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*17 Reunites for Relief

  • Ralph Smith Studios 5226 Elm Street Houston, TX, 77081 United States (map)

For years, *17 was the beautiful, award-winning restaurant at what was then the Alden Hotel (now the Sam Houston) in Downtown Houston. Taking its name from a century-old description of Houston as a city where “17 railroads meet the sea” the restaurant sought to bring top-notch service to locals and guests of the boutique hotel. Chef Ryan Pera served as executive chef of the restaurant from 2005 to 2008 and helped cultivate a superb team of professionals who have since gone on to develop their culinary careers around the world, from opening James Beard Award-winning restaurants to stints on national TV.

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Fourteen members of the 17* kitchen team spanning from 2004 to 2009 will reunite on October 1st for a one-night-only dinner to benefit those affected by the hurricane.

*17 Reunites for Relief will be held at Ralph Smith’s Studios in the Bellaire neighborhood. Smith has generously donated the space and the chefs are all donating their time. Miner Family Wines, Victory Wine Group and Saint Arnold Brewing Co. are donating the wine and beer for the evening and a silent auction will feature rare and coveted items as well as luxury culinary experiences donated from across Texas and beyond. Funds raised from the dinner will go to Southern Smoke, a nonprofit which this year is providing emergency assistance funds to those in Houston’s hospitality community affected by the storm.

The alumni returning for the *17 Reunites for Relief dinner include:

Stefan Bowers
Then: Line Cook
Now: Owner/Executive Chef, Rebelle, Feast and Battalion, San Antonio

Berenice De Araujo
Then: Line Cook
Now: Culinary Director, John Fraser Restaurants: Dovetail, NIX, Narcissa, The Loyal, New York City

Shaun Thompson Duffy
Then: Sous Chef
Now: Owner/Baker, Culture Breads, Spokane, Washington

Garrett Eagleton
Then: Line Cook
Now: Private Chef, New York City

Gabe Goddell
Then: Line Cook
Now: Assistant Culinary Director, Kitchen Bistros, Denver

Tracie Hartman
Then: Sous chef
Now: Executive chef of the Beauchamp Athletic Nutrition Center at Baylor University

Rebecca Masson
Then: Pastry Chef
Now: Owner, Fluff Bake Bar, Houston

Stew Navarre
Then: Line Cook
Now: Corporate Chef, Food Services of America — Seattle

Kimmo Meronen
Then: Line Cook
Now: Chef de cuisine, Lolita, Portland, Maine

Ryan Pera
Then: Executive Chef
Now: Chef/Owner, Coltivare, Revival Market, Eight Row Flint, Houston

Otto Sanchez
Then: Pastry Chef
Now: Executive Pastry Chef, La Table

Joseph Stayshich
Then: Sous Chef
Now: Culinary Director, Adair Concepts, Houston

Ernesto Villareal
Then: Intern
Now: Executive Sous Chef, The Grove, Houston

Justin Yu
Then: Line Cook
Now: Chef/Owner Theodore Rex, Better Luck Tomorrow, Houston