More than 160 Houston Ballet patrons gathered at Artisans Restaurant for 8th annual Raising the Barre tasting event. Upon arrival, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour before making their way into the Salon for few brief remarks led by former Houston Ballet Principal Dancer Barbara Bears, who is currently a Ballet Master with the company. As the dinner chimes rang, attendees found their seats to begin the journey through a four-course menu, created especially for this occasion by four of Houston’s top chefs alongside four Houston Ballet company dancers, serving as both the inspiration and sous chefs.
The first course included plantain-crusted rice fritters, black beans and pickled fruit by Nick Fine, Culinary Director of Underbelly Hospitality, and soloist Mónica Gómez. Next was Hama chili with yellowtail, orange, Thai chili and ponzu by Chris Davies, Chef de Cuisine at Uchi, and soloist Harper Watters.
The entrée, created by Artisans’ Owner and CHE Executive Chef Jacques Fox and soloist Hayden Stark, was dubbed “Artisans Tournedos H Stark” and consisted of both steak and seafood with asparagus, Okinawa purple potatoes, carrots puree, lobster butter hollandaise and a raisin demi-glace. The duo developed this dish by looking back on Hayden’s journey as a dancer. “We decided to trace his career and the locations he was able to perform in as well as learn an appreciation for fine foods” said Fox. “Both steak and seafood needed to be on the plate with defined sauces to compliment.”
Fluff Bake Bar’s Owner and Pastry Chef, Rebecca Masson and soloist Tyler Donatelli ended the evening on a sweet note with key lime pie.
The event, chaired by Elizabeth and Charlie Leykum and Elisa and Chris Pye, honored Kristy Bradshaw and Lindsey Brown, founders of Ballet Barre Young Patrons and Raising the Barre, for their continued commitment to the Houston Ballet. The evening exceeded its goal of $80,000 benefitting Houston Ballet’s path in recovering from Hurricane Harvey and Education and Community Engagement programs, which brings the ballet experience to nearly 60,000 students throughout Houston communities. The Cullen Trust for Performing Arts generously matched Hurricane Harvey recovery donations during the event dollar for dollar.