Chefs, Sommeliers And Bartenders Trade Places For A Suicide Prevention Fundraiser Next Monday

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Updated, 4/28/2016, 10:12 a.m.: Unfortunately, due to the massive rain and flooding in the Houston area, chef Lyle Bento reports this event will have to be rescheduled. 

Have you ever had an annoying co-worker, employee or boss who always seems to have a “helpful” suggestion on how you could do your job better? Alternately, maybe they insinuate that they could do your job.

Well, that’s a pretty common situation in restaurants. The wait staff has ideas on how the kitchen should season dishes or how fast they should be ready. The kitchen staff thinks being a server is much easier than cooking, and so on.

Southern Goods is putting those little ideas to the test during a real night of regular service this Monday, April 18, called “The Tables Have Turned.” There are no tickets for sale and no reservations: just business as usual. Except, of course, it’s not, because bartenders will be cooking and chefs will be servers and bartenders. The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m.

Hilarity and mistakes are bound to ensure, so come dine with a sense of humor. All tips and net profits for the evening will go to a cause that’s painfully relevant to the restaurant industry: the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance of Greater Houston. Over the past few years, more than one Houston restaurant worker has committed suicide, and usually none of their coworkers or family members knew anything was wrong.

Unsuspecting diners who haven’t heard about the event will be warned at the door as to what is going on so they can choose to not participate if they don’t want to. Hopefully they will want to, though, especially after seeing all the noteworthy chefs, sommeliers and bartenders who are participating.

Here’s the list, which reads like a “who’s who” of the Houston restaurant world.

Maître d's

  • J.D. Woodward, chef, Southern Goods
  • Chris Shepherd, chef, Underbelly (Chris was once a sommelier at Brennan’s of Houston so he’s not completely unfamiliar with front-of-house) 

Kitchen Staff

  • Alex Gregg, bar owner/bartender, Moving Sidewalk
  • Chris Frankel, bar owner/bartender, Spare Key
  • Mike Sammons, bar/restaurant owner/sommelier, Mongoose vs Cobra, 13 CelsiusWeights + Measures
  • Evan Turner, restaurant owner/sommelier, Helen Greek Food & Wine
  • Robin or Terry Wong of Blood Bros. Barbecue
  • Matthew Pridgen, sommelier, Underbelly


  • Lyle Bento, chef, Southern Goods
  • Peter Janke, sous chef, Oxheart (who’s a ringer, because he spent years as a bartender at Anvil) 
  • David Cordúa, chef, Churrascos/Amerícas/Artista

Front Of House

  • Patrick Feges, sous chef, Southern Goods
  • Erin Smith, chef
  • Jody Stevens, baker, JodyCakes (Ringer!)
  • Rebecca Masson, pastry chef/shop owner, Fluff Bake Bar
  • Gary Ly, sous chef, Underbelly
  • Adam Garcia, sous chef, Coltivare

Food Runner: Brad Moore, bar owner of Grand Prize Bar, The Honeymoon, Moving Sidewalk, etc.

This is sure to be a fun night—but it might be a good idea to allow a little extra time for dinner! 

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