A consortium of Houston chefs and hospitality professionals have joined forces to raise money and awareness of women’s health issues in support of Planned Parenthood and reproductive justice.
More than 20 of the city’s most prominent chefs, restaurateurs, and industry professionals have formed I’ll Have What She’s Having, including founder Monica Pope, Pondicheri’s Anita Jaisinghani, Karen Man (formerly of Oxheart) and pastry chef Victoria Dearmond. Throughout the coming months, the group will host a series of pop-up dinners and a gala that will raise funds for Planned Parenthood.
“Since most restaurant workers are uninsured, our participants feel this cause in a very personal way. I myself have been uninsured for many periods in my life, and many of my friends currently depend on Planned Parenthood and other funded clinics for affordable, high quality care,” said Pope in a statement. “I cannot and will not believe that these devastating trends will persist when we make it clear how widespread the effects of the problem are and just how many Texans are against them. With a grass-roots effort to educate participants and supporters, IHWHS believes the course of women’s health can be changed to save countless numbers of lives.”
The group also hopes to raise awareness of the “ever-dwindling” availability of affordable women’s healthcare, especially for restaurant professionals. In a “manifesto” of sorts, I’ll Have What She’s Having notes that they are “concerned” by challenges to Roe v. Wade, the 20-week abortion ban that is under consideration by the United States House of Representatives, and increasing rates of unintended pregnancy and maternal death during childbirth.
I’ll Have What She’s Having has already hosted two events in Houston, one at Coltivare and another at Blue Heron Farm in Field Store, Texas. In November, current employees and restaurant alumni will take over Underbelly to raise money for well-woman exams provided to uninsured patients by Legacy Community Health. Each ticket purchased for December’s event at Chef Lynette Hawkins’ Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino will, according to a representative for the group, pay for two months of oral birth control pills.
The next I’ll Have What She’s Having pop-up is planned for Underbelly on November 5. Tickets are currently on sale for $60.