Society / Featured Parties

10 Master Chefs, 50 Powerful Foodies and One Spectacular River Oaks Mansion Come Together in Delicious Harmony

Haute Cuisine and High Fashion Merge in One Unforgettable Night

BY // 05.13.19
photography Michelle Watson

Ten masterful chefs, one glorious River Oaks mansion and 50 philanthropists cum foodies — the ingredients for Recipe for Success‘ signature Delicious Alchemy fundraiser combined for one splendid feast. Presented by Brunello Cucinelli with generous input from Van Cleef & Arpels, the night of gourmet fare enjoyed high notes of fashion as well as haute cuisine.

Happily, the lengthy foyer of Anne and Albert Chao‘s home could accommodate the clutch of well-heeled connoisseurs who sat down at one long table that extended practically from the front door to the back terrace. As if the menu weren’t grand enough for this night, the ever-creative Gracie Cavnar, Recipe for Success founder and major domo of this annual evening, dressed the tables in decorative sophistication that was both a nod to the Chao’s Chinese heritage and the Cucinelli sponsorship.

Guppies, a symbol of good luck, swam in glass blows that served as the base for soaring bamboo poles topped with white flowers while table settings and linens echoed Cucinelli’s understated oeuvre. For the occasion Cavnar dressed in Cucinelli and wore jewels from Van Cleef & Arpels, which contributed a Paris jaunt for a singular live auction item.

Anjade Vaccarella flew in from the jewelry house’s headquarters in Paris along with details on the trip that includes invitation to a formal, private gala held in celebration of the Ponte des Amoureaux restoration. For the dinner soirée, Cavnar wore a charming Van Cleef Poetic Complications timepiece in which two lovers kiss at midnight and noon.

Chefs contributing their talents to the evening were Brandi Key (hot-smoked salmon canapes), Drake Leonards (Cajun Duck Poppers), Pedro Angel Garcia (saffron-infused paella with rabbit and shellfish), Ryan Pera (farinata topped with seasonal vegetables from Recipe for Success’ Hope Farms), Giancarlo Ferrara (zucchini-tomato bread topped with burrata mousse and roasted asparagus), Charley Ho, (ginger-scented bass in lemon grass, lobster and coconut sauce), Hoi Fung (crispy duck), Kiran Verma (rack of lamb with raspberry chutney), Hani Lae (chocolate mousse) and Greg Martin (lemon and tangerine meringue tart).

Barbara McKnight‘s Catering by Culinaire contributed the evening’s service. She and husband Lance were among those feasting at the table.

PC Seen: Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Bob Cavnar, Erin and Aashish Parekh, Amanda and Terry Buffone, Melissa Sugulas, Cathy Brock, Virginia and Will McMullen, Sheree and Norman Frede, Dr. Ennio Tasciotti, Stacy and Al Lindseth, Kristin and Aaron Blomquist, Bill Baldwin, and Fady Armanious.

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