top of page

Chocolate, Champagne, and Cancan Come Together for the Ultimate Valentine’s Day Celebration

The Culinary Institute LeNôtre held its annual Champagne & Chocolate Scholarship Galaon February 14

Photo Credit: Culinary Institute LeNôtre

General Editor: Margaret MacMillan

Publisher: Connie Kwan-Wong

The Celebration

The 2020 Champagne & Chocolate Scholarship Gala, hosted by The Culinary Institute LeNôtre (CIL), was held at the River Oaks Country Club. Now in its nineteenth year, the singular soirée, which benefits the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship Foundation, was chaired by Marie and Alain LeNôtre. This year’s honorary chairs were Mignon and Stephen Gill and Margaret Alkek Williams. Joana Tagaropulos, the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship Ambassador, was the evening’s honoree.

The Story

The black-tie event was attended by Houston’s most esteemed Francophiles, who were treated to anexquisite dinner prepared by River Oaks Country Club Executive Chef, Charles Carroll. The delicious dessert offerings, created by the CIL pastry department, consisted of a spectacular buffet of macarons, bon bons, and petit fours. 


The Moments

A flamboyant performance by professional French Cancan dancers opened the Gala. Silent and live auctions followed. Two of the most sought-after items were a sunset cruise for 15 on Bill King’s yacht and a week-long stay at the LeNôtre’s beach villa in Pietrosella, France. As well, two CIL alumni auctioned off their catering services for a private party of eight. And, as if the above weren’t enough, spectacular chocolate centerpieces and heart-shaped chocolate boxes, crafted by CIL students and chefs, were also auctioned off.

The gala was a tremendous success, raising over $150,000 for the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship Foundation.


About the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship

The Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, which raises funds for tuition scholarships to provide hands-on training to deserving students aspiring to a rewarding career in the culinary arts. Tuition scholarships are awarded to students based on financial need as well as academic and professional merit. The Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship has awarded close to $1 million to deserving culinary students since 2001. Its worthy efforts support high quality education in the culinary arts and help students realize their dreams of achieving a rewarding career in the hospitality industry.

bottom of page