Houston Restaurant Serves James Beard Foundation “Taste America” Virtual Dinner

Lucille’s in Houston is joining 19 other restaurants from across the nation for Taste America, which is a virtual dining event organized by the James Beard Foundation. This special happening is geared toward helping restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation selected the participating restaurants, and the funds raised benefit the foundation’s Open for Good campaign. The event is Sunday, October 18 at 7 p.m. and dinners can be purchased online for $150 per meal. Food must be picked up the day of the event at 5512 LaBranch between 4 and 6 p.m.; guests must be 21 or older to order and pick up a meal kit.

The James Beard Foundation selected prominent chefs to create signature meals for their respective cities. In addition to the meal, the virtual celebration includes “cooking demos and a national broadcast featuring a lineup of James Beard Foundation friends, chefs and special guests” according to the foundation’s website.

Chris Williams, chef and owner of Lucille’s in Houston, is preparing a meal that includes a choice of appetizer and entrée, plus dessert. Options include gumbo z’herbes, which is an alternative to the dark roux-staple that is enriched with winter greens, herbs, ham hock, andouille and shrimp, and Cornish game hen with sweet peas, rice grits, braising jus and chive oil. There are vegetarian alternatives, too, such as stewed okra and tomatoes or stuffed roasted acorn squash. Beverages include wine from dough wine and whiskey from Rabbit Hole.

Chris Williams of Lucille’s in Houston. Photo courtesy of Lucille’s

Willams is no stranger to helping out in times of crisis. After Hurricane Harvey flooded huge swathes of Houston, he was one of hundreds of chefs who cooked for flooding victims and the first responders who rescued them. This April after restaurants were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams founded Lucille’s 1913, a non-profit organization to provide meals for healthcare workers, folks in assisted living facilities and for chef Jose  Andres’ World Central Kitchen. Williams also hosted Vice President Joe Biden in June during his visit in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In August, Williams began hosting pop-ups in Lucille’s spacious patio that help local bars survive during the pandemic-related shutdown. Lucille’s 1913 also kept dozens of restaurant workers employed through its efforts.

The James Beard Foundation does much more than award accolades to chefs, sommeliers, food writers and other hospitality industry professionals. It also works diligently to promote sustainable fisheries and ecologically sound growing practices, eradicate hunger and provide better wages for industry workers. While, Open for Good is dedicated to helping restaurants survive the insecure world of COVID-19.

bowl of gumbo
One of the signature appetizers at Lucille’s, the Gumbo Z’herbes, is on the Taste America menu. Photo courtesy of Lucille’s

The Lucille’s Taste America menu:

Appetizer

Gumbo Z’Herbes with ham hock, andouille, shrimp and potato salad
or
Stewed Okra and Tomatoes with roasted corn, gold rice and fresh herbs

Entrée

Roasted Cornish Hen with sweet peas, rice grits, braising jus, and chive oil
or
Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with romesco and seasoned bread crumbs served with collard greens, kuchela (a Trinidadian relish), pomegranate and quinoa

Dessert

Croissant Bread Pudding

Beverages

dough Pinot Noir 2019, courtesy of dough Wines

Rabbit Hole Whiskey, courtesy of Rabbit Hole Distillery

This menu will be available Sunday, October 18 at 7 p.m. and can be purchased online for $150 per meal.


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