Society / Featured Parties

Women’s Wine Dinner Turns a Top Houston Restaurant Into a Stage With American Idol Power

A Surprise Raffle Winner and a Parade of Fiery Food

BY // 06.24.21
photography Michelle Watson CatchlightGroup.com

Good food, good music and a good time — The Women’s Fund wine dinner at Houston fine dining mecca Tony’s rewarded guests with all three thanks to the talent of executive chef Austin Waiter, the tunes of American Idol finalist Vincent Powell, and the generous hospitality offered by the always gracious Donna Vallone.

Joanna and Brad Marks helmed the sixth annual wine-infused fundraiser that featured two of Tony’s signature dishes. The flaming salt-encrusted Gulf red snapper is always a show-stopper as the waiters parade trays of the flaming fish around the dining room. On this evening it was indeed a parade with several presentations of the fiery spectacle circling the diners. The wine pairing was 2014 Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir. Always a very grand finale to dinner at Tony’s is the signature Grand Marnier soufflé. That gem was served along with biscotti and Masottina Brut, Prosecco.

The four-course menu included Genovese salad with jumbo lump crab meat, accompanied by 2017 Hudson Ranch Vineyards Chardonnay, and truffled filet of beef, served with 2016 Carpe Diem Cabernet Sauvignon.

Of course, there was a message to be delivered to those who had contributed to the event’s $135,000 success. That task was handled by board president Kathy Johnson, who detailed the nonprofit’s mission that is reflected in the complete name: The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency. Women’s Fund client Victoria Balderas delivered an impressive testimonial on the organization.

Following dinner, Powell, finalist in the 12th season of American Idol, was joined by the Houston Ensemble in providing musical entertainment.

In an interesting twist of luck, Hannah McNair (Joanna Marks’ identical twin) was raffle winner of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chronograph watch while Paul Somerville‘s ticket was pulled for the suite of onyx jewelry, both prizes from IW Marks Jewelers.

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