The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) welcomed two leading culinary leaders to headline three fundraising events raising nearly $500,000 in support of VNA’s programs, Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care.
Chef Chris Williams, Founder/Owner of Lucille’s Hospitality Group, delighted nearly 200 guests with cocktails and delicious bites created from recipes inspired by his Houston restaurant, Lucille’s, and prepared by The Food Company. Guests arrived at the VNA Haggerty Kitchen for a tour through VNA’s commercial kitchen and enjoyed the cocktail event on the patio. Chef Williams shared more about his passion for his most recent endeavor — the nonprofit he founded Lucille’s 1913 — which works to combat food insecurity and waste; creates training and employment opportunities in traditionally under-resourced neighborhoods; and empowers communities to discover a self-sustainable livelihood through food. To date, Chef Williams and the Lucille’s 1913 team have provided more than 350,000 meals to Houstonians in need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Event Co-Chairs, Jordan and Marty Brainerd and Katherine and Ken Bullock, provided leadership and vision for this spring-inspired event held on the evening of Thursday, March 24, 2022.
Award-winning food journalist and cookbook author, Toni Tipton-Martin served as the celebrity guest for the 12th Annual Celebrity Chef luncheon and dinner held on March 30, 2022. Co-Chairs of the event, Kersten Rettig and Clark Knippers, welcomed 250 guests during the day’s festivities
Kersten also served as emcee sharing stories alongside Ms. Tipton-Martin as she shared her vision and passion for African American culinary heritage. Guests enjoyed a gourmet, four-course feast prepared and served by The Food Company utilizing recipes from Ms. Tipton-Martin’s latest book, Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking, which brings to life 125 dishes from the African American cookbooks in her rare collection through breath-taking photography and engaging storytelling. Jubilee is a James Beard Award winner, earned the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Book of the Year Award, and was named one of the “Cookbooks You Need for 2020” by The New York Times. Guests received a copy of Jubilee as a parting gift and thanks for generous support of VNA.
The Wills Family was honored at the event for their many years of generous financial support and volunteer commitment to the VNA mission. Paula and Charles Wills represented the family at the luncheon.
About Chris Williams
Chef Chris Williams has made a name for himself serving up well-refined Southern food with international infusions at his nationally celebrated Museum District restaurant Lucille’s in Houston — opened as a tribute to his great grandmother and culinary pioneer Lucille B. Smith. Nearly a decade in the making, the namesake restaurant has since morphed into Lucille’s Hospitality Group — a culmination of concepts that channel the matriarch’s historic ingenuity. Williams’ most recent endeavor, nonprofit Lucille’s 1913, mimics the ethos of his restaurant group and its namesake, functioning as a conscious community collective building a vertically integrated ecosystem to combat food insecurity and waste; creating training and employment opportunities in traditionally under-resourced neighborhoods; and empowering communities to discover a self-sustainable livelihood through food. To date, Chef Chris and the Lucille’s 1913 team have provided more than 350,000 meals to Houstonians in need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Williams was most recently named to Bon Appetit’s inaugural “Heads of the Table” Awards List, which honors the trailblazing, community-building, future-making leaders changing the restaurant industry.
About Toni Tipton-Martin
Toni Tipton-Martin is a culinary journalist and author using cultural heritage and cooking to build community. She is Editor in Chief of Cook’s Country by America’s Test Kitchen, a PBS television show host, a two-time James Beard Award winner for her books on African American cooking, and she recently was awarded the prestigious Julia Child Award, given to an individual (or team) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.