Society / Featured Parties

Houston’s Top Chefs Are On Their Toes as Ballet Dancers Become Kitchen Stars – Inside a Unique Food Fundraiser

Raising the Barre With Record Proceeds

BY // 05.02.22
photography Wilson Parish

One would not readily think of Houston Ballet’s lithe demi soloist Chae Eun Yang in combination with sturdy chef/restaurateur Chris Shepherd. But that was one of four intriguing pairings of talented chefs and talented dancers participating in Houston Ballet’s “Raising the Barre” fundraiser.

Some 150 ballet supporters with mouths watering took over the dining tables at Houston’s Bludorn restaurant for an evening of delicious fundraising under the guidance of chairs Lilly and Harrison Cullen and Amy and Jordan Pincu, with Truist serving as presenting sponsor.

Chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi of Kata Robata and soloist Mackenzie Richter launched the four course dinner with servings of New Zealand Ora King salmon sashimi, a Negitoro roll and Tako Sakurani, a Japanese-style braised octopus with wasabi. Shepherd and Yang, presenting the second course, treating diners to Tteokbokki, Korean braised goat and dumplings, and Korean Ssam.

Bludorn executive chef Aaron Bludorn joined forces with demi soloist Naazir Muhammad whose African culture inspired the main course that consisted of blackened grouper with djolof (aka jollof) rice, tamarind, black garlic and eggplant.

The wining and dining closed with dessert from Fluff Bake Bar owner and pastry chef Rebecca Masson who partnered with first soloist Chris Coomer to prepare a spring Pavlova, which included rhubarb, raspberry, pistachio and caramelized white chocolate.

Rebecca Mason, Christopher Coomer; Photo by Wilson Parish (2) (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Cooking partners Fluff Bake Bar’s Rebecca Mason, Houston Ballet soloist Christopher Coomer at the ‘Raising the Barre’ fundraiser at Bludorn (Photo by Wilson Parish)

As evening honoree, the Jerry C. Dearing Family Foundation matched the proceeds which thereby resulted in a record intake of $150,000 for the popular fundraiser.

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