Art of Food-a Tasty Party

Recipe for Success
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greg-small-portrait.jpgOn September 27th, Greg Martin of Bistro Menil (pictured here) along with 20 more of Houston's delicious chefs, 20 remarkable artists, and a dozen delectable boutique wines, sprits and craft beer makers, will gather at The Four Seasons Houston to dazzle the senses of party goers at the final celebration of our 10th Anniversary.  Tickets from $250 per person and tables from $1500 are available by CLICKING HERE.

Introducing Amy Scott

Recipe for Success
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Amy Scott.jpgOur new Hope Farm Manager, Amy Scott started volunteering at the food pantry in Pasadena, California, right out of college.  Because she thought the pantry should offer healthier choices, Amy decided she needed to learn how to grow fresh produce and improve their offerings. Little did she know, that her deep concern about food security issues would propel her to seek greener fields and better produce--first in northern California, then east in New York and New Jersey where she discovered the secret to coaxing maximum productivity from small scale farms using organic methods, as well as a new beau who was a Princeton lad. When that Texas boy  managed to lure her to the Third Coast to try her hand in our East Texas gumbo, she tripped across Recipe for Success Foundation's new Hope Farms project as if it was her predetermined fate. Highly committed and driven by the pursuit of perfection, Amy has learned in dealing with Mother Nature's whims that having a well-developed sense of humor is very important.  She is most excited about this new challenge of building a farm from the ground up and empowering the surrounding community with fresh food.  "I've come full circle from the Food Pantry," she muses.  Welcome Amy!

Locavore chefs share their skills

Recipe for Success
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Ruffy_Sulaiman_p0838v.jpgDateline May 6, 2016 Houstonia Magazine:  Locavore chefs share their skills with kids--and foodie adults. Once a month, chef Ruffy Sulaiman goes to MacGregor Elementary School. He got his own elementary education long ago in Lagos, Nigeria, but he says that doesn't keep him from learning on his regular visits with students. "Because of what the kids are doing at the school, growing their own things, I've started looking into growing some plants in-house," he says. In his role as executive chef at the Hilton Americas, Sulaiman is currently working to start a rooftop garden that will supply the kitchen at 1600 Bar + Grill. It's all in a day's work as part of Recipe for Success' Chef Advisory Board.  Read more.

EatingWell to VegOut! & Eat More Vegetables

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We're teaming up with EatingWell to help you Eat More VegetablesThere's one simple change anyone can make to eat better and be healthier: Eat more vegetables! And the folks at EatingWell Magazine are challenging themselves and us to eat 30 vegetables in 30 days! The Eat More Vegetables Challenge kicks off today and you can find healthy recipes to try a different vegetable every day as well as helpful tips for buying, storing and prepping your veggies all HERE

And to help you at home- EatingWell Vegetables is the ultimate book to help anyone make that change--deliciously. Written by the editors of EatingWell magazine, this book offers step-by-step basic cooking instructions with full-color photos for 101 vegetables, plus 200 easy vegetable-packed (though not necessarily vegetarian) recipes. Get it in stores in June!

EWVB Cover_final

Join the EatingWell Magazine group on VegOut! Race with EatingWell staffers and readers to reach the top of the leaderboard: Who can up their veggie game the most? And join EatingWell online--on Facebook, Instagram and we'll be featuring recipes for 30 different vegetables in 30 days this June. We'll also be giving away a copy of EatingWell Vegetables each day on our Facebook page.


The Ultimate Dinner Party

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10 Chefs + 10 Courses + 75 Guests + The Dunlavy = Houston's Best Ever Dinner Party! 

Guests are still raving about the 10th Anniversary dinner party that Gracie and Bob Cavnar threw to benefit Recipe for Success Foundation, Thursday night May 19 at The Dunlavy

"The chicest most elegant dinner we've been to in years," gushed global philanthropist Becca Thrash. "The entire evening was a feast for every sense--truly a beautiful, engaging, and delicious few hours in the most perfect Houston setting," insisted Houston supporter Jane Wagner. 

A culinary reunion with the air of a parallel party had the kitchen humming all afternoon as ten iconic food artists--all founding members of the Recipe For Success Chef's Advisory Board--prepared their courses. Bryan Caswell, Charles Clark, Robert Del Grande, Randy Evans, Lance Fegen, Peter Garcia, Elouise Jones, Monica Pope, Randy Rucker, and John Sheely pulled out all the stops to created their over-the-top dishes with the help of ingredients donated by Sysco Foods, D'Artagnan, DR Delicacy, Marble Ranch and Indian Creek Mushrooms.

The Banquet Chefs

Afternoon thunderstorms cleared and a breeze kicked up just in time for seventy guests to arrive at The Dunlavy where the parade of food started during cocktails on the screen porch, which is cantilevered over Buffalo Bayou. Lance Fegen's Pupukea-style tuna poke with ginger, macadamia, mango and chilies on a wasabi-sesame spoon; Monica Pope's signature Date with a Pig and John Sheely's snapper ceviche were passed as guests posed for photos with Neal Hamil Agency models who were draped only in artful dinner napkins.  The models displayed examples of Dinner at Eight, sets of ten napkins featuring original works created for the occasion by artists Andrea Bianconi, Elaine Bradford, Joey Fauerso, Michael Golden, David McGee, Neva Mikulicz, Kermit Oliver, Susan Plum, Beth Secor and Randy Twaddle.  Guests snapped up the packaged sets on sale for $250. 

Dinner at 8 with GRacie

A signature cocktail of Belvedere Peach Vodka with fresh Texas peaches from Jolie Vue Ranch made the rounds along with Chandon Sparkling Wine, Anna de Codorniu Cava Brut, En Route Chardonnay, Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, Septima Malbec, DeLoach Pinot Noir--all curated by Glazers Distributing, plus Stella Artois and 8th Wonder beer--gifts from Silver Eagle.

The Banquet Table

With her grandmother's sterling silver dinner bell, Gracie Cavnar signaled a move to the dining room where two long tables dressed in natural linen shimmered with silver and gold flatware, golden rimmed plates, and accented with white votives, pillar candles, peonies, tulips and hydrangeas were set under a sparkling collection of 40 antique chandeliers. Bent dinner forks displayed place cards, which matched the two-sided menus printed on natural craft paper. Once the cozy party was seated Cavnar recognized chefs Fegen, Pope and Sheely who shared their stories from the classroom and their enthusiasm for the Foundation's programming along with the description of their hors d'oeuvres.  All three--along with the rest of the chefs being featured during the evening, had helped Cavnar create the Foundation's signature program now known nationally as Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™.  "It helped me be a better parent myself," insisted Fegen, while Pope shared a favorite story of 4th graders finding purple cauliflower in their garden, then insisting on adding it to the whole wheat pizza they were making and Sheely described the joy of seeing the light go on when a child understands the magic of food. 

The Banquet Intro from Gracie

"Get ready for the meal of your life," warned Cavnar before the next course went down--Charles Clark's skate wing in Meyer lemon brodetto with Taylor Bay scallops, was followed by Pedro Garcia's lentil soup with shaved black truffle and truffle oil.  Then out came Bryan Caswell's duck leg with Jordan almonds, brik and brown butter and Randy Rucker's lightly smoked short rib of beef with mushroom and chickweed.  Each dish bought a gush of oohs and lots of cell phone photos, while each chef shared his story of working with Recipe for Success Foundation.  Pedro Garcia, who like Pope, Sheely and Evans has spent time in the Foundation's classrooms every single month for a decade, had just hosted this year's class of 30 fourth graders to his restaurant, El Meson earlier in the day.  "I gave them the nickel tour and got to teach them a little something new today--the meaning of abstract, which is the opposite of what we are doing with Recipe for Success, because we are delivering real change in the way these kids think about, understand and eat their food. It's going to stick with them forever and even impact their families."  One after the other, each chef shared how their volunteer work with Recipe for Success had not only impacted the 35,000 kids the program has worked with to date, but changed their own lives. 

"Never lose your childlike sense of wonder," advised Robert Del Grande as he presented his desert of pistachio cake, beet crème and lime glass that he coined the Mad Hatter.  The colorful pink and green confection provided a delicious backdrop to a live auction of two pieces of original art.  Shawn and Genevieve Patterson won a lively bidding war that drove the final price to $1,000 for Couture Cognac, a triptych of 6"x6" pieces done in graphite, paint and thread on linen by René Garza, of Houston and New York.  There's No Such Thing as Leftovers!, a three dimensional piece of a found object, needle and thread on hemmed cotton napkin, created by Joseph H. Havel, who Catherine Anspon declared "a pillar of the Texas art scene," was snapped up for $2,000 by Becca and John Thrash.

After the auction, Cavnar brought forth Randy Evans who has recently moved to San Antonio and made the trip back especially for the party.  "Not only did Randy help me create this program, and spent a decade in our classrooms, we have gone on the road together to New York and the White House to promote it.  We miss you Randy!"   Evans hugged Cavnar as he shared how teaching with the Foundation had inspired him to build his own garden at his now shuttered Haven and keep bee hives, and introduce his kids to cooking.   "After teaching with Recipe, I was comfortable starting my own girls early at the stove.  They have been cooking with me since they were three."

To give party guests the chance to stretch their legs, Evans' dessert course of vanilla bean pound cake with bourbon macerated strawberries and lemon curd was served on the screen porch along with Elousie Jones' iconic Chocolat Pots de Crème.  But before the diners disbursed, they insisted that all ten chefs reappear and rose to give them a standing ovation.  The dinner raised $150,000 for Recipe for Success Foundations programming in Houston.

See our coverage in The Houston Chronicle, The Buzz, CultureMap and PaperCity!




Seed-to-Plate Kids Go Iron Chef!

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As the school year comes to a close, Seed-to-Plate kids have the opportunity to show off all the healthy cooking skills they've learned throughout the year. The culmination of the Super Foods semester at Recipe for Success Foundation Showcase School, Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary, added some healthy cooking competition and mystery ingredient fun to the mix! 


Students started their class with a quick lesson on a creating the perfect Super Salad using a combination of flavors and textures from Houston Chef and owner of Roost, Chef Kevin Naderi. They then selected a bowl full of mystery ingredinetns and had 20 minutes to complete their salad before judging. 

Chef Kevein Naderi and S2P

Judges enjoyed sampling the 4th graders creations and seeing their enthusiasm in creating new flavor profiles! You can see all the action here from Houston's FOX affiliate!

KRIV Iron Chef

Happy Mother's Day from Hope Farms

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We hit the farm this beautiful Mother's Day weekend because we were inspired. Mothers nurture us, help us grow and feed our bodies and souls till we're old enough to care for ourselves. That is our dream for Hope Farms- to help nurture Houston, help us grow nutritious and healthy and give us a space to help us reconnect with Mother Nature herself. Today, as we til the earth and prepare the get ground ready for life, we salute all mothers out there and the one mother that cares for us all- Mother Nature! Happy Mother's Day from all of us at Recipe for Success! 

Hope Farms Sunrise

If you have a group or team looking for volunteer opporutnities, we have you covered! Join us at Hope Farms- it takes us all to build a farm big enough for Houston! Email or give us a call at 713.520.0443. 

Dress for Dinner: 2016 Fashion Gene Awards- Jana Arnoldy, Lauren Barrett & Lindley Arnoldy

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As we gear up to honor Houston's most stylish mothers and daughter at our annual Dress for Dinner: Fashion Gene Awards we will be highlighting these fabulous women! 

These ladies show that fashion really does run in their genes! 

One of the honorees are Mother, Jana Arnoldy, and her daughters, Lauren Barrett and Lindley Arnoldy. When asked how they would describe their mother/daughter's style they described themselves as elegant, confident, fresh and colorful! And we couldn't agree more! 

Lindley Arnoldy-2.jpeg

We loved how they described their shared love of fashion as Jana said her daighters helped keep her updated and modern while mother inspired her daighters with perfect hand-me downs and encourages them to explore color and print! 

We hope you can join us on May 4 at Tootsie's!  Fashion show begins at 6:30 and we would love for you to stay for dinner featuring Chef Barbara Friedel McKnight and the Culinaire - Inspired Cuisine and Events team. You can learn more and buy tickets HERE!  

Help us toast Jana, Lindley, Lauren and all of our wonderful and stylish mothers and daughters! 

Lindley Arnoldy.jpeg

Bryan Caswell is an Ocean of Inspiration

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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 waone 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 

Bryan Caswell and Small Bites

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, hhas 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 Caswell and Fish.jpg

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 

Bryan Caswell in Class.jpg

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. 

Bryan Caswell Autographs

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


Celebrate Mother's Day With Us

Gracie Cavnar
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mother daughter collage.jpgBook your tickets now for the 7th annual Fashion Gene Awards when we honor Jillian Boss & Jacqueline Fair; Kimberly, Christine & Jo Lynn Falgout; Tammie Johnson & Brittney Leigh Randolph; Alexa L. & Vanessa Sendukas; Lindley Arnoldy, Jana Arnoldy & Lauren Barrett and Duyen H., Anais, Lauren, Cholé & Misha Nguyen on May 4 at Tootsies. Get your tickets today!

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