, fall gourds, vegetables and flowers, with vintage chairs from Native Citizen. At one end of the barn, a bevy of chefs created a four-course dinner featuring heritage pigs from Jolie Vue Farms, effortlessly cooking in the dark when a generator intermittently went on the fritz.

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  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)

Erin O’Leary Stewart, natural food chef at DEFINE foods, kicked off the family style dinner with a fall slaw made with apple, kale, orange miso dressing and grilled eggplant from Hope Farms with almond feta, chili and honey. Fig & Olive chef Tommy Lacynski roasted a whole pig for 18 hours over coals and created a main dish called Pimenton Espelette Smoked Whole Hog with L’orange Sauce, accompanied by a fennel and citrus slaw and a seafood paella done in a massive demonstration pan.

Chefs Mayank Istwal and Shivek Suri of Musaafer, a new Indian restaurant that will open in the Galleria early next year, flew in from India to create a second main course, a Portuguese-influenced Roti Pey Boti Pork marinated in spices from India’s Goa coastal region, cooked sous vide for 28 hours and then slow roasted. It was served on fenugreek-flavored flatbread, accompanied by dipping sauces and house made condiments — all on a special wooden plate.

Each course was accompanied by a variety of red and white wines.

For dessert, Lacyniski created a delicious fig tart, while Stewart whipped up a mouth-watering root vegetable cake, and Istwal and Suri offered their take on a festive Indian dessert, Besin Ladoo bon bons, which they served on a bed of chocolate “soil” with edible flowers and micro greens.

Seen in the well-fed crowd were Jessica Rossman and Gordon Bethune, Gayle and Lloyd Bentsen, Patrick LeVrat, Richard and Uli Eisenbeiss, William ShoemakerDenny Stygstra, Bryan and Stacey Christ, Genevieve and Shawn Patterson, Bill Baldwin and Fady Armanious, Melissa Aguilar, Bobby Cavnar, Stephanie and Ryan Fleck, Neekie Kashani, Lyndsey Zorich, Amanda Boffone, Julie Longoria Chen, Courtney Baker, and Recipe for Success founding board members Honi and Glen Boudreaux.

The dinner raised more than $10,000 toward RFS’s mission to combat childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food. It is one of several fundraising events at the farm, including the upcoming “Fashion in the Fields,” a brunch and Neiman Marcus fashion show on November 11, a jazz brunch next spring, and a dinner event centered around the fresh crop of summer tomatoes next June.

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