After their wildly successful Black Tie Boxing charity event last year, restaurateur Ben Berg and former boxing champ Lou Savarese debuted a spinoff tournament called Knock Out Child Abuse. The event, chaired by Ursaline Hamilton and Jordan Seff and benefiting the Children’s Assessment Center, was hosted at The Revaire. Two-dozen amateur boxers, all of whom trained for months under Savarese himself, faced off in 12 three-round fights as fans enjoyed a three-course dinner by B&B Butchers & Restaurant (not to mention caramel-bacon popcorn) ringside. A check for $932K was presented to CAC at the end of the night — and an anonymous guest donated $68,000 to make it a cool $1 mil. Talk about a champion!
Growing with great mentors, such as Travis Torrence, Global Litigation Bankruptcy & Credit Team Lead at Shell, has enabled me to have more confidence in myself, foster meaningful relationships in the community, and sharpen my business acumen. He recruited me to my original firm, Fulbright, and has stuck with me on my journey. He has helped me keep in touch with former colleagues, contacts and friends, which has helped me translate those connections into working opportunities. We both mutually support each other.
And… let’s not forget hard work.
Whom do you credit? Mentors, business partners, my friends. I have a really close group of girlfriends who are in town. Women support women. We always lift each other up, provide contacts, share war stories, and encourage each other.
Also Judge Patricia Kerrigan, Texas State Judge of the Year, provided a lot of insight to me at a young stage in my career. She always encouraged me to stay the course and would continually affirm my natural skills in trial and in the courtroom.
What lessons have you learned that might enlighten and inspire others? Don’t listen to the haters! No one can tell you that you can’t do something. Where there is a will, there is a way; if you really want something, go for it! Don’t let people make you afraid of taking the next step.
Relationships are really everything! Making the effort, staying in touch with former clients, colleagues, introductions, connections are always valuable. Even if they don’t lead to business, you need network support in this industry. Even if that person can’t give you work, they can introduce you to someone who can, write a letter of recommendation, or just provide you with guidance or additional resources.
What’s new in your life or work that you’re excited about? Opening the Houston office of Michelman & Robinson is a huge honor, it is such an amazing opportunity. I have a vision; I am one of those people. You are always vested better in yourself. It’s not a risk because I have the support, and I am happy to charge the new generation of leaders as a “shaleinnelial.”
IT’S HARD TO fathom 37,500 bottles of wine in one restaurant (hello, Mastro’s!) or even the 4,000-plus selections of wine stocked at the original Pappas Bros. Steakhouse on Westheimer. No surprise, both high-end steakhouses garnered the top honor awards by Wine Spectator this year.
Wine Spectator’sannual Restaurant Awards deemed both Houston locales of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, plus the Dallas outpost, with the coveted Grand Award. Mastro’s at the Post Oak Hotel was the only other Houston restaurant to receive top honors, while 20 other Houston restaurants received special honors — all and all, an impressive turnout.
The Pappas family and Tilman Fertitta, whose Landry’s Inc. owns Mastro’s, have repeatedly won the Grand Award, of which there are only 97 recipients across the U.S.
Pappas’ Galleria-area steakhouse has earned the top ranking since 2010, and the Downtown location joined the exclusive group in 2019 and again this year with a “showstopper list,” per the magazine. The original location was hailed for its epic roster of selections, “the largest of the Pappas Bros.’ wine lists.” The Dallas Pappas Bros. has been in the spotlight as the best of the best since 2011 and continues to wow.
Mastro’s at the Post Oak Hotel was noted by Wine Spectator for its selection of 4,000 wines (37,500 bottles) with strength in the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, California, Piedmont, Tuscany, Champagne, Loire and Madiera. Mastro’s has earned the top ranking since 2019, which demonstrates continued excellence from its wine team.
The private dining room at Mastro's
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
In addition to the Grand Award, there are two other levels to Wine Spectator honors. The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. The Best Award of Excellence recognizes those with extensive selections, excellent breadth across multiple regions and significant vertical depth. No question, meticulous planning and execution of the wine menu is noticed, big time.
Houston restaurants earning the Best Award of Excellence include March, Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, Georgia James, Rainbow Lodge, Kiran’s, El Meson and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Receiving the Award of Excellence are Capital Grille, Truluck’s, Bludorn, Rosie Cannonball, Perry’s Steakhouse & Grill on West Gray, Brenner’s Steakhouse on the Bayou, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood on Kirby, State of Grace, Seasons 52, Le Colonial, Morton’s the Steakhouse, and the Oceanaire Seafood Room.
We know where we’ll be taking our wine connoisseur friends!
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HERE’S AN ARTFUL way to stay cool this month. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston rolls out a six-film mini-series The Mathematician Moviegoer on Saturday, July 9, beginning with Giant (1953), George Stevens’ epic if somewhat shambolic celebration of the transformative power of black gold, starring three of 1950s Hollywood’s sexiest actors: Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. (At one point Dean, a dedicated “method” actor, manages to pull off an Oscar-worthy scene with his body completely covered in crude oil.)
All of the films were selected by artist Salle Werner Vaughn, widow of the late Texas philanthropist and oil heir James M. Vaughn, Jr., who was a longtime supporter of the MFAH film department. The series screens in the MFAH’s Brown Auditorium Theater July 9-24, and each film will be introduced by a member of the Houston Film Critics Society.
Taken together, the six films speak to James and Salle’s Texas upbringing, courtship and marriage (Salle and James met and fell in love in the third grade), as well as James’ fascination with puzzles and math.
In 1972, he created the Vaughn Foundation Fund to support research into a mysterious theorem conceived by the 17th-century math enthusiast Pierre de Fermat, a math problem so complex it was deemed unsolvable until the English mathematician Andrew Wiles, inspired by James and his dedication to the field, managed to solve it in 1994 and publish his proof the next year.
Salle and James were also acquainted with the American mathematician John Nash, who lived with schizophrenia and is the subject of Ron Howard’s film A Beautiful Mind (2001) which screens July 17.
The remaining films include A New Leaf, a dark comedy directed by Elaine May, who stars in the film alongside Walter Matthau; Cat Ballou (1965), an over-the-top slapstick western starring Jane Fonda as Catherine “Cat” Ballou, who teams up with a motley crew of barely competent gunslingers to avenge the death of her father; and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic murder-on-a-train mystery The Lady Vanishes (1938), starring Margaret Lockwood and Sir Michael Redgrave.
Jane Fonda as Cat Ballou
Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean in 'Giant'
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