Eat, Drink and Help Houston Chefs Rebuild After Harvey
As soon as the rains from Hurricane Harvey stopped, Houston chefs sprung into action to feed Houstonians who needed it. In those moments after the storm, Houston’s food community became one big restaurant working feverishly to provide comfort through meals, delivering them in Houston and beyond to cities also affected by Harvey.
From first responders to medical staffs to volunteers to families displaced by the hurricane, chefs from all types of establishments united to do what they know best: feed people. Vendors came through with extra food and supplies, volunteers offered to make food deliveries, restaurants loaned each other vans and trucks to transport food. They did this even as some of them became victims of the hurricane when their restaurants, kitchens, cars, or homes flooded.
Now that things have calmed down a bit, many have reopened their restaurants but they haven’t stopped working to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, which included many people in the hospitality industry. Take, for example, the fourteen alumni of *17 Restaurant at The Sam Houston Hotel (formerly the Alden Hotel). Chefs including Ryan Pera, Rebecca Masson, Otto Sanchez, and Justin Yu put together a *17 Reunites To Rebuild dinner to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey. While the October 1 event sold out in no time, here are a few other events you can support to help the local food community rebuild.
Southern Smoke - October 22, 2017
This event, now in its third year, was created by Underbelly and One Fifth chef Chris Shepherd and the HOUBBQ Collective to raise funds for those living with multiple sclerosis. In light of the devastation left by Harvey, however, Shepherd switched gears for this year’s event and will use the funds to assist food and beverage industry employees and suppliers affected by the storm.
“The outpouring of support from the culinary community around the country has been incredible,” he said. “Chefs, restaurant groups, bar owners and others from coast to coast are reaching out asking how they can help. They’re hosting fundraisers and donating items for our auction; it’s heartwarming and it shows just how our industry comes together in a crisis. I know we’re going to be able to help a lot of those folks most affected in Houston get back on their feet.”
Attendees to the event will enjoy four hours of delicious food cooked by local chefs including Justin Yu of Better Luck Tomorrow, Ryan Pera of Coltivare, Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of The Pass and Provisions, and Shepherd. Guest chefs like Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ in Austin and Louisiana chef John Besh will also be treating guests to their cooking. Add to that wine, beer, booze, and live music, and you’re looking at having a great time while doing some good. Tickets available at southernsmoke.org.
The Butcher’s Ball at Rockin’ Star Ranch - October 15, 2017
Travel to Brenham, about 75 miles northwest of Houston, for a celebration of meat, the chefs who love it, and the ranchers who raise it. Hosted at the luxurious Rockin’ Star Ranch, the full-day event brings together Texas’s top chefs and pairs them with local ranchers to partake in butchering competitions, demos, tastings, and more. All proceeds from this year’s event will go to support farmers and ranchers affected by Harvey. The chef lineup includes several Houston chefs, including Benjy Mason of Down House Houston, Bobby Matos of State of Grace, Monica Pope of Sparrow Cookshop, Patrick Feges of Feges BBQ, Martin Sayer of Nobie’s, and Ryan Hildebrand of FM Kitchen and Bar. Tickets available at butchersball.com or you can donate to piggy-bank.org.
Urban Harvest Sunday Supper - November 5, 2017
Join some of Houston’s best chefs and growers at this seasonal Sunday Supper at Weights + Measures. Organized by Urban Harvest, a nonprofit organization that puts on some of Houston’s top farmers markets and other local food initiatives, the supper pairs chefs and growers to create a meal highlighting seasonal, local ingredients. This year’s event will feature chefs Richard Kaplan of Weights + Measures, Martha DeLeon of Pax Americana, Kevin Naderi of Roost, and Ryan Hildebrand of FM Kitchen and Bar, among others. Proceeds benefit Urban Harvest’s farmers market program, which helps the local farmers that bring their products to market each week, many of whom have been affected by Harvey. Tickets available here.
If you’re looking for a place to donate to, Bryan and Jennifer Caswell’s Southern Salt Foundation is collecting funds for Harvey Relief as well. The couple, owners of Reef Restaurant, which flooded during the storm, were among those who tirelessly assisted in the post-storm efforts.