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Houstonians Gather to Combat Hunger and End Food Waste

The 15th International Risotto Festival raises over $135,000 to benefit Second Servings of Houston

Photo Credit: Daniel Ortiz

The Celebration

The luxurious Houston Design Center hosted the 15th International Risotto Festival on Sunday, November 14, 2021 to benefit Second Servings of Houston, the city’s prepared and perishable food rescue organization, with the mission to fight hunger and end food waste. Tom Segesta, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Houston, and Robin Segesta served as the Risotto Festival honorary chairs. Second Servings’ most dedicated volunteers, Jennifer Greenberg, Tony Greisinger, and Fran Zandstra served as the event chairs. KPRC’s Rose-Ann Aragon emceed the event.

The Story

Over 725 guests came together to celebrate food and stroll the venue’s immaculate grounds visiting chef stations and enjoying tastings of risotto and fine wines. Italian music and entertainment, exotic cars on display, and family-friendly activities were also the order of the vibrant afternoon. Participants were treated to risotto dishes from Dillon Kao of Ol’ Railroad Café, Matt Zoch of Prego, Alessandro Scarafile of Roma Ristorante, and Scotty Campbell of Sweet Marie. VIP ticket holders and event sponsors had exclusive access to the VIP Lounge at Leisure Collections where they sipped premium wines and sampled unique vintages like Fontanafredda Barolo 2001, 2004 and 2007 and signature desserts from Common Bond Bistro & Bakery.

The Moments

In a competition for the ages, eight of Houston’s top chefs vied for the title of Best Risotto Dish. First place went to two-time champion Maurizio Ferrarese of Alba Ristorante at Hotel Granduca for his creamy saffron risotto with black truffles and short rib. Second place was given to Chef Angelo Cuppone of Concura for his pumpkin risotto, and Third place was bestowed on Chef Artem Orlovskyy of La Table for his lobster risotto with a lobster bisque reduction. Dylan Longaker of Hess received honorable mention for his sweet risotto dish with butternut squash, cream, and cinnamon.

The successful event raised over $135,000 to benefit Second Servings of Houston.

Event Sponsors: BHW Capital, THORNTREE, Virginia Hoops & Lloyd Doggett, Evolution Brands, Wells Fargo Advisors, Fran Zandstra,  British International School of Houston, Dream Charters/Fuel Up,  Charter Title Co, Chicago Title Commercial, David Toy Law Firm, MLB Capital Partners, Prosperity Bank, Texas Capital Bank, Modern Interiors Luxury Texas, Hotel Granduca, Houston Design Center, Mercuria Energy, Houston Magazine, LGI,  Leisure Collections, MAI, Teri Pugh Interiors, WTSO, Rombauer Vineyards, GLF Wines Marchelle Wines, Acqua Panna/San Pellegrino, Peroni, Common Bond, Edible Houston, and Grizaffi Coffee.


Guests: Misty and Jeff Lindenberger; Terry and Fred Baca; Martin Bronstein and Second Servings Founder and President, Barbara Bronstein; Robin and Tom Segesta; The Honorable Federico Ciattaglia, Consul General of Italy; Karina and Carlos Barbieri; Carol and R.O. Hunton; Heidi and Nick Rockecharlie; Bette and Ralph Thomas; Nikki and Matt Ranzinger; Tammy and Jon Buchanan; Kristen and Tim Delgado; Jodie and David Stocker; Margaret and Isaac Ibrahim; Michele and Ron Laroe; Marian Azer; Daniel Zalman; Janine K. Iannarelli; Chris and Aston Joseph; Pamela O’Brien; Edward Sanchez; Martha Adger; James Madget; and Marilyn and Michael Smith.

About Second Servings of Houston

Second Servings is Houston’s only prepared and perishable food rescue organization. Established in 2015, the nonprofit redirects unserved and unsold food from retailers, sports venues, distributors, hotels, and so on to the people who really need it in shelters, soup kitchens, low-income housing, and other charities. Its missions is to alleviate hunger and reduce waste in Houston by rescuing perfectly edible surplus food and delivering it directly to local charities.

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