The Wine Conference: Say Cheese!

The Italian Cultural Center was fit to bursting on Saturday afternoon with wine and food lovers from across the city. The sold-out Wine Conference featured sessions, classes and tastings with wine experts such as Gary Vaynerchuck as well as an outdoor food and wine expo with some of Houston's and Texas's favorite restaurants and wineries.

Some drama came early in the afternoon when Chef Robert Gadsby -- recently of Bedford and currently unemployed -- was a no-show for the expo. Although conference organizer Geri Druckman had just spoken with Gadsby three days prior (he was in Japan at the time), he was unable to reach the chef for a final confirmation in the days leading up to the conference. Gadsby never showed, nor did he call to apologize or explain his absence. This latest move has fueled further speculation that Gadsby doesn't plan on returning to Houston at all, instead making a go of it in another city -- or perhaps another country.

Luckily, local barista and co-owner of Tuscany Coffee David Buehrer was attending the conference and happened to have all his equipment on hand from a catering gig earlier in the day. Buehrer churned out crowd-pleasing espressos and lattes from the spot which Gadsby would have occupied, a win-win for guests and the conference.

For more photos from the afternoon's event, feast on our slideshow.

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Katharine Shilcutt