Society / The Seen

Top Female Chefs Get the Spotlight in This Unusual Houston Luncheon

New Stars and New Attitudes Take Center Stage

BY // 09.20.18
photography Jeff Fantich

In so many happy ways, this was not your typical luncheon fundraiser. To begin, stars of the day were three female chefs. Next, the special menu resonated with the cuisine of the spotlighted chefs. And, finally, the sellout assembly agreed that the program was as delicious as the meal.

Applause, applause for Asia Society Texas Center‘s fourth annual Bank of America Women’s Leadership Series which featured Christine Hà, winner of MasterChef Season 3 and owner of The Blind Goat; Kiran Verma, chef/owner of Kiran’s; and Jenni Tranweaver, chef/owner of Jenni’s Noodle House.

British Petroleum’s Vani Rao led the discussion that centered on the chefs’ successes in a male-dominated field, thus fulfilling the series mission of providing a platform for influential women of Asian descent, saluting those who are having a substantive impact on society and business.

Among the take-aways in addition to the importance of self-confidence:

Kiran Verma: “People see how busy we are, but that’s still really not success. If I make this food and people are standing in line to eat, now [that’s] success.”

Christine Hà: “It’s important to always stay curious and be hungry. Sometimes when you become more mature in your experience, I think you become jaded and set in your ways. You have to learn to adapt.”

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Jenni Tranweaver: “Know yourself. Know which of your pains are shortcomings, so they don’t hold you back.”

As mentioned, the menu, provided by Catering by Culinaire chef/owner Barbara McKnight, was inspired by the speakers. Thus, the gathering of 200 started their meal with soba noodle salad, continued to the Tandoori-rubbed chicken breast and concluded with chocolate chunk cookies and Humble Pie bites.

Who: Women’s Leadership Series chairs Mandy Kao and Y. Ping Sun, plus Asia Society Texas Center executive director Bonna Kol, Bank of America’s Lisa Barksdale, Sultana Mangalji, Nancy Allen, Davanna and David Petree, Monjula Chidambaram, Sonia Garza Monarchi, Ginger Blanton, David Ruiz, Anne Chao, Lily Kooros, Rose Chen, Kathy Condo, Kathy and Marty Goossen, Rania Daniel and Cathy Cleary.

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