When Houston's Hottest Chefs and Finest Hosts Team Up...It's a Recipe for Success!

Gracie Cavnar
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March 30, 2010 Houston, Texas. Recipe for Success Foundation (RfS) kicked off its fifth annual We're Cooking Now! Gala in Small Bites fundraising series Monday night with Full Moon Rising at the home of founders Gracie and Bob Cavnar. Chef Randy Evans from Haven, presented a five-course feast of East Texas soul food for just sixteen people while pianist Paul English along with saxman Horace Young and torch singer Tommie Lee Bradley entertained the intimate gathering with a musical anthology of the blues in Houston. The dinner raised $24,000 for Recipe for Success programs to combat childhood obesity. The popular We're Cooking Now! Gala in Small Bites series will extend through June with ticket prices ranging from $200 to $1,500 per person, and thanks to sponsors like Central Market, is expected to raise total net proceeds of over $185,000 for programming in Houston elementary schools.

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Gracie Cavnar, founder of Recipe for Success, created the We're Cooking Now! Gala In Small Bites series in 2006 as a refreshing departure from the typical Houston gala. "We wanted to celebrate the pleasures of an intimate dinner table shared among friends.  It's a tenet of our work to improve the eating habits of children, and it was a lovely way to showcase the extraordinary chefs who volunteer their time all year long, year after year, to help us teach kids to cook healthy meals," explains Ms. Cavnar. We're Cooking Now! a Gala in Small Bites series is now so eagerly anticipated that many tickets were sold before invitations were even sent.

Next on the agenda is fashion forward philanthropy on April 7 when the dinner event coincides with a special spring fashion show featuring the acclaimed designer, David Meister in a special appearance at Neiman Marcus.  A cocktail reception and a full-blown fashion show featuring Meister's spring collections will precede an intimateDinner with the Designer, where guests will enjoy some of Houston's freshest Mexican-inspired cuisine, by LJ Wiley of Yalapa Playa Mexicana alongside Mr. Meister himself.

The glamour won't end at Neiman's. The 2010 Small Bites chair Sharin Gaille promises a spectacular affair at her Memorial home as guests gather on April 12 to celebrate April in Paris, a Parisian-themed salon complemented by a meal by the very continental Matt Gray, of Chez Roux. The April 20 event, A Grand Evening with Robert del Grande promises to be equally extraordinary, featuring food by one of Houston's most admired chefs in the welcoming setting of Cathy and Gary Brock's home. As far as glitz is concerned, though, nothing will top Big Ice...Small Bites onMay 10 at the diamond vault at DeVille fine jewelry.  Hosts Liz and Tom Glanville will entertain an elite group among some of the city's finest diamonds, rubies and emeralds, even festooning their lady guests with the "ice" while they a meal prepared by a true gem of the Houston culinary scene, Chef Michael Kramer of Voice.  For a glamorous spa refresher, join Terri & John Havens in their historic garden chapel on Lazy Lane on May 8 at Living Gourmet the Cal-a-Vie Way.   Dinner will feature the healthiest gourmet cuisine imaginable created by chef Jason Graham, visiting from the country's #1 rated Ca-a-Vie Health Spa┬« for this rare treat.

More casual events include the April 25 brunch, A Garden of Earth Day Delightsat the home of Steph and Al Walker, set to highlight seasonal produce prepared by Chef Jason Gould. The May 5th Cinco de Mayo party hosted by Phyllis Childress and Terry Wayne Jones at the dreamy Sub-Zero Wolf showroom and featuring a five course cooking class by master teacher and Chef Garth Blackburn always sells out early. You can also relax as Sheridan & John Eddie Williams with Catering by Culinaire's Chef Barbara McKnight and husband, Lance present A Southern Sunday Supper on May 16, at the historic Hofheinz House.  Finally, RfS fans are invited to take it "low and slow" at a laid-back but spicy event on June 17 when host Hasty Johnson squares off in his own backyard against professional pit master Jonathan Jones at Hasty's Tasty BBQ Throwdown.

The limited tickets disappear fast for what promises to be some of the city's best events of the year.  Information about events and chefs, ticket sales is at www.recipe4success.org/events.htm.

Read the Houston Chronicle story here.  Read the Culture Map Story here.