RReturning from a two-year hiatus caused by a pandemic, the Bon Vivant Houston dinner at the Youth Development Center promised an unforgettable dining experience.
It delivered on its promise, then some emphasizing fine dining from some of Houston’s top chefs – as well as a big announcement that had the night’s winners cheering from the enthusiastic crowd, PaperCity society & lifestyle editor Shelby hodge and her husband, an architect Chafik Rifaat.
As a surprise for the couple, co-president Richard Flowers announced that the kitchen and cafe at the $5.5 million nonprofit resort will be named in honor of Hodge and Rifaat. The Youth Development Center offers an after-school intervention program for at-risk students in grades one through six in Houston’s Greater Fifth Ward. The state-of-the-art building also has three technology-based learning labs, two homework study rooms, boardrooms, and a library.
“For those of you who don’t know, Shelby is one hell of a cook,” Flowers says. “She makes the best okra in central Louisiana. And Shafik, well, he can cook nasty fish.
He noted Hodge’s longtime support of Houston’s nonprofit scene, pointing out that the Youth Development Center would not have reached its current status without his articles featuring previous Bon Vivant dinners and his coverage of plans. building of the center.
Trying to articulate what Hodge and Rifaat mean to Houston’s social scene, Flowers recently brainstormed the idea with the Houston social lioness. Lynn Wyatt, which came with a little ditty that sums up the couple’s impact. Flowers read it to the delighted audience:
“Shelby is always on the go, and we read her column to be in the know.
Shafik is always there because he accompanies her everywhere.
We are delighted that he is here and that he has been married to Shelby for 34 years.
The dinner, held at the new 713 Music Hall, part of the POST food hall and downtown Houston entertainment venue, featured 22 chefs – each tasked with creating a multi-course gourmet dinner unusual for a table of 10 guests. The chefs pulled out all the stops with their creations, which included Chawanmushi, a savory Japanese egg custard and foie gras broth served in a delicate chef’s hollowed-out eggshell Billy Kin from the new 5 Kinokawa restaurant, and a creamy salad with Sasania Kaluga caviar from chef Monarch Hospitality Victor Santiago.
A very social group, including Wyatt, Flowers, Angel Rios, Fady Armanious and Bill Baudouin delighted with the risotto cooked at the table by chef Alba Ristorante Maurizio Ferrarese while a table led by Sheridan Williams, Isaac Niaz, Vesta Frommer, Janet Gurwitch, Karen and Mike Mayel, Hodge and Rifaat swooned over the chef’s authentic Italian dishes at Concura restaurant Angelo Cupponein collaboration with the owner Alessio Ricci.
The contingent of chefs also included Adison Lee of Kuu, André Garza roots, Ara Malekian Harlem Road Texas BBQ, Brad Eugene of Harold’s Restaurant Bar & Terrace, Brandon Wrise by Hidden Omakase, Felix Florez from Cherry Block Craft Butcher & Texas Market, Giancarlo Ferrara the Amalfi Ristorante Italiano Bar and Jason Cole by Willie G.
Also showcasing the breadth and depth of Houston’s restaurant scene, JD Woodward from 1751 Sea & Bar, Jonathan Levin from Jonathan’s the Rub, Kevin Bryant from Rome, Manuel David “Manny” Menchaca by Vic and Anthony, Martin Weaver from Waterever Fresh, Pierre “Pedro” Garcia of El Meson, Sei Kim from 1600 B+G to the Hilton Americas-Houston, Shannen’s Song to eat with the air, Thomas Stacy ReikiNa, and Tony Luhrman of El Topo.
Tony’s contributed a multi-course dinner for 10 with wines for the brief live auction.
PC seen: Very popular hat designers Therese Foglia and Wild Tyler Hays, Kathy and Jody McCord, Cherri Carbonara and Tom McGhie, Samira Salman, Cute and Steve Gil, Duyên Huynh and Marc Nguyen, Carrie and Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Executive Director of the Youth Development Center jason skaer and board members Jennifer Whitley, Patrice McKinney, Andrew Browning, Harvey Davis, Melissa Fordyce, Craig Friou, Kurt Keller, Doug Kelly, Florencia Mida, and Chuck Yates.