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Haute Cuisine Evening

BBVA Compass teamed up with the Roca brothers to bring a once-in-a-lifetime event to several cities around the world including Houston and Dallas. The Dallas event took place at the Rachofsky house, which is a modern museum. The Roca brothers are the owners of the famed restaurant El Cellar de Can Roca in Spain. This restaurant was named the number 1 restaurant in the world in 2013 and the number 2 restaurant in 2014. The dinner event began with cocktails and passed appetizers for the first half hour followed by a 3+ hour, 14-course dinner.


Every course was cooked to perfection and paired unique flavors together, such as a fried oyster and watermelon gazpacho. The presentation of each dish was stunning along with the fantastic service. Different sections of the meal were paired with a variety of wines that accompanied the courses perfectly.


Prior to the dessert courses, paper cones that were sprayed with a perfume were given to the guests to smell in preparation for what they were about to eat. This unique way of preparing the nose for what the mouth was about to taste enhanced the entire dining experience.

Texas is extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to host these talented brothers and their staff. Anyone who attended this event will definitely remember it forever.

by Ali Valach HHH intern



To Be Assertive Without
Alienating Your Partner

Aaron Kaplan,
CTA-CC, CDC Certified Divorce Coach®,
Certified Prepare-Enrich Facilitator

Asking for what you want—and setting boundaries around what you don’t want—is a key life skill. But sometimes in our enthusiasm to practice this skill, we over-do our own assertiveness and end up with a partner who shuts down, gets angry or feels resentful. Here are four tips for developing your assertiveness in a way that will actually strengthen, deepen and enrich your relationship—thus avoiding the “alienation trap”:

1. Get Clear.

Being assertive starts with knowing what you are—and aren’t—willing to be, do, or have. For many of us, coming to this knowledge is a real task unto itself. Here, it may be useful to ask: “In an ideal world, what would I like to happen?” Focusing on an ideal outcome opens our minds, prevents us from falling into passivity or “victim-thinking,” and helps us get really clear on what we want and don’t want.

2. Set Boundaries.

Once you know what outcome you need (or want), share it with your partner. Pay attention to the way stating your boundary feels in your body. With practice, you can actually sense when you’re hitting the “sweet spot.” It can feel really pleasurable, even exhilarating, to express your needs or desires out loud. Phrases like “such and such doesn’t work for me” are simple ways of being assertive while maintaining connection with your partner.

3. Make a Regular Habit of Stating Your Needs and Desires.

You can build your assertiveness the same way you build any muscle: exercise. Practice speaking up about your needs, big or small, on a daily basis. When you speak up about things that are less controversial—such as where to go to dinner, requesting help unloading the dishwasher or what TV program to watch—both you and your partner get used to your assertiveness. It becomes easier for you to practice and for your partner to hear. Also, when bigger issues come along, you and your partner will have a healthy process in place for dealing with differences in needs, and you’ll have greater confidence in the resilience of your partnership.

4. Give as Much as You Get.

Assertiveness is a two-way street. If you want your boundaries to be respected, you must return the courtesy to your partner. If you want him to take care of certain tasks or errands, just make a simple request, and ask him when he can realistically get them accomplished. If he asks you to give him a half an hour after work before you talk and connect, respect that. When it comes to following through on a partner’s reasonable request, actions really do speak louder than words.

If your partner isn’t respecting your boundaries even though you’ve set them clearly, it may be time for professional help for you and/or your relationship.

Culinary Institute LeNôtre Sends American
Students to France This Summer

The Culinary Institute LeNôtre partners with the French University “Notre Dame du Roc” and the prestigious Parisian restaurant, “Le Palais Royal” to send its students to France for the summer. Nine students from Culinary Institute LeNôtre in Houston, TX recently returned to Houston after having spent eight weeks on the coast of Vendee region in western France doing a practicum in local restaurants. Two other students are currently doing their externship in the kitchen of the renowned Parisian restaurant “Le Palais Royal”, "the most romantic table in Paris," according to the Zagat website.
“The opportunity to participate in such programs is a fantastic international experience for students early in their college career,” voiced Alain LeNôtre, President of the Culinary Institute. More than forty students have been sent to France to do such externships since 2009. The partnership with Lycée Notre Dame du Roc, located near Nantes in France, was established to do annual exchanges of students and to enable teachers to share professional practices. Alain LeNôtre confirms that “the experience is always extremely positive for everyone and creates wonderful bridges between cultures”. In fact, studying abroad often transforms the student on many levels. It offers an intensive learning experience that helps students acquire the strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness needed to lead and serve in a global society. The students who were in Vendee for 2 months this past summer were immersed in a new environment and gained experience in a new approach to culinary arts. “The techniques are different, the culture is different but there is definitely the same love for food," reported one of the students. That’s not to say that it wasn’t without its challenges. Leaving home for such a long time and experiencing culture shock can be challenging but is almost always rewarding. “I was extremely apprehensive about going on this trip, but now I cannot imagine having any other experience as my externship. I learned so much about myself in the kitchen and in life,” commented another student. The forging of international alliances and international travel and externship programs for students and alumni demonstrates the energy, the connections and the curiosity that exist at Culinary Institute LeNôtre. Apart from developing its French connections, CIL also welcomes international students to the school from all around the world. The international student population at CIL has grown to about 11% of the total school population. This achievement is more than just the successful outcome of our efforts to create an academic environment appropriate for the 21st century; it is also a representation of what is happening in higher education globally. Culinary Institute LeNôtre will expand such partnerships with France in the next few years to give its students even more international opportunities.

The Culinary Institute LeNôtre is the only French owned culinary institute in America, created and founded in 1998 by Alain LeNôtre and his wife, Marie. The college is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) and a part of the World Association of Chefs Societies. It offers Associate of Applied Science Degrees and Diplomas in the culinary arts as well as programs in Hospitality and Management and a Sommelier certificate.

Houston Philanthropy


Mayor Annise Parker with special guest Meredith Burke at the
Mandell Park Renovation Celebration.
Photo by Trish Badger


The Friends of Mandell Park recently unveiled the beautiful transformation of Mandell Park at 1501 Richmond Ave. with a Renovation Celebration featuring Houston Mayor Annise Parker and City of Houston Parks & Recreation Director Joe Turner, along with nearly 200 guests. More than $1 million was raised for its renovation. The “new” Mandell Park includes an expanded organic community garden (Meredith Gardens) with handicap accessible, raised planting beds; a state-of-the-art compost station; the Kathrine G. McGovern/John P. McGovern Foundation meadow bordered by a curving seat wall and tree-lined walkway and Skip’s Shed, a recycled shipping container converted to a garden center in honor of Friends of Mandell Park President Skip Almoney. Almoney introduced several special guests at the dedication, including Houston City Council members Ellen Cohen, Jack Christie and David Robinson, along with Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan. Highlights included a Congressional Certificate presented by a representative from U.S. Congressman Ted Poe’s office and the appearance of Meredith Burke from Austin, the driving force behind Meredith Gardens, who designed the first community garden beds in 1991. “We hope people from all over Houston will come by and see this gem of a city park in an urban area where green space can be at a premium,” says Almoney. “This park has been a long time in the making, and we now see the culmination of the efforts of many volunteers and donors.”

Check our calendar to plan
your social and shopping schedule!

September 25
Daniel Wingate of Escada at Neimans

October 1
Elizabeth Anthony New Store Reveal Runway Show

November 5
Advocate for Art party for the Children's Assessment Center

November 18-21


Fashion Houston 2014 celebrates their 5th anniversary
Confirmed designers for Fashion Houston 2014 include: *Bibhu Mohapatra, Chloe Dao, David
Peck, Fabrice Tardieu, *Grungy Gentleman, Jonathan Blake, Little Black Dress Designer, MCL,
*Naeem Kahn, Poshak, *Rebecca Minkoff, Rene Ruiz, *Rolando Santana, *Rubin Singer, *TIBI,
and *Valentina Kova.
*designers showing at MBFW NYFW September 2014

Tickets for Fashion Houston 2014 go on sale Monday, September 15 for $29 - $299. All Access
VIP ticket upgrades will also be available. Visit FashionHouston.net for more information or to