Our events feature established female stars of Houston's food and beverage industry as well as up-and-coming cooks providing mentorship for tomorrow's culinary leadership and uniting all in the name of women's health.
I'll Have What She's Having Benefit Dinner
I’ll Have What She’s Having is a gala event bringing together an all-female cast of veteran chefs, up-and-coming culinarians and beloved industry professionals to create an unprecedented dining experience in Houston. This event will raise funds in support of women’s healthcare with a goal of $1 million and aims to spur the conversation beyond Houston and the entire Gulf Coast region.
Stay tuned for details on the inaugural I’ll Have What She’s Having Fundraiser in the spring of 2018, benefiting Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, a long-term champion for women's health, offering legal and safe abortion, cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and education - all the things that prevent unwanted pregnancy and keep people healthy. Many of our participants are past or current patients of PPGC, an essential primary care provider for employees in the restaurant business across the Bayou City.
Episode 4: Cucina Divas! | Sunday, December 10th
This pop-up series is a pre-cursor to the Spring gala. By consensus, IHWSH selects non-profit organizations that provide women’s health care and raises funds for their use.
For Episode 4, Chef Lynette Hawkins of Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino welcomes Mary Cuclis of Pondicheri and pastry diva Alyssa Dole (formerly of Revival Market and Cherry Pie Hospitality) to her kitchen, and invites 100 lucky individuals to an evening flavored with Mediterranean essence. Chef Lynette is personally pairing wines by her favorite female winemakers to accompany the courses. Funds raised will pay for birth control pills for underinsured women of Houston, addressing challenges for preventing unwanted pregnancy that arose after state funding for family planning was cut from $111 million to $38 million in 2011. Each ticket purchased for this event will fund 2 months of oral contraceptives for an uninsured Texan.
Below, meet the culinary talent presenting this event!
As of November 11 at 10 a.m., Episode 4 is SOLD OUT. Please join our MAILING LIST to be notified of upcoming events.
Chef Lynette Hawkins grew up in Florence, Rome, Paris, Tripoli and London before returning to the States and her new hometown of Houston, at age 19. That grand tour may have been all the culinary inspiration she needed to launch and fuel her lifelong pursuit: the recreation of the favorite dishes of her childhood for her lucky fellow Houstonians. An undergraduate degree in business and several years as a general manager at institutions such as Damian's and Carrabba's provided the finishing and final tools this Cucina Diva needed to open the beloved La Mora (1990-2006) to wide acclaim. After a brief respite, she returned to the restaurant scene in 2009 with Giacomo's Cibo e Vino, to the relief of her loyal fans, including the author of the Houston Chronicle's Top 100 list. Stepping into Giacomo's truly feels like a portal to Tuscany; the sincere warmth of Chef Lynette's hospitality and the authenticity of her menu cannot be matched. I'll Have What She's Having is thrilled at the opportunity to spend more time at the hearth of this legendary hostess and chef.
Mary Cuclis learned to love fresh produce from tending the garden with her Greek grandfather, but her culinary pursuits have been influenced by the encouragement of numerous friends and family. After cooking and sprinting along with Chef Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri for 6 years, she can be found working just as comfortably in the dining room or at a special event as she is in the Kitchen.
In her spare time these days, she occasionally sleeps but mostly pursues the happy smiles of the newest love of her life, 3 month-old Owen Demetrios.
Chef Alyssa wasn't born in Houston, but got here just as soon as she could (6 years old!) and considers herself a native. Her ambitions led her to seek experience in kitchens in Melbourne, Australia; Asti, Italy and Paris, France after she completed her culinary studies at Cookstreet School (Denver, CO 2008). After her return stateside in 2009, she worked at Culinaire before advancing to lead the pastry programs at Corner Table, Coltivare, Revival Market and Cherry Pie Hospitality.
Chef Alyssa's fans have seen her frequently nominated for Best Pastry Chef in Houston, a title awarded to her by the Houston Press in 2015.
A dedicated family member, Alyssa enjoys the ongoing pursuit of work-life balance with her industry pals and her adorable puppy, Izzy.
Sommelier Monica Townsend hails from Madrid, Spain, but has called Houston home for 25 years. She credits Teresa Gonzales, Monsterville Horton IV, Travis Hinkle and Jaime DeLeon with mentoring her wine education, and has been the sommelier at Camerata since last September. When she's not tasting and pouring at Camerata, Monica shares her love of yoga, as a practitioner and instructor with passion and compassion, at Pralaya Yoga Studio, Heights School of Yoga, Yogaleena and Republic Yoga Studio Houston. Monica is proud to join IHWSH in their goals of educating on issues of women's health.