LeNôtre Culinary Institute Gala’s Champagne & Chocolat

By Jennifer Roosth        Photography by Kim Coffman

THE SCENE: Over 200 of Houston’s philanthropic leaders gathered for a Valentine’s Day evening of giving at the River Oaks Country Club to support the culinary arts at this year’s Champagne & Chocolate Gala to support the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship Fund. The evening was a cocktail red-tie Parisian-themed affair filled with elegance, romance and philanthropy; featuring a champagne reception, epicurean dinner, the French Can-Can Show, and a dessert buffet of endless petit-fours. Party guests enjoyed more than 1,000 chocolates, 500 macarons, 400 pastries, and 25 dancers-and-heart centerpieces made out of delicate pastillage.

THE VIBE: Guests were wined and dined, then danced the night away to live music performed by Bubba and Greg and enthusiastically participated in the live and silent auction. Margaret Alkek Williams received the 2017 Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship Ambassador Award for her exemplary philanthropic leadership and outstanding contributions to the scholarship fund which Marie LeNôtre founded and serves as president.

THE CAUSE: The powerhouse gala committee included Honorary Chairs Anne and John Mendelsohn, Co-Chairs Kelli Cohen Fein and Mary Ann McKeithan. The 2017 Champagne & Chocolat Gala rose close to $250,000 for deserving culinary arts students through the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship Foundation. Since 2001, the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship, a non-profit organization, has awarded close to $1 million in tuition scholarships to support high quality education in the culinary arts and to assist students in securing a rewarding career in the hospitality industry.