Society / Featured Parties

Beyond Lavish Party at Steak 48 Is a Win For the Houston Arts and Departing Mayor Sylvester Turner

A Kickoff Like No Other Shows This Top Restaurant's True Power

BY // 09.01.23

“If this is a kickoff party, I can’t imagine what the gala will be.” That was the refrain from many among the 200 that filled the second floor of Steak 48 where it seemed that no expense was spared for the steakhouse’s annual fall fête, hosted by this scribe. In a nod to Houston Arts Alliance’s profound impact across the city’s visual and performing arts communities, the nonprofit was saluted on this evening that served as kickoff to the Houston Arts Alliance gala in October.

While the “Add On Art” gala is sure to be fabulous with Craig and Tatiana Massey and Meredith and Mason Barker as chairs and more than 20 artists contributing pieces for auction, little could top this steakhouse evening. The free-flowing wine, champagne and cocktails; passed hors d’oeuvres; and seated dinner with a lavish menu is beyond any nonprofit’s budget.

But not beyond the generosity of the Steak 48 team that on this night included co-owner Jeff Mastro and chief brand officer Oliver Badgio, both of whom jetted in from corporate base in Phoenix.

Houston Arts Alliance Gala Kick Off_Leigh and Reggie Smith_by Johnny Than
Leigh & Reggie Smith at the Steak 48 fall fête doubling as kick-off for the Houston Arts Alliance gala.

It was an extraordinary evening that saw arts leaders, philanthropists, collectors and artists gather for the happening that included a salute to Mayor Sylvester Turner. Heading into the last months of his term, Turner was honored for his diligent support of the arts throughout his tenure at City Hall.

The brief program included remarks from the Mayor on the importance of the city’s art community, and words from HAA CEO John Abodeely, HAA vice chair Michele Leal, Houston Ballet’s Lauren Anderson and Craig Massey. In conclusion, guests were invited to take their seats for dinner and on the way view the remarkable artwork on display created by Patrick Medrano for the gala auction.

Mason Barker, Lauren Anderson, Michele Leal, John Abodeely at the Steak 48 fall fête doubling as kick-off for the Houston Arts Alliance gala. (Photo by Johnny Than)

The Steak 48 Menu

Appetizers served at the table included the to-die-for crispy shrimp. Then guests had their choice of petit filet mignon, New York strip, Chilean sea bass, and Iberico tomahawk pork chops, served along with an array of elevated signature sides that included the dreamy whipped praline sweet potatoes. The grand finale featured warm vanilla caramel cake and red velvet bread pudding.

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The Artwork

Houston Arts Alliance Gala Kick Off_Shelby Hodge inspired art by Patrick Medrano_by Johnny Than (1)
The work by Patrick Medrano, inspired by Shelby Hodge, is one of many artworks to go on the auction block at the Houston Arts Alliance gala. (Photo by Johnny Than)

On display was Medrano’s collaboration with this writer. It is a moveable piece featuring a sculpture of my hand that can be moved back and forth across canvas that features an article that I wrote about my engagement to my husband Shafik Rifaat in Cairo. So many asked to read the entire story and you can do so here.

Houston Arts Alliance Kickoff_Madyson Chavez, Alim Adatia and Nicole Irvin_by Johnny Than
Madyson Chavez, Alim Adatia, Necole Irvin at the Steak 48 fall fête doubling as kick-off for the Houston Arts Alliance gala. (Photo by Johnny Than)

The Guests

Leading light for the arts Lynn Wyatt, collectors Leigh and Reggie Smith and Jereann Chaney, Houston Grand Opera general director and CEO Khori Dastor, Houston Symphony executive director and CEO John Mangum, ROCO founder and artistic director Alecia Lawyer, artist David Adickes, artist Ernesto Leon, PaperCity‘s Catherine Anspon and husband John Walker, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Necole Irvin, artist Liz Flores Callahan, ABC 13 Houston ace news reporter Miya Shay, influencer Beth Muecke, and Public Content‘s Mark Sullivan all made notable appearances.

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