Popular culinary event to raise monies for BEAR & Houston’s CPS Kids

HOUSTON, TX (October 21, 2019) – Fans of fine food and wine are cordially invited to attend one of Houston’s finest culinary festivals. The 14th International Risotto Festival will be held on Sunday, November 10 from 2 to 6 pm at The Houston Design Center. One of Houston’s finest gourmet food festivals, this event includes an afternoon of delicious Italian foods prepared by some of Houston’s greatest chefs along with fantastic wines PLUS music and entertainment, exotic cars, a charity auction, activities for kids and VIP book signing with acclaimed Chef Chris Shepherd.

Some of Houston’s top chefs will be competing in this year’s competition including Danieal Berg – b.b.italiaScotty Campbel – BertazzoniNat Campbell – Chef de La VieFrancisco Casetta – Casetta CateringAngelo Cuppone – RomaFadi Dimassi – Fadi’s Mediterranean GrillMaurizio Ferrarese – Ristorante Cavour at Hotel GranducaNick Fine – Underbelly HospitalityPatrick Guererra – The Art InstituteDillon Kao – Ol’ Railroad CafeBrandi Key – Alice BlueJeff Samoska – Local Group BrewingLulzim Shimaj – 51fifteen Cuisine & CocktailsLaura Taylor – Bisou Continental CuisineJohnny Wesley – Poitin Bar & Kitchen, and Ja’Nel Witt – Sonoma in the Heights.

This year The International Risotto Festival will benefit BEAR…Be A Resource for CPS KidsBEAR is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides hope and help for abused and neglected children and the caseworkers who protect them within Harris County. Each year approximately 16,000 children are involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) in Harris County. Unfortunately, more than 1,000 of these children are removed from their homes under emergency conditions. When these kids are placed in temporary care, the small stipend the County is able to provide may not cover all of the child’s expenses. Some expenses such as hygiene items, clothing, school supplies, “extras” like holiday gifts and funds to set up a kid graduating from high school are a real stretch for some families. This is where BEAR steps in…BEAR’s programs serve children in the care of CPS throughout Harris County by providing emergency supplies: diapers, clothes, shoes, car seats and cribs, formula, school uniform/supplies, and more. BEAR even provides items needed for youth who are graduating from high school and transitioning out of CPS care.

Honorary Chair of The 14th International Risotto Festival is The Texas Business Travel Association, a premier professional trade organization providing a forum for the exchange of ideas between managers of corporate travel, travel industry suppliers, and regulatory agencies. Through TBTA’s Community Outreach Program, TBTA provides contributions of financial support and hands-on volunteerism to significantly impact a local organization. It is because of the commitment of organizations like TBTA that local non-profits like ours are able to provide necessary services to our great city. Specifically, for BEAR, a partnership with TBTA allows BEAR to provide over 25,000 services annually to abused and neglected children throughout Harris County. These services include but are not limited to providing car seats, cribs, and air mattresses to children during the holidays. BEAR is proud to be able to not only partner with TBTA, but to highlight and honor this fantastic organization at this year’s International Risotto Festival.

With over 50 years collectively in the restaurant business, event chairs Brandi Key, Kelly Laudadio and Jorge Valencia are serving as the chairs for the 14th International Risotto Festival…but that is not all they serve! Together, they make up LMN Hospitality, a company that does it all: in-home private dining, cocktail parties, cooking classes, backyard parties, event planning, and restaurant consulting. Brandi, Kelly and Jorge are powerhouse team that exude just as much passion in the kitchen as they do in the Houston community.

Sponsors of The 14th International Risotto Festival include Thorntree Natural Stone & Fine Porcelain, Tammy Bateman Realtors, Ernst & Young, LMN Hospitality, Riso Scotti, British International School of Houston, Peroni Italy, Modern Luxury Interiors Texas, Prosperity Bank, Modern Luxury Houston, Edible Houston, Kathe Baker Interiors, Christi & Dean Quinn, Kitchen & Bath Concepts, LGI Oriental Rugs, Leisure Collections, Teri Pugh Studio, Alquimista Cellars, Flora Springs and Tea & Coffee America.

Advance Tickets are now on sale until November 9th and may be purchased online at for $100 per person or $225 for VIP tickets. Children under 12 are free. VIP will have access to the Thorntree VIP Lounge where you can meet James Beard Award-winning Chef Chris Sheperd who will be signing his newly launched book “Cook Like a Local” mingle with participating sponsors, chefs and judges, sip fine wine and enjoy a fine selection of signature bites, coffees & desserts.

The International Risotto Festival was founded in 2000 and has a rich history as a true culinary competition for a good cause. More than 75 of Houston’s finest chefs have competed to help raise more than a $600,000 for local charities in the 12 productions of the festival that date.

For more information and to purchase tickets please visit or call 713-864-2660.