To Recipe for Success Foundation, Chef Bryan Caswell is a founding Chefs Advisory Board member and one of our earliest advocates. He was all ears back in 2005 when founder, Gracie Cavnar gathered friends in her home for brunch and enthusiastically presented her idea to end childhood obesity. He was one of the 24 chefs who were hands-on in helping Gracie develop curriculum that would get kids excited about healthy eating--and volunteered hours every month turning on the kid's taste buds and teaching them to cook.
To the rest of the world, Chef Caswell might be considered one of the chefs that put the Houston food scene on the map. Since he first snagged America's attention on the cover of Food & Wine Magazine as Best New Chef 2009, he has been the man who works tirelessly to save the ecosystem of his native Gulf of Mexico and to educate people about the food culture it has spawned. He is a chef who marries his impressive Culinary Institute of America education, and professional experience at the helm of leading restaurants around the world, with the flavors and traditions he grew up with in Texas to inspire eaters at his popular Houston restaurants.
Bryan joined the ranks of Recipe for Success fans immediately and began spreading the word. Along with Monica Pope, Randy Evans, Randy Rucker and Claire Smith, he made lunch for a group assembled by Houston's First Lady, Andrea White to hear Gracie's first public presentation of her vision for a new non-profit. Then, he helped raise funds to get Recipe for Success Foundation off the ground as a host chef for the debut of We're Cooking Now, A Gala in Small Bites, which became a popular annual series of intimate dinner parties in private homes across the city.
To Bryan it wasn't the fame or attention, but going into the schools and working with kids that remains one of the best experiences of his entire life. He remembers the wonderment and purity in the children's eyes as they learned about planting, harvesting and cooking their own food.
He recalls how it was his first time in a classroom with Gracie that was also the first time he was asked for an autograph!
"The kids just see the uniform and automatically think you're important. As I was getting ready to leave after class, one kid asked for an autograph then they all wanted one. I sat there for 20 minutes surrounded by 4th graders wanting my autograph," chuckled Caswell.
Now with his own children, he tries to bring the lessons home that he learned working with Recipe for Success Foundation. "My wife and I take them to the farmer's market every weekend and they pick their own vegetables out for the week. They know they have to have two grains, three vegetables and a protein. It helps a lot for the kids know where it comes from, who grew it and see it in its raw state. Then they help in bringing the meal together. Of course, my kids never listen to me as well as the kids in the classroom! "
Recipe for Success Foundation celebrates Bryan Caswell and the contribution he has made not only to our programs, but to the city of Houston. He has been instrumental in shining a light on the city's food scene and works tirelessly to conserve and protect the Gulf of Mexico for both commercial needs and for recreation.
"That's where it all started for me. It was the rod and the sea that got me hooked! I just hope these traditions continue for my kids and grandkids. That they can enjoy what I able to enjoy when I was growing up and throughout my life and then that they can eventually share it with their own kids."
To Bryan the ocean and his wife provide his greatest inspirations, but "most importantly, is how to recognize inspiration. It lies in everything, at every turn. How can you recognize and use it?"
To Recipe for Success, Bryan is one of our great inspirations and we are thrilled to recognize him and other founding chefs in May at our 10th Anniversary Celebration. At The Banquet on May 19th a few lucky guests will gather at an exquisitely table set under the sparkling chandeliers of The Dunlavy to dine on a sumptuous ten-course Banquet prepared by ten iconic chefs, all founding members of the Recipe For Success Foundation's Chef's Advisory Board. Chefs Bryan Caswell, Charles Clark, Robert Del Grande, Monica Pope, Ouisie, Randy Evans, Lance Fegan, Randy Rucker, Peter Garcia and John Sheely will each create a course complimented by wines provided by Anna de Codorniu Cava Brut and Long Meadow Ranch and a craft beer curated by the brewmasters at Silver Eagle Distributors. Specialty gourmet items donated by DR Delicacies, D'Artagan and Sysco promise to tantalize the tastebuds during this unforgettable evening with music curated by Paul English. Find out more and purchase tickets here.