Society / Featured Parties

Houston Jewelry Palace Turns Into a Worldly Food Paradise — Where Top Chefs and Diamonds Mingle

Franco Valobra's Appreciation For Gourmet Food Shines Through

BY // 02.05.23
photography Jacob Power

For those who know Franco Valobra, connoisseur of all things luxe, it would come as no surprise that on his meeting fine food importers John Bergman and Devin Dvorak at a Valobra Master Jewelers holiday party that a fast friendship was born and another soirée was planned.

So it was that on a recent chilly Houston winter’s night a VIP clutch of Valobra customers and friends gathered in the chic salon on the edge of River Oaks for a fête introducing the gents and products from their Houston-based WORLDCLASS import business. Food stations and passed hors d’oeuvres represented their finds from Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

On the menu — caviar from Uruguay and Poland, Iberico ham from Spain, Argentine beef tenderloin tartar, Patagonian lamb chops, spaghetti with white truffles, ribeye skewers, olive oil tastings and assorted cheeses paired with Azorean fruit jams and Argentine honey.

The food savvy duo has plans to expand their reach to include 24 more countries and markets, making them all the more interesting to Houston’s restaurant community. Valobra was the ever-gracious host, welcoming guests and introducing Bergman and Dvorak to all.

Devin Dvorak, John Bergman, Franco Valobra (Photo by Jacob Power)
WORLDCLASS founders Devin Dvorak and John Bergman with party host Franco Valobra at Valobra Master Jewelers. (Photo by Jacob Power)

Adding to the buzzy evening were the creations of award winning mixologist Thomas Burris of Scottsdale, Arizona. His tasty libations featured Black Pig Gin from Portugal and Cinco Jotas Jamon Iberico-infused bourbon along with  red and white wines from Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas. The winery is owned by Valobra friends Lisa and Stan Duchman.

As one might expect from such a gourmet food centric evening, a who’s who of the Houston restaurant scene were on hand not only to sample the wares and meet the WORLDCLASS team but also to engage in a bit of pre-Valentine’s shopping. And, yes, the diamonds, emeralds and sapphires in all manifestations were all dreamy possibilities for gift giving. Add world class timepieces to the must-haves.

Elizabeth Anthony

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ASSAEL
OLYMPIA LE-TAN
EMILY P. WHEELER
EMILY P. WHEELER
MARIA OLIVER
KATHERINE JETTER
MEREDITH YOUNG
LEIGH MAXWELL
MEREDITH YOUNG
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Among the food world notables attending were Nina Quincy of Underbelly, Ben Berg of Berg Hospitality, Chef Giancarlo Ferrara of Amalfi Restaurant, Charles Clark of Brasserie 19, Chef Charles Carroll of River Oaks Country Club, Lindsi and Charles Toomey of J Bar M, Stephanie Valasco of Truth BBQ, Brittany and Rafi Nasr of Craft Pita, Chef Kiran Verma of Kiran’s, Shanon Scott of Roma, and Tony Gutierrez of Monarch Hospitality, which collaborated on the food presentations.

Lezlie Maltz, Gina Bhatia, Valobra master Jewelers (Photo by Jacob Power)
Lezlie Maltz, Gina Bhatia at the WORLDCLASS cocktail fête at Valobra Master Jewelers. (Photo by Jacob Power)

Lucky were the guests who went home with swag bags filled with WORLDCLASS gourmet dried meats and jams.

PC Seen: April and Dr. Jorge Salazar, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Mignon Gill, Isabella and Charles Reimer, Katherine Gillman, Michelle and Alan Smith, Elizabeth Stein, Maria and Omar Alaoui, Jordan Finn, Janeen and Julian Fertitta, and Emily Hanley.

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