Star Chefs Twirl into Hottest Restaurant in Town for Record-Breaking Ballet Fundraiser

Maria Lowrey, Connor Walsh and Lindsey Brown

AS IS THE case with many fundraisers this spring, the Houston Ballet’s Raising the Barre event returned after a pandemic hiatus for a record-breaking night.


Montrose mega-hot-spot Bludorn — decked out by Bergner and Johnson with bright springtime florals — played host for the evening. Four of the city’s most beloved chefs were paired with four Houston Ballet dancers to create a four-course culinary experience for 150 guests.

The first course, prepared by Kata Robata’s Chef Hori and Ballet soloist Mackenzie Richter — who helped inspire the dish, and also served as sous chef — was sashimi, sushi and Japanese-style braised octopus with wasabi. Chris Shepherd worked with demi soloist Chae Eun Yang to prepare his famous Korean braised goat and dumplings with Korean Ssam. Inspired by demi soloist Naazir Muhammad’s African background, Bludorn’s exec chef Aaron Bludorn crafted the entrée of blackened grouper with djolof rice, tamarind, black garlic and eggplant.

And to cap off the delicious evening, Fluff Bake Bar’s Rebecca Masson and first soloist Chris Coomer served up a Pavlova of rhubarb, raspberry, pistachio and caramelized white chocolate. Sweet!

This year’s Raising the Barre enjoyed a matching-gift pledge by the Jerry C. Dearing Family Foundation, which brought the total to $150,000 and made it the most successful ever!

Rob and Corinne Davis, Maria and John Stavinoha

Aaron Bludorn and Naazir Muhammad

Marc and Duyen Nguyen

Amy Pincu and Lilly Harrison

Mackenzie Richter with her and Chef Hori's first course

Beth Muecke, Charles Yoshiyama and Jaquel Charlesworth

Lauren Anderson and Jennifer Sommers

Billy and Dina Whitaker

Kamilah Todd, Kelli Comiskey and Elizabeth Abels

Chris Shepherd and Chae Run Yang

Jim Nelson, Mackenzie Richter, Reggie and Leigh Smith

Rebecca Mason and Chris Coomer with their dessert

Fady Armanious and Kristy Bradshaw

Dannika Simpson, Mike Hawkins and Liliana Soltero

Aaron Bludorn and Naazir Muhammad

Harrison and Lilly Cullen, Amy and Jordan Pincu

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