Houston Chefs & Business Owners Are Raising Money For Better Female Health Care

Group shot of the women hosting and taking part in the fundraiser.

Movie lovers know the line “I’ll have what she’s having,” from one of the funniest scenes in “When Harry Met Sally.” In Houston, however, I’ll Have What She’s Having is an all-female organization of chefs, small business owners, restaurant professionals and physicians raising funds to advance local women’s health. Founded by Dr. Lori Choi, who is chef Ryan Pera‘s wife, the non-profit is hosting its inaugural gala on April 8 at Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire. It’s called Something for Everyone, and is “a fundraiser in three acts.”

Proceeds will fund essential women’s health services at Legacy Community Health, Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH), The Rose and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC).

Hosted by Choi, Tracy Vaught, Gracie Cavnar and Mimi Del Grande, the benefit offers three opportunities to support the cause at different price points. More than 30 chefs, 23 wine or spirit specialists and dozens of front of house professionals will participate.

Here’s a breakdown of each event. Note that each is a stand-alone with separate tickets. Participation in one does not gain access to the others.

Amuse Bouche
Guests will have open access to seven cocktail, beer and wine stations, with passed small bites by up-and-coming culinary stars, including Kaitlin Steets (Theodore Rex), Madelyn Lester (Nancy’s Hustle), Mary Cuclis (Pondicheri) and Patricia Burdette. This portion takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. and costs $99 per person.

Al Fresco
Guests can purchase a picnic basket for two people featuring a portable dinner with locally sourced ingredients. (Note that the food is chilled, not hot.) Dishes are crafted by Barbara McKnight (Culinaire), Janice Schindeler (Words and Food) and Claire Smith (Canopy, Alice Blue). The basket includes reusable utensils, plates, shopping bag, mocktails, beer and wine. This option begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $250.

Guests participating in either the Amuse Bouche or Al Fresco portions can also bid on silent auction items.

Charitable Feast
This is a three-course dinner—and the most expensive event of the day—featuring ingredients raised by local farmers. The meal is being prepared by Anita Jaisinghani (Pondicheri), Erin Smith (Feges BBQ), Jamie Zelko (Zelko Concepts), Lynette Hawkins (Giacomo’s) and Monica Pope (Sparrow Cookshop). Sommeliers Vanessa Trevino Boyd and Monica Townsend are pairing the dishes with wines produced by women and women-owned wineries. The banquet reception opens at 5:30 p.m and dinner begins at 6. There is also a live auction starting at 7:30. The cost is $500 per person.

Group photo of chefs preparing food
From the I’ll Have What She’s Having pop up at Coltivare. Left to right: Kate McLean and Erin Smith (Feges BBQ), Karen Man (Public Services Wine & Whisky, OKRA Charity Saloon), Kaitlin Steets (Theodore Rex), Dr. Lori Choi and Layne Cruz (Revival Market). Photo by Cecilia Norman.

The gala comes on the heels of several pop-ups over the last year that have so far raised more than $30,000. The group hosted events at Coltivare, Blue Heron Farm, Underbelly, Giacomo’s and Paulie’s.

Tickets for the events may be purchased online.

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