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Society / Featured Parties

Houston’s Top Chefs Cook a $2,500 Dinner for a Fancy Crowd — and a Beloved Foodie Charity Force Wins

BY // 04.23.17
photography Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

Wine and dine, and dine some more! For the second annual “Delicious Alchemy” evening, Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar rounded up a stable of the city’s top toques to create an unforgettable meal for an audience of 101. For this special culinary event, guests ponied up $2,500 each. And rewarded (as well as stuffed) they were.

“We have over 100 chefs on our advisory board. And they are very enthusiastic about our work, helping us teach kids about food and helping us raise money for our programs tackling childhood obesity,” Cavnar said. “So, literally, every chef I asked said yes.”

Those chefs putting their best plates forward in the expansive home of John and Becca Cason Thrash were Martha de León of Pax Americana; Ryan Pera of Coltivare, Eight Row Flint, and Revival Market; Kevin Naderi of Roost; Bryan Caswell of Reef, El Real, and Little Big’s; Wayne Nguyn of Maba Pan-Asian Diner; Kiran Verma of Kiran’s; Greg Martin of Bistro Menil, Robert Del Grande of Cafe Annie; Barbara McKnight of Culinaire; and Claire Smith of Shade and Canopy. Thrown into the mix was Recipe for Success culinary director Justin Kouri, who prepared a plate of mixed greens and veggies from the foundation’s  Hope Farms, bringing the total to 11 dishes.

To wash it down, Jean-Francois Bonneté provided French libations with each course courtesy of BCI, his family-owned wine and spirits marketer and importer. Italian wines were donated by Jack Fassetta and his Beviamo International, that specializes in importing vintages only from very special boutique wineries.

As “Delicious Alchemy” chair, Karina Barbieri arranged for the Latin sounds that kept the event percolating, the flowers from Lexus Florist , the Chopard “Happy Diamonds” pendant that was part of the live auction, and the Chopard swag bags. Hooks-Epstein Galleries provided the Kermit Oliver drawing which brought in a generous sum thanks to the high bidding of Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin. 

While Becca is usually major domo of all events in her home, she turned this evening entirely over to Recipe for Success. “She’s so generous,” Cavnar said. “She opened her house up to us and we threw a party.” That party brought in more than $200,000.

Holiday Gifting

  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Casa di Lino
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Nocturne Studio
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch

Tossing verbal kisses to Cavnar, Becca told the gathering, “Her message is so clear and so absolute. John and I are so happy to have all of y’all here this evening. This evening is all about Gracie and everything that she has done for our community and Recipe for Success.”

Special guest on this evening was United Healthcare’s Dan Limbago, who had earlier in the day planted the first post for the Hope Farms barn, underwritten by the insurance company.

Galloping gourmets: Jessica Rossman and Gordon Bethune, Roxann and Tim Neumann, Miya Shay, Stacey and Al Lindseth, Jennifer Caswell, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Cyndy Garza-Roberts, Shamika and Melvin Johnson, Karen and Roland Garcia, Divya and Chris Brown, Heidi and Marcus Smith, Neal Hamil, Vivian Wise, Stacey and Bryan Christ, and Bob Cavnar.

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