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Houston Chefs and Local Group Host Potluck Fundraiser to Support Reproductive Rights

Each chef will use their culinary talents to raise money in the name of reproductive rights

A bacon cheeseburger doused in jalapeno sauce.
Brasil will donate all proceeds made from its “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”
Kirsten Gilliam

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a host of Houston chefs and restaurant industry leaders are throwing a potluck event in hopes of raising money and awareness for reproductive rights.

Hosted at restaurant Brasil this Friday, July 1, chefs including Blacksmith pastry chef Christina Au, Brasil’s executive chef AJ Ede, Underground Creamery’s Josh Deleon, Dani Taylan of La Niña Blanca Mezcaleria, and former Underbelly Hospitality chef Nick Wong will sling out a host of their own creations — donating all sales to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. Have a Nice Day HTX, a BIPOC-led collective, will also sell merchandise at the event, which will begin at 11 a.m. and end at sell-out.

Items for sale include:

  • Brasil will serve up executive chef AJ Ede’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” a Double 44 Farms beef patty on a potato roll that’s topped with bacon, cheddar, pickles, and a jalapeno sauce for $14.50.
  • Brasil’s general manager Beryl Fergus will mix up her vodka-based strawberry basil lemonade cocktail, which is made with strawberry and basil syrups and fresh lemon juice, available for $9 by the glass or $25 for a carafe.
  • Blacksmith pastry chef Christina Au will offer her $7 peachy pie, a decadent combination of peaches and nectarines with an oat crumble, and a gooey $7 chocolate pecan pie.
  • Underground Creamery’s Josh Deleon will offer scoops of his $8 sweet corn ice cream topped with a cinnamon streusel and a blueberry sauce compounded with orange juice, zest, mint, and local wildflower honey.

Brasil’s general manager Beryl Fergus said the idea to host the potluck stemmed from the restaurant’s fundraising event for Planned Parenthood last September. The restaurant sold beer and Ede’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” — its most popular item — and made more than $4,000. After the Supreme Court announced its decision on June 24 to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, it made sense to do the fundraiser again, Fergus said — again choosing Planned Parenthood as the beneficiary for its access to lawyers and other resources.

“It’s something we know and is proven to be successful, and we wanted other people in the community to join in because it’s devastating,” Fergus, 23, says. “It’s something that if you were paying attention, you knew was a real possibility, but it also feels so backward.”

A flier that details the items being sold at the potluck fundraiser.
A group of Houston chefs and a local collective are throwing a “potluck” fundraiser from which proceeds will be donated to the Gulf Coast Planned Parenthood.

Ede says the recent news inspired him to call every chef or group he knew to support the event, which is how Have a Good Day HTX got involved.

“Everyone is coming straight out of their pocket, and the support they’re showing to women is incredible,” Ede says.

Au, 30, says being able to share and hear other people’s feelings and thoughts drove home how important this initiative is.

“We needed to be a part of it,” says Au. “We can’t be feeling sorry for ourselves or keeping our thoughts to ourselves. We want to make sure to show people that it’s not okay, and we have the platform for it. We’re talented individuals, and if people are watching what we’re doing, we can show them what we stand for.”

But this isn’t the end for the crew, Fergus and Ede say they’re intent on figuring out the next steps. For now, “we’re showing we’re not alone in this, and we’re going to keep fighting,” Au says.

Ede agrees. “This isn’t going to go away just because we have this event, but we wanted to react fast and quick,” Ede says. “I can’t imagine feeling as alone as some people do. We want to make people feel less alone, and we’re all much sharper and clear-headed about what to do next if we have and feel the support.”

This article will be updated.