May Volunteer of the Month: Cheryl Sorak

Volunteer Coordinator
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Cheryl Sorak.jpgWe are pleased to announce Cheryl Sorak as our May Volunteer of the Month. A busy mom of two teenagers and employee at a natural health clinic in the Houston Heights area, Cheryl still manages to carve out time to donate her time at Hope Farms on a weekly basis. Since July 2017, she's been drawn to the farm, a space she describes as "beautiful" and "good for the soul". Cheryl enjoys volunteering because of the opportunity it provides to work with the foundation's farm team and other volunteers and the work is a great learning experience. One of her favorite memories was during this past winter when a rare dusting of snow covered the farm fields. "It was amazing to see the plants covered in snow! I C Sorak.jpgknow it was probably not the best for some of them but was a beautiful sight."

The Recipe for Success team is grateful for the amount of time Cheryl has dedicated to Hope Farms. Thank you, Cheryl!

ABC13 at Hope Farms

James Brock
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Houston's ABC affilliate, KTRK 13, visited Hope Farms last week and spoke to Gracie Cavnar, Recipe for Success founder and CEO, about food deserts and the foundation's U.S. military veterans training program, which is helping vets recover from their wartime stresses and learn to run their own urban farms. Laura Taglialavore also interviewed one of the farm's veteran trainees, Daniel Smith, above, who told her that working around so much life helps him forget the death and chaos of his warzone existence. Justin Myers, the foundation's chief agricultural officer, spoke to the broadcast journalist about the farm's missions and the good things in store for the veteran when he completes his training at Hope Farms. It's a fascinating look at some of the things the foundation is doing over on Scott Street, 10 minutes from downtown Houston. Take a look at the video report:

Culturemap: Ultimate Al Fresco Party

James Brock
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The media coverage of Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet continues with this piece from Culturemap Houston, which conveys all of the elegance, deliciousness, and fun that happened on May 7. The guests were treated to cocktails from Hal Brock (who also designed the floral arrangements for the evening), Rootstock Wines opened some exellent bottles, and the food. Well, the food was something special. The chefs and their teams created a 10-course tasting menu that exceeded expectations, a lineup that included ceviche, lobster bisque, duck leg, and more. The home of Lisa and Michael Holthouse was the perfect setting for the fundraiser, and we're already looking forward to 2019 and the first Monday in May, which is when Delicious Alchemy comes again. Read the Culturemap story here, and take a look at our stellar photos below.

Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet 2018

PaperCity: Delicious Alchemy 'Jaw-Dropping'

James Brock
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The setting was perfect, the chefs some of the best in Houston, the wines and food excellent: Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet was, according to PaperCity's Shelby Hodge, "one spectacular, not to mention oh-so-tasty, soirée." The fundraiser, which brought in more than $250,000 for the Recipe for Success Foundation, took place at the home of Lisa and Michael Holthouse, and if you missed it, you missed something truly special. Read the story here. Intrigued? Mark your calendars for the first Monday in May, 2019, because that's when Delicious Alchemy will return. Until then, enjoy these photos:

Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet 2018

A Tribute to Tomatoes

Recipe for Success
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Facebook-CIF-6.24-final-header.jpgIt's a summer tribute to the wonderful tomato! The Recipe for Success Foundation's next Chefs in the Field Supper at Home Farms will take place on June 24, helmed by chefs Alyssa Dole (Pinkerton's Texas Pit Barbecue), Wayne Nguyen (Maba Pan-Asian Diner), and Martin Stayer (Nobie's). Just 10 minutes from downtown, the evening at Hope Farms features a cocktail and tomato tasting session and a three-course meal created by the chef trio. Thanks to inkind donors and volunteer chefs, 100% of the ticket sales support the Foundation's mission to combat childhood obesity.

Hope Farms is growing 32 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and the chefs will create dishes from the beloved fruit freshly harvested from the 7-acre urban farm. Festivities begin with cocktails and a tomato-tasting and continue with a meal staged at one long table in the farm's Gathering Barn. Tickets for cocktails and the tomato tasting are $75; the $250 ticket includes cocktails tomato tasting and a three-course seated meal with wines. CLICK HERE for tickets.

Delivering Hope to Veterans

Recipe for Success
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DeliveringHope2.jpegWith Welcome Home Baskets brimming with fresh food and kitchen supplies, the Recipe for Success Team hit the road today at noon to Deliver Hope to six veterans and their families who were particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Harvey

In 2017, along with so many Houstonians, these Veterans battled the raging floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey and so many who lost their homes are still in the arduous process of rebuilding their lives. The Foundation was particularly concerned with the interruption of home cooked family meals.

"Our kitchens are the hearts of our homes-where our families and friends share meals and stories, and where life is anchored and celebrated. We wanted to help restore our neighbor's kitchens, filling them with healthy food and the means to cook and serve it," says Recipe for Success Founder, Gracie Cavnar. "Now six families can enjoy these moments again and begin building new memories."

Recipe for Success put out a call for help throughout its network of chefs and supporters and many responded. The first Delivering Hope Welcome Home Baskets are brimming with just-harvested produce from Hope Farms and supplies donated by Chef Thomas Keller and AllClad, along with personalized favorite cookbooks presented by global members of the International Women's Forum and pantry staples donated by Executive Women International.

Beginning today, the families, which include grandparents and grandchildren, a husband-and-wife-veteran duo, and a single father and his son, will receive regular deliveries of fresh produce from Hope Farms for a year, so now these Houstonians who have given so much can focus on cooking, celebrating life and making memories in their new homes.

Recipe for Success Foundation worked with Combined Arms to circulate an application for assistance for Harvey-impacted Veteran families with children under twelve in the home. Here is what one veteran said about his life after Harvey:

"The hurricane forced me to evaluate life in a number of ways, what is and is not important, priorities, belongings and lifestyle. I have since been eating better and cooking more at home for my son and I. I have very little in decorations, as it feels less like a home and more like a temporary situation since we had to leave. I believe having my own new items will aide that sense of "home." I have been blessed to receive used dishes and pans from others, and as I can I buy replacement items, so this would be a great blessing to replace those with something of my own. I know there are a number of people who had it worse than me and I am blessed that I have a place, I can cook, and have managed to get by. So I would request that if I am considered and it came down to me and another family, they be considered first. I am grateful for this opportunity."

Ultimate Dinner Party

Recipe for Success
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Marinated Hope Farms Vegetable Salad by Kevin Naderi Roost.jpgWhat is better than a great dinner party--a leisurely evening spent at a table filled with friends enjoying a great meal and conversation? The dinner party we gave on Monday night that raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for our work--20% of our annual budget!

On the first Monday in May, 92 guests were transported to the Italian countryside for our intimate Delicious Alchemy Banquet at the villa-style home of Lisa and Michael Holthouse, which is perched lakeside--tucked away in the tall trees of Houston's Memorial neighborhood. Responding to the garden chic/no ties dress code, our relaxed guests gathered around long family-style tables lined with silver and crystal and referred to handmade menu portfolios to keep up with the culinary action. Presented by Brunello Cucinelli, the evening featured ten extraordinary Houston chefs who created ten exquisite courses matched with ten superb wines. Thanks to the generosity of Cucinelli--and a host of inkind donors of food, beverages, service, music and décor--100% of the ticket income went directly to our programming.

"The setting, the food and people were all so perfect. We truly felt like we were in the Italian countryside. Everyone was so relaxed and having so much fun! Just when I thought I could not eat another bite, the short ribs arrived. My favorite! And I still managed to fit in the dessert," enthused Brunello Cucinelli's Houston General manager Kelly Kavaler.

Brunello Cucinelli offered a specially-tailored, private two day/one-night tour of Solomeo--the organization's home village in Tuscany and bidding was so exuberant, they ended up awarding trips to four donors. Congratulations to Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Sheree and Norman Frede, Lisa and Ralph Eads, and Gwen and John McCauley--you're going to Italy!

Mark your calendars for the First Monday in May, 2019 when we will try to live up to ourselves. Until then, enjoy the photos:

Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet 2018

OUR 1st CHEFS IN THE FIELD SUPPER

Recipe for Success
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Gracie& Bob Cavnar copy.jpgIT WAS A PERFECT EVENING AROUND THE TABLE ON EARTH DAY. Sapphire skies, bountiful fields, fifty guests, three chefs, Texas wines, a hot new grill, and a stellar menu--including freshly harvested produce from Hope Farms: The Recipe for Success Foundation's inaugural Chefs in the Field supper at Hope Farms was a success by any measure.

All members of the Foundation's Advisory Board, volunteer chefs--Jean-Philippe Gaston (Izakaya), Vincent Huynh (Agricole Hospitality), and Greg Martin (Bistro Menil)--who built the new grill themselves as a gift to the Farm, wowed guests on Sunday night, where the 50-foot-long table laid out in the farm's Gathering Barn was the scene of delicious fun.

Festivities began in the Chef's Kitchen Garden where Agricole Hospitality proprietor, Morgan Weber poured his signature Indianola Distillery Old Fashioneds, and Foundation Board member, Kathryne Castellanos and her volunteer brigade passed grilled polenta cakes and octopus bites along with Christian Martin Blanc de Blancs and Saint Arnold Beers. After exploring the fields and meeting the chickens, guests took their seats for a five-course feast featuring wines from William Chris Vineyards. Progressing from Hope Farms veg crudité and roasted beet borscht to melt-in-your-mouth short ribs and whole grilled snappers--all served family style, the meal concluded with Dairy Maids cheeses, Bee Hive honeycomb and strawberry shortcakes. Sponsors Blue Horizon Seafood, Buckhead Meat, Hive Bee Farm donated their top-quality provisions for the meal.

Spotted at the table: tennis great Zina Garrison, Bryan Christ, Emily and Robert Clay, Dona & Al Clay, Erin Stewart O'Leary, Shamika Johnson, Genevieve and Shawn Patterson, Melanie and Daniel Ringold, Lisa and Paul Mason, Marnie Greenwood, Ana Llovera and Carlos Gonzales Centano, Sheryl and Ernie Rapp, Carrie and Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Yasmine Haddad and daughter Tatiana, Honi and Glen Boudreaux, Haley and Michael Carter, and Ann and Tom Bastian. Old friends and new. It was a truly remarkable evening.

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
$165

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

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