Top Houston Chefs Hosting Special Dinner for Volunteer Medical Expenses

Liz Fenton, in her usual capacity as a volunteer. In this shot, she's helping with the Houston Barbecue Festival.
Liz Fenton, in her usual capacity as a volunteer. In this shot, she's helping with the Houston Barbecue Festival.
Photo by Victoria Ma

Liz Fenton could be called an über foodie. She’s well known in Houston’s restaurant scene for her avid patronage, but has done a lot more than that. She’s helped promote Houston’s food scene by writing articles for local publications as well as volunteering at dozens of public events and fundraisers.

Now, the avid helper of others is in need of her own fundraiser. Fenton has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called transverse myelitis. The condition has been caused by a spinal tumor that is going to require invasive, debilitating surgery to remove. Afterward, she will have to undergo chemotherapy to ensure the tumor does not return.

A fundraiser dinner is planned for Sunday, December 6 at Underbelly. The list of people cooking reads like a Who’s Who of Houston chefs. They include Underbelly’s own James Beard-winning chef Chris Shepherd; multiple-time Beard nominees Hugo Ortega of Hugo's and Justin Yu of Oxheart; talented baker Karen Man, also of Oxheart; Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata; Adam Dorris of Pax Americana; Ryan Pera of Coltivare; Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse and Killen’s Barbecue; and Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of The Pass & Provisions.

The sommelier for the evening is Justin Vann of Public Services Wine & Whisky, who has also been a familiar face at Vic & Anthony's, Central Market and Oxheart. Philip Speer is coming from Austin to make desserts along with Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar.

With this much talent on hand, it's sure to be a night to remember. The recommended donation per person is $300. If that seems high, just remember that you’ll likely never see all those same chefs all cooking in one place at the same time again. It's likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

About half the tickets are already sold, so go to Fluff Bake Bar to purchase as soon as possible. Purchases must be made in cash.

Those who are unable to attend the dinner can donate directly to Fenton’s online fundraiser. To date, the money raised is still almost $20,000 short of the $50,000 needed to cover Fenton’s medical bills and living expenses while she’s out of work for surgery and treatment.

In addition, there will be other food- and drink-oriented fundraisers around town, including a Warm Cocktail Competition that I’m helping judge at The Honeymoon on December 13. A minimum $5 donation will be requested from attendees, to go to Fenton’s medical fund. The competition starts promptly at 6:30 p.m., so get there early to secure a good spot.

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1100 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77006


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