2018 Archives

Garden Haiku Contest 2018

Volunteer Coordinator
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In honor of National Garden Month, National Poetry Month, and Earth Day, Recipe For Success Foundation invites you to participate in our annual Garden Haiku Contest. All ages are welcome to join! Students with a budding interest in poetry, or adults whose passion is in full bloom are invited to enter this online contest. Categories are:

SEEDS: Ages 5-11

SPROUTS: Ages 12-17

BLOOMS: Ages 18 and over

Winners will be chosen from each category by local poetry experts here in Houston and announced at our Earth Day Festival at Hope Farms on April 21, 2018.

More than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2018. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. Together we will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part. Attend a local Earth Day event or join us at Hope Farms Saturday, April 21, 2018 for a FREE family festival! Together we will Mobilize the Earth™ on April 22 and demand change.

So What? Girl Scout Journey This Summer

Volunteer Coordinator
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girl scouts.jpgRecipe For Success partners with the San Jacinto Council of Texas to lead Senior Girl Scouts through this amazing hands-on experience with sessions at both Hope Farms, our 7-acre farm just south of loop 610, and RecipeHouse, our teaching kitchen in the Museum District. Sow What is a social issue awareness program, which counts towards the Harvest Award, their highest achievement.
In the Sow What? Journey, Scouts learn about food--how and where it's grown, processed, distributed, and consumed-- and why it matters. Participants follow their food from the farm to the table, while learning the processes, skills, and considerations to grow, purchase, and create meals on their own. The girls are then asked to prepare and host a meal for their families using ingredients they have harvested and prepared and to provide a short presentation about the role urban agriculture plays in food accessibility solutions and food choices.

So What? Journey for Girl Scouts

Monday through Friday, June 4-8, 2018
9 a.m. to noon at Hope Farms

For more information and to register, please contact: summercamp@recipe4success.org

CBS Ron Trevino At Hope Farms

Recipe for Success
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Ron Trevino story shot.jpgRon captured a great interview with our veteran farming trainee Daniel Smith during his visit. Daniel was especially eloquent about the therapeutic impact of working on the farm for someone like him who has spend many years on the front lines for our country.

Listen to the entire story:

Come Have Dinner In Our Fields

Recipe for Success
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CIF 4.22 Invite .jpgWe have been eagerly awaiting the day when we were ready to have you come share a meal with us at Hope Farms. I'm practically giddy to invite you to the Farm on April 22 for our first Chefs in the Field supper! On day two of our Earth Day Celebration/Birthday, we will start at dusk with a reception and wine tasting in the Chefs Kitchen Garden, then make our way to a magazine-worthy setting: one long table arranged amidst our fields of crops where we will enjoy a three course meal crafted by Chefs Ryan Pera (Agricole Hospitality), Jean Philippe Gaston (Izakaya), and Greg Martin (Bistro Menil). We will limit April's dinner to fifty guests and you can get your seat at the table by clicking here. Other supper dates set for 2018 are June 24, September 30 and November 11. Tickets for the evenings are $250 per person, and 100 percent of the proceeds support our projects to teach childdren healthy eating habits and grow healthy affordable food for our neighbors.

Time For Green Knife Challenge!

Volunteer Coordinator
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Briscoe Iron Chef 2.JPGOur Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ cooking classes are popping with excitement as our annual Green Knife Challenge springs into action. In this friendly competition, our students showcase skills aquired throughout the school year.

Classes are divided into teams to compete for four honorable categories: Best Plate Presentation, Cleanest workers, Best teamwork, and, the big prize winner, Best Dish Overall. Instructors present students with a dish they must craft blindly without the guidance of a recipe under time restrictions and other given limitations. Our past challenges have not only been fun for our students but have been an excellent opportunity to show the community and supporters how much the students have learned.

To spice things up, at the start of the competition, each team receives a different basket of ingredients. The teams are asked a round of questions from the year's curriculum to earn "first dibs" on the basket of their desire. As a result, the challenge produces dishes that are a unique combination of the differing ingredients and the team's individual tastes and skills.

While the students excitedly huddle, strategize, and prepare their dishes, guest judges stand by, closely observing and taking notes on the teams. At the conclusion of the challenge, the teams present their dishes to the judges. Students then wait with bated breath to hear the recipients of each category and to receive the certificates their team has been awarded. It is an exciting day for all!

Brunello Cucinelli Presents Delicious Alchemy

James Brock
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maxresdefault.jpgDelicious Alchemy: The Banquet is sure to be the dining event of the season. On May 7, you and 99 other guests (tickets are limited, so don't delay ... secure yours here) will gather at the lakeside home of Lisa and Michael Holthouse, our hosts for the evening, to celebrate culinary excellence: You'll enjoy 10 courses created by 10 chefs -- paired with wonderful wines -- stellar conversation and music, and a bucolic Memorial setting.

Recipe for Success would not be where it is today without the ongoing support and help of some dedicated chefs, and this year's Delicious Alchemy Banquet brigade is an exciting one: Arturo Boada (Arturo Boada Cuisine); Vincent Celeste (La Table); Olivier Ciesielski (L'Olivier); Giancarlo Ferrara (Amalfi); Maurizio Ferrarese (Sud Italia); Felix Florez (owner of Black Hill Ranch); José Hernandez (Lucienne); Kevin Naderi (Roost); Hassan Obaye (Le Colonial); and Claire Smith (Canopy). Martin Preferred Foods has generously given our culinary creators free reign through their catalog of gourmet deights. All of these chefs bring great talent to the mix, and their diverse backgrounds are sure to produce a dégustation that you'll remember for a long time. We'll unveil the menu shortly, so stay tuned.

Want more? Celebrated Italian designer, Brunello Cucinelli is a signature sponsor for the evening, and his style and grace -- and passion for all things culinary -- promise to make this year's Delicious Alchemy the best yet.

Happy Birthday, Hope Farms!

James Brock
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Hope-Farm-Earth-Day-Facebook-event-Header.jpgHappy Birthday, Hope Farms! It's not every day that you turn three years old, and this anniversary is going to be special, because the farm will be welcoming people of all ages to a spectacular weekend of food, fun, learning, activities and education. We'll be celebrating locally grown food and healthy lifestyles in grand fashion over two days.

A full schedule of events is planned for Saturday's free Family Festival & Picnic, including cooking classes, yoga, tai chi, storytime, farm photo safaris, garden explorations, chicken and bee demonstrations, activities and games. Community partners including The Children's Museum, Magpies & Peacocks, The Garden Hen and Hive Bee will be giving hands-on creative and learning opportunities at creation stations for kids and adults located throughout the farm. Living Well Therapies and Shana Ross Fitness will encourage visitors to get in touch with mother earth through movement classes scheduled on the half hour on the lawn. Smart in the Kitchen, Chef Michael, Urban Chef and the Recipe for Success culinary team will give hands-on cooking classes scheduled on the hour in the Gathering Barn.

In addition, photographer Katie Lenhart will lead Farm Photo Safaris sponsored by Mahindra, and there will be hourly games and activities to choose from in the Hope Farms Children's Garden. Local actor, Laura Bellomy will be reading to tots and youngsters under the Lace Elm Tree where families will be encouraged to picnic. Besides just-harvested produce from the farm, the regular Saturday Hope Farm Stand will celebrate its new United Health Foundation Gathering Barn by expanding to include many Houston makers such as Popston, Grateful Bread and Old Country Olive Oil, while Erin Hicks will be on hand to sign her latest award-winning cookbooks. The Sunnyside Community Center is planning to offer a BBQ lunch for a small donation.

On the following day, April 22, our inuagural Chefs in the Field Supper will take place, and chefs Ryan Pera (Agricole Hospitality), Jean Philippe Gaston (Izakaya), and Greg Martin (Bistro Menil) will create a meal for 50 guests, all seated at a long table amidst the fields of the farm. You can get your seat at the table by clicking here. Other supper dates set for 2018 are June 24, September 30 and November 11. Tickets for the evenings are $250 per person, and 100 percent of the proceeds support Recipe for Success Foundation projects to combat childhood obesity.

Sponsors for the free Family Festival and ongoing programs at Hope Farms include United Healthcare Foundation, Urban Craft Custom Homes, Sprouts Markets, Sysco Foods, Mahindra, Luby's/Fuddruckers, the Robert & Janice McNair Foundation and Enbridge. (See our Hope Farms HTX Facebook page for a complete listing of times for Saturday activities as they are scheduled)

Register for Summer Camp 2018

Volunteer Coordinator
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RecipeHouse Kiddos.jpgKids, ages 8-12, take an adventure through their taste buds and minds with our RecipeHouse healthy cooking summer camp! Choose from three deliciously fun food adventures!

Marco Polo - Discover tastes & culture from Polo's journey along the Silk Road.

Eat This! - Create wacky store ready food product & compete to get it on the shelf.

Super Foods - Super Food Heroes come to life through recipes and comic strips.

Monday - Friday: 9am - 3pm, $395/week.

Classes are taught by a chef educator who is certified in Seed to Plate Nutrition Education™ instruction, and camp fees include daily lunch and snacks, all supplies and materials, and walking fields trips to a community garden.


Spring Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Coordinator
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Banquet Volunteers.jpgIt's Event Frenzy! The foundation is ready for spring with a host of fun events and festivals you will not want to miss. Hop right into the action by volunteering at one or all of these delicious occasions celebrating food and community.

Earth Day Festival, Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year marks our first annual Earth Day Festival at Hope Farms. The festival is a a free community event offering family friendly activities including farm tours, art & crafts, upcycle stations, and goodies from local Houston vendors. Thank you for your interest in helping to make our Earth Day Festival a success - sign up HERE!

Chefs in the Field, Sunday, April 22, 5:30 p.m.

This is the ground-breaking dinner within our new quarterly Chefs in the Field event series to take place at Hope Farms. The dinners will host 50 guests who will dine on a 3-course meal crafted by 3 local Houston chefs. Volunteers will help with set up logistics and event check in. Sign up!

Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet, Monday, May 7, 2018

Please join us for the third annual Banquet, to benefit Recipe for Success Foundation's programming. This exquisite seated dinner for 100 fortunate guests raises 20% of the Foundation's annual budget while celebrating the community of a shared meal. It will be the most extraordinary dinner party that you have ever attended, featuring 10 splendid courses, each prepared by a different celebrity chef and matched with award-winning wines--the meal of a lifetime. We're recruiting now for all aspects of event logistics including pre-event set up, check in, break down, and more. Spaces are limited so sign up today!

Robin Rawles is our March Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
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We are happy to feature Robin Rawles as our March Volunteer of the Month who has devoted her time in the classroom as a Seed to Plate Nutrition Education ™ SWAT Member for two years. The program appealed to Robin, who, outside of her volunteer service, works with older students in various subjects. To Robin, the foundation's educational program is the "embodiment of [the] mission statement". She enjoys working with Seed to Plate Nutrition Education ™ instructors, Will Isbel and Lynsey Beat, boasting that they "are two of the most knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and committed educators I have ever encountered. It is a joy to learn from them and to see the children learning." One of Robin's favorite memories created while volunteering in the classroom is of a conversation with a first-grader who paused his playtime during recess to ask about the work she was doing in the school garden. For Robin, this child's curiosity proves how impactful the program is for all children, event those who are not directly involved.

The Recipe for Success team is thankful of the impact Robin has in helping us change "the way our children understand, appreciate, and eat their food." Thank you, Robin!

Dress For Dinner is a Wrap

James Brock
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D4D for blog.jpgWhat an evening it was. Guests assembled at Neiman Marcus on February 28 to meet Lela Rose, enjoy cocktails and a fashion show, and support our programs. Our VIPs ended the evening in Mariposa restaurant, where they dined on tomato tartare, sous-vide halibut, and panna cotta, a three-course meal created by A Fare Extraordinaire's executive chef, Ryan Bouillet.

candids-43.jpgLela Rose loves food and entertaining, so she was an ideal partner for Dress For Dinner. Her enthusiasm was evident throughout the evening, and she spent a lot of time conversing with our guests, whose generous support allowed us to raise more than $30,000, all of which will go toward funding our missions. Houston Chronicle Fashion Editor, Joy Sewing began the show with an interview of Rose and then we were treated to a look at her spring collection, which met with enthusiastic applause.

candids-27.jpgCo-chairs Ally Shell-van Koolwijk and Jeff Shell put on a great show, and spoke with pasion about the importance of teaching children how to eat well. Some of our notable guests included Karen Lerner, original founder of A Fare Extraordinaire, and the catering firm's current owner, Rachael Volz and her husband, Jason; Diane Lokey Farb; Dr. Wissam Khan and Fatema Khan (in photo); Dr. Sippi Khurana and Ajay Khurana; Curry Glassell and her son, Nathan Glassell; Kimberly Miller and Carolyn Tanner; Tammie and Andy Johnson; BJ and Bob Shell; Stacey and Al Lindseth; Sheree and Norman Frede; Jennifer Swallen and Melissa Sugulas; Roz Pactor; and Marsha Montemayor.

IMG_0525.jpegWe were blown away by Neimans' support--even transforming a major window in honor of Hope Farms.

Read some of our fabulous media coverage in PaperCity, The Houston Chronicle and My Red Glasses. Click here for our own post event release, and make plans to Dress For DInner in 2019!

Come See for Yourself!

Recipe for Success
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Hope Farm tour.jpgOn a brisk February weekend, James Brock invited a group of people to come out to Hope Farms, to see what our team at Recipe for Success Foundation is doing there and to meet Justin Myers, our Chief Agricultural Officer and head farmer. The Mission Continues was busy arranging beds and doing other work, the hawk was flying overhead, and customers were buying vegetables from our farm stand. It was a good day. Now it's your turn to see Hope Farms HTX -- contact James-at-recipe4success.org and he'll share details about the next outing.

Beauty from Within

Recipe for Success
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Beauty from within.jpgExcited to partner with instaglamhouston in thier Instagram #VegOut2018 CampaignBecause beauty really starts from within, they have teamed up with us to help spread the word of the importance of nutrition and to let you all see just how they are doing it here in Houston. Follow them on stagram to keep up: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfd-jQ9HXY4/

Meet Mereen Jacob, our February Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
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Mereen.jpgOver the past year, Mereen has donated her time, supporting the foundation's mission through her work in the office and schools, during Girl Scout workshops, and at special events. Each opportunity for Mereen to volunteer is a time when we're able to see her passion for the organization through her dedication and cheerful disposition. "Her warmth and generosity to our students has been a breathe of fresh air," says Paola Tello, Culinary Director, "It is with much gratitude that I nominate Mereen for volunteer of the month."

After graduating from the University of Houston with a BS in Human Nutrition and Foods and working in various healthcare positions, Mereen began graduate school at Texas Woman's University. Her Masters in Nutrition courses motivated her to look for opportunities to volunteer in nutrition related fields. This search led her to Recipe for Success and upon learning more about our mission, she was "astonished and proud of the success generated by the dedicated people of this organization." Initially, Mereen's busy school and work schedule prevented her from immediately jumping into open volunteer opportunities, but she stayed abreast of the organization's current events. Once her schedule allowed for it, she jumped in feet first.

Currently on the job hunt, Mereen fills her free time with volunteer work not only at Recipe for Success but also within the nutrition department at Houston Methodist Hospital where she helps with ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery), a research study to determine if certain forms of nutrition or nutritional supplementation could improve patients' post-surgical recovery time. She is active at her church, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, serving as a Sunday school teacher and each year she serves as the Team Captain of Team Footsteps of Faith for The Leukemia and Lymphomas Society's Light the Night Walk in memory of her father who passed after a battle with Multiple Myeloma.

Mereen's love for working with children and cooking keep her connected to Recipe for Success. Her favorite memory is volunteering as a Recipe House Ambassador for Girl Scouts and seeing the scouts learn about food and teamwork in a positive environment.

When asked what kept her volunteering with the foundation, Mereen answered, "Honestly? It's the children we are able to positively impact. During my final exit course for graduate school, I completed my research paper over the topic of childhood obesity and nutrition education. The question I presented was 'Does incorporating an interventional nutrition education program in schools for children provide improvements in eating habits and decrease risk of chronic diseases in adulthood?'. Basically, I was attempting to find evidence that what we do within our community through Recipe for Success, is beneficial for children in the present and future. Guess what the data said? It is beneficial. Truthfully though, I didn't need a bunch of data to prove that. I can see it in these children - in their smiles when they learn to chop an onion, in their eyes when [they] glimmer after tasting an eggplant taco and in their responses when they're eager to learn more about new cuisines! I keep volunteering because I love assisting in that experience."

Thank you, Mereen!

James Brock in the House

Recipe for Success
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James Brock.jpegJames Brock has joined us as Director of Advancement, overseeing media relations, special events production and donor cultivation.

Brock has held editorial positions with print and broadcast news organizations around the world, including writing and editing roles in New York, Paris, Dubai, and Houston. His reporting and writing has encompassed a wide variety of subjects, including profiles of Federico Fellini, Anthony Bourdain, and Tom Ford, food and wine and other culinary matters, the arts and culture, and personal finance and investing.

"I have long admired the work done by Recipe For Success - in fact, not long after moving to Houston, in 2013, I was urged by someone close to me to volunteer for the organization - and so many of my passions, interests, and skills dovetail with what it does," Brock said. "I am looking forward to helping take Recipe for Success even further and changing the lives of young people for the better," Brock said.

Brock has, in addition to his journalism career, worked in the kitchens of restaurants in Brooklyn, Spain, Germany, and Paris, produced an array of special events celebrating the shared meal, and in 2014 founded The Brockhaus, a culinary think tank and moveable dining club, which has welcomed guests to pop-up events in Houston and Dallas and on Nantucket.

"Recruiting donors to support our work and producing successful special events are both like telling a wonderful story that everyone wants to be in. Creating that story, with both attention to detail and sensitivity to guest experience is critical. So we are delighted to welcome James, a consummate storyteller, passionate foodie and experience-magician to our team," says Recipe for Success founder and CEO, Gracie Cavnar.

Welcome James!

KHOU-TV Visits RecipeHouse

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KHOU says RFS Stands for Houston.jpgKHOU anchor Ron Trevino recently brought his crew to RecipeHouse, where students from Post Oak High School were on a culinary adventure. According to Trevino, Recipe For Success Foundation is trying fight childhood obesity by making healthy food fun, tasty, affordable and easy.

At the program's headquarters and kitchen in the Montrose area, students from Post Oak High School received a lesson in making healthy food choices. A chef taught them how to cook vegetable dumplings.

"I think I'll be able to cook on my own instead of going to eat ramen for the four years I'll be in college," says Salvador Rivera, a senior at Post Oak High.

Recipe For Success tries to change the way kids look at food.

"There are so many healthy foods that a lot of people don't know about and they taste really good," says student Emaya White.

The founder of Recipe For Success is Gracie Cavnar. A former architect who, years ago, decided to do something to improve eating habits of children.

"I got involved in getting vending machines out of elementary schools. In that process, I discovered this obesity epidemic," says Cavnar.

The kids are learning from chefs, teachers and even gardeners, as they're actually growing food as well. A number of area school districts are using the curriculum. The program that started in Houston has expanded to other cities across the country.

"It makes me feel really good to see the extraordinary impact we have had on so many people, changing lives for the better," says Cavnar.

The goal is to inspire a whole culture of healthy eating.

(Courtesy of Ron Trevino, KHOU-TV, January 22, 2018)

Watch the entire clip HERE.

Allison Hand is the January Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
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Allison.jpgAllison joined the Recipe for Success Team four years ago as a member of our Seed-to-Plate SWAT team. Passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle for herself, Allison's desire to encourage healthy eating habits in children initially drew her to the organization. "I was excited about being a part of a mission to help reduce childhood obesity," she says, remembering a time when she helped the students harvest produce they had planted in the school gardens. "To see the excitement and smiles on their faces, seeing their work come to fruition, was very exciting to me. And to know they were going to eventually eat the food that they would cook was even more extraordinary!"

These days, Allison maintains a steady presence in the foundation's office, performing a variety of administrative tasks. Although many days Allison is handed a tedious task, she continues to return to the office week after week. Without her help, our small team would be overwhelmed. But because Allison both enjoys the office environment and knows her work is ultimately contributing to the foundation's mission, she continues to volunteer and we are grateful.

Allison is a full-time volunteer, donating her time five days a week to not only Recipe for Success but also Dress for Success and Parkway Place. When she's not busy serving others, you'll find Allison at the theater, catching the latest new release at the movies, or spending time with friends. In line with her passion for a healthy lifestyle, Allison spends time preparing and cooking meals for herself, as well as enjoying yoga five times a week.

The Recipe for Success Team is fortunate to have such a dedicated volunteer that also embodies so much of what we advocate for within the community. Thank you, Allison, for all that you do!