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Chefs From Gone-But-Not-Forgotten *17 Restaurant Plan a Reunion Dinner for Harvey Relief

Pastry chef Otto Sanchez is getting the gang back together

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Ralph Smith Studios will host the dinner.
Ralph Smith

The team that worked together at award-winning restaurant *17 in downtown Houston from 2004 to 2009 was close-knit. So close-knit that when executive pastry chef of La Table Otto Sanchez got the idea to stage a *17 reunion with his fellow alumni to fundraise for Hurricane Harvey relief, his old team members more than answered the call.

So 14 members of the *17 kitchen team will cook a one-night-only dinner on October 1 to benefit those affected by the hurricane. Tickets for *17 Reunites for Relief will run $150 per person and can be purchased here. The seven-course dinner with pairings will be held at Ralph Smith’s Studios in Bellaire.

Miner Family Wines, Victory Wine Group and Saint Arnold Brewing Co will donate alcohol, and there will be a silent auction with luxury items and dining experiences. Funds raised from the dinner will go to Southern Smoke, a nonprofit providing emergency assistance funds to those in Houston’s hospitality community affected by the storm.

Photo: Ralph Smith

“*17 was a very special restaurant at a very special time,” Sanchez said in a press release. “There was something in the air, or the water, that gave us all this opportunity to practice our craft, in an audacious fashion, and we all found our culinary voices. We also made lifelong friendships that have stood the test of time.”

The *17 alumni getting back together for the charity dinner now hail from all corners of the country, from Denver to NYC. Locals besides Sanchez include Ryan Pera, chef and owner of Coltivare and its sister restaurants (and former *17 executive chef) and owner of Fluff Bake Bar Houston Rebecca Masson. Pera and Masson are co-chairing the dinner. *17 graduates like chef and owner of Theodore Rex and Better Luck Tomorrow Justin Yu, culinary director of Adair Concepts Joseph Stayshich, and The Grove executive sous chef Ernesto Villarreal are also onboard. See all the chefs who will be at the reunion here.

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