WHAT: Houston Botanic Garden Botanical Beginnings Luncheon
WHERE: River Oaks Country Club
Nearly 500 friends of the Houston Botanic Garden (HBG) gathered at the River Oaks Country Club for the organization’s fourth annual Botanical Beginnings Luncheon celebrating the garden’s Edible Garden. The luncheon raised over $580,000 in support of Houston Botanic Garden’s mission to enrich life through discovery, education and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.
HBG’s President and General Counsel, Claudia Gee Vassar, welcomed excited guests to the ballroom for a specially curated lunch by Chef Hugo Ortega and Chef Charles Carroll, featuring a duck carnitas salad paired with a delicious yellow tomato gazpacho and finishing with a tropical coupe. Soon after, Claudia invited Board Chairman Nancy O’ Connor Abendshein and Advisory Council member Bass Wallace to the stage. The pair spoke eloquently about inaugural honoree Nancy S. Thomas, who had the initial vision to create a world class botanic garden in Houston. Nancy Thomas spoke briefly to express her gratitude, and to encourage everyone to dream big.
Afterwards, guests were treated to an engaging walkthrough of the Houston Botanic Garden from Elizabeth Swift Copeland, event connoisseur and owner of Swift + Company. Upon the way, James Beard winner Chef Hugo Ortego and Chef Charles Carroll of River Oaks Country Club joined Copeland for a live cooking demonstration. Attendees watched in awe as the chefs prepared refreshing margaritas and fresh ceviche in entertaining fashion.