Kate McLean, Tony Vallone and Donna Vallone were judges at the Corks and Forks event in 2019.

SOME UNDERSTAND THE controlled chaos of a restaurant. Some are curious about what that life looks like — what it takes for a team to execute at a high level — and what it was like to work alongside and learn from one of the best restaurateurs of this era. Tony Vallone, who died a little more than a year ago, for whom I worked several years a while back.

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SPRING WAS REALLY showing off at the mid-March open-air fundraiser at the Ivy Leaf Farms in South Houston — almost as if it were trying to make up for its recent shortcomings. But can you really blame weather? Of course you could, but weather is weather. Weather will never learn to care about us, our travel plans, our comfort, our acres of blueberry bushes. Yet we're all obsessed. Did you hear what weather did? Boy, I wish he'd notice me.

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