2018 Archives

Meet Allison Gryder - August Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
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AllisonG.jpgWe are excited to introduce Allison Gryder, our August Volunteer of the Month. A busy mother of four-year-old twin boys, Allison enjoys watching children explore and learn about their food. This, along with a love for cooking, sparked her interest in volunteering for the organization and she particularly enjoyed assisting with the Delivering Hope program, organizing the welcome home baskets delivered to program recipients. Outside of chasing after her two little ones and assisting the foundation, Allison also supports her alma matter, University of Houston, serving on the Houston Alumnae Panhellenic Association and Foundation. Since joining the volunteer team as an office assistant, Allison has helped us with data updates, organizing event and donor reports, and crafting customized gift acknowledgments. A former Development Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator for Memorial Park Conservancy, Allison has recently provided the foundation with suggestions on how to improve our volunteer and community outreach efforts. We are so appreciative of the extra care Allison has given to ensure our volunteers and supporters remain educated on the organization's current events. Thank you, Allison!

PaperCity at Hope Farms

James Brock
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Heirloom tomatoes fill platters at Chefs in the Field Tomato Tribute at Hope Farms.jpg

It's not every day that one gets the chance to dine with 49 other interesting people at one long table. And it's even rarer to do so for a great cause. That's exactly what happened on June 24, and PaperCity's Catherine Anspon captured all the delicious fun, including the cocktails, the tomatoes, the short ribs, and the charred-tomato panna cotta. It was Chefs in the Field: A Tomato Tribute, and Alyssa Dole, Wayne Nguyen, and Martin Stayer wowed the crowd with their culinary creations. Monopole Wines provided the wonderful pairings, and Hal Brock's 22Fresh supplied the floral artistry and the bespoke cocktail. Read the complete PaperCity coverage here.

Chronicle Loves Farm Supper

James Brock
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Thumbnail image for Heirloom Green Tiger Tomatoes await guests at Chefs in the Field Tomato Tribute at Hope Farms.jpgThe Houston Chronicle's Amber Elliott knows a thing or two about great social events, and she was positively glowing at Chef's in the Field: A Tomato Tribute, which took place on June 24 at Hope Farms. "I seriouly dreamt about that dinner all night," she gushed. From the heirloom tomatoes and bespoke cocktail, to the culinary creations of chefs Alyssa Dole, Wayne Nguyen and Martin Stayer -- including the Umami Bomb and charred-tomato panna cotta -- the evening was a giant success, and raised nearly $10,000 for the foundation's programs. Read Elliott's story here.

Guests at table at Chefs in the Field at Hope Farms Tomato Tribute.jpg

Megan Dickerson At Work

James Brock
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Talk about dedication. Megan Dickerson, Hope Farms' summer intern, wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. -- 4:30 on Saturdays -- to make the one-hour-plus journey from her home in Wallis, Texas, to the farm, where she can be seen digging, watering and harvesting produce alongside Justin Myers, the foundation's chief agricultural officer, and other volunteers. Megan calls herself the "Urban Farm Girl," and is an avid home baker and recent graduate of Houston Community College's Culinary Arts program.

Dickerson grew up in a small, rural community, so farming is second nature to the Texan. Indeed, she lives on a farm in Wallis with her father and son; the family raises beef cattle and horses, and Dickerson wouldn't have it any other way. Her focus is to become a part of an initiative that promotes food education, access to consumable foods and the overall well-being of society to build healthy food systems. Dickerson joined the Hope Farms family in May as a summer intern. When asked what drew her to Hope Farms, she replied: "We are teaching others how to cook and eat the vegetables that so many do not have access to on a consistent basis."

Here is a Q & A with Dickerson, who is also the owner of online baking company Simple & Sweet.

Recipe for Success: How did you hear about Hope Farms?
Dickerson: The Recipe For Success Foundation was mentioned in my Healthy Cuisine class, by Chef Judith Boykin. I visited the website and stumbled upon Hope Farms and reviewed the opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community, and I've been hooked ever since then.

R4S: Why did you volunteer?
Dickerson: Historically, I've been quite involved with volunteering my time. I recently graduated in Culinary Arts, and I wanted to volunteer my time becoming involved in a mission that not only could ignite my passion but afford me the knowledge to understand my focus on healthy cuisine, food systems, and how they translate from farm to fork. When I discovered, after doing research, that I once lived in a food desert, it was imperative to step in and be a part of this initiative.

R4S: What is the most important thing you have learned thus far working at the farm?
Dickerson: That we are all part of community on a much larger scale than imaginable, and if we look past cultural differences, working side by side we can achieve anything. Hope Farms has taught me that with a little ingenuity we can educate a community about the many vegetable varieties available to them and show them how to prepare meals on a budget. In addition, I have learned that the farm brings hope.

Chef Ellen Schwartz: July's Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
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ChefEllenSchwartz.jpgA self-professed cook since the age of nine, Chef Ellen spent her childhood days In Houston surrounded by "foodies" in the grocery stores owned by her father and grandfather. She took daily cooking classes throughout middle school and high school and remained active as a dancer, forming a healthy relationship with food by choosing a variety of nutritious options that would help control her weight and fuel her activity level. She obtained her undergraduate degree from University of Houston, a Master of Science in Counseling from Houston Baptist University, and a Master's Degree, Reading Specialist from University of Houston. As a former counselor and mentor to middle school students struggling with overeating disorders, Ellen regularly attended OA meetings to gain further insight into the root cause of overeating and obesity in children. Her personal and professional experience combined with an increased awareness of the childhood obesity epidemic drew her to the mission of Recipe for Success Foundation.

Now private chef and culinary instructor, Chef Ellen has shared her passion for cooking with a variety of ages and skill levels in the Houston area for over 15 years. She's previously taught in professional kitchens at Central Market and Rice Epicurean and currently spends summers teaching cooking techniques and recipes to children at venues such as Wharton Kids' College, St. Luke's Methodist Church in Houston, and Kid's Connect at West University's After School Program.

Ellen first connected with Recipe for Success as a volunteer chef within the Seed to Plate Nutrition Education™ classroom, a program reminiscent of her personal childhood experience. She enjoyed watching the students' comfort level increase as they utilized the different cooking tools, developed new vocabulary, and learned about healthy eating habits. The organization has been grateful for the support Ellen provides at our fundraising events, particularly our largest annual Delicious Alchemy The Banquet. "I love to see the chefs create their creative dishes and love working behind the scenes" muses Ellen, adding that working with "a worthwhile cause" she supports motivates her return each year.

We look forward to many more years partnering with Ellen and are appreciative of her many years of service to the foundation and its mission. Thank you, Ellen!

Learn more about Ellen or book a cooking class HERE!

Houston 100: Tomato Tribute

James Brock
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IMG_1576.jpgYes, it is going to be all about the tomato, so if you are a fan of the beloved fruit, you need to mark June 24 on your calendars. The Houston 100 has, and gave a shout-out to the Recipe for Success Foundation and Hope Farms this week, urging Houstonians to get tickets for the event without delay, because this fundraiser is going to sell out! Chefs Alyssa Dole, Wayne Nguyen, and Martin Stayer willl be in charge of the food, and they will be using tomatoes from Hope Farms. Read The Houston 100's entry here, and get ready for some great eating!

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

An Earth Day Weekend Success

James Brock
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GQ2B0887.JPGWe celebrated Earth Day Weekend 2018 in a big way at Hope Farms on the weekend of April 21 and 22. More than 600 attendees transformed the farm into a rollicking venue of education and fun on Saturday, and on the following day 50 guests feasted at one long table at the inaugural Chefs in the Field Supper.

To kick off the weekend, a full slate of diverse artisans and community partners -- including The Children's Museum, Magpies & Peacocks, The Garden Hen, Hive Bee, Living Well Therapies, Shana Ross Fitness, author Erin Hicks, Old Country Olive Oil, United Health Foundation, and Saint Arnold Brewing Company -- gathered at the farm and provided guests with learning opportunities, educational outreach, and artisanal foodstuffs. Darren Grigsby cooked up some fine brisket and boudin, while Local Foods grilled artichokes and other delicacies. Smart in the Kitchen, Chef Michael, Urban Chef and the Recipe for Success culinary team gave hands-on cooking classes in the Gathering Barn, and actor, Laura Bellomy read to tots and youngsters under the Lace Elm Tree. All that, and much more, made Saturday a wonderful one.

On Sunday, sapphire skies, bountiful fields, 50 guests, three chefs, Texas wines, a hot new grill, and a stellar menu--including freshly harvested produce from Hope Farms -- made the Recipe for Success Foundation's inaugural Chefs in the Field Supper at Hope Farms a success by any measure.Thumbnail image for A birdseye view of the communal table at Chefs in the Field.JPG

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, during which 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 evening.

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, Ann and Tom Bastian and Recipe for Success Founders, Gracie and Bob Cavnar. The evening raised $12,000 for Hope Farms Community Outreach programs.

Enjoy fabulous photos of the weekend here:

Chefs In the Field April 2018

Fourth Grade Field Trips

Volunteer Coordinator
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GQ2B2910.JPGAs our Seed-to-Plate classes come to an end, and we finish "Eating the Rainbow," we're rounding out the year with our 4th grade field trips.

Students from our showcase schools--Rodriguez Elementary and MacGregor Elementary--recently visited Hope Farms, and had the opportunity to participate in a full farm to table experience.

Working closely with RFS farmer Justin Meyers and guest chef Kevin Naderi, students were split into three groups, and tasked with tackling the various components of a true farm to table experience.

During the their time with farmer Meyers, our first group of students helped weed and ensure that that all the raised beds were getting enough water (this was especially important as our as our days are getting hotter and hotter), while our second group worked to harvest the healthy, delicious ingredients that comprised our farm lunch, and our third group fed the Hope Farms chickens and plants various aromatics in the children's garden.

Their farm work done, our 4th graders moved towards composing their lunch for the day. Working closely with Chef Kevin Naderi, each group of students got a chance to put their own mark on the meal. Our first group sautéed beautiful farm fresh yellow squash, with onions and garlic for a fragrant pasta salad, while our second group composed a green salad with freshly picked cucumbers, and our third helped Chef Kevin prepare a tasty vinaigrette.

As part of their experience, students also received their own aprons, which they immediately took to personalizing. Inspired by their hard (but fun!) day's work, students decorated their aprons with flowers, trees, and the various names of plants they learned about throughout the day.

When it was all said and done, all the students and their teachers and members of the RFS team took the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor with an idyllic picnic--some of us choosing to sit out beneath the shade of beautiful, leafy trees, and others choosing the table overlooking the farm's blooming sunflowers. Bon Appetit!

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

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 children 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

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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.

MORE INFORMATION

Spring Volunteer Opportunities

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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.

Hope Farms Work Day, Friday, April 6, flexible shifts starting at 8:30 a.m.

Help us prepare our farm for Earth Day weekend. There is much to do from helping to build our Children's Garden, to grounds clean up, to painting! Sign Up within our Hope Farms work day opportunity!

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!

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Robin.jpg

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!

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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!

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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!