These two pals will be cooking a big dinner at Georgia James.

Tickets go sale at noon today for the spring spinoff of one of Houston's biggest food events.

Southern Smoke Spring, which chef Chris Shepherd launched this year, will bring some big names into Houston to support an emergency relief fund for people in the food and beverage industry.

The original Southern Smoke Festival, which last October raised more than $425,000, is set over one day near Shepherd's concepts BlacksmithHay Merchant, and Georgia James. This vernal festival includes multiple events over five days (April 14-18), and names like Jamie Malone, Chris Cosentino, Jamie Bissonnette, and Aaron Franklin are lined up to take part.

Here's what's on tap:

  • April 14: Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin will join Shepherd and the Georgia James kitchen crew in creating a steak dinner for paid guests ($350 per person, 6:30-9:30 p.m.). The dinner includes a signed copy of Franklin's new book Franklin Steak.
  • April 15: Chef Jamie Malone of the Grand Café and Eastside Restaurant in Minneapolis will take over the kitchen at UB Preserv on April 15 ($200 per person, 6:30-9:30 p.m.). The three-time James Beard Best Chef Midwest semifinalist will showcase her modern French takes at Shepherd's neighborhood spot.
  • April 16-17: Southern Smoke is donating 44 Farms beef to restaurants across the city for a special steak night. Those restaurants include ColtivareHugo'sUchiXochiThe Pass and ProvisionsBrennan's of HoustonIndianolaKata Robata, and the Original Ninfa's on Navigation, among others.
  • April 17-18: Dave Arnold of Existing Conditions in New York City will take over the bar at UB Preserv. Expect innovative cocktails from his laboratory Booker and Dax.
  • April 18: A finale dinner with Jamie Bissonnette (James Beard winner of Boston's Toro and Coppa) and Chris Cosentino (San Francisco's Cockscomb, Portland's Jackrabbit) at One Fifth Mediterranean ($250 per person, 6:30 p.m.).

For tickets and information, visit

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