Two-week food event to bring chefs from across U.S. to Heights venue

The Heights event will take place from Aug. 21 through Sept. 5 at the new Heights House Hotel on Cavalcade Street. (Courtesy Indie Chefs)
The Heights event will take place from Aug. 21 through Sept. 5 at the new Heights House Hotel on Cavalcade Street. (Courtesy Indie Chefs)

The Heights event will take place from Aug. 21 through Sept. 5 at the new Heights House Hotel on Cavalcade Street. (Courtesy Indie Chefs)

Tickets are on sale now for a new two-week food-focused event that will bring chefs to the Houston Heights from all over the U.S.

Dubbed Commune, the event is being put on by Indie Chefs, a group founded in 2017 by Heights resident and Houston native Grover Smith with the goal of building a stronger, more equitable chef community. The group has hosted weeklong traveling events in the past, but Smith said the upcoming Heights event is larger in scale and serves as a reunion for the chefs who participated in past events to bring people back together after a difficult 15 months for the restaurant industry.

"It went from this reunion of sorts to realizing that I might have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something where we can all set up with all the people collaborating in one space," said Smith, who formerly served as the general manager of the Austin-based Foreign & Domestic.

The Heights event will take place from Aug. 21 through Sept. 5 at the new Heights House Hotel on Cavalcade Street. Smith said the overall event is amorphous, with popup stations, collaborative dinners bringing different chefs together to create 12 course meals, chef-led classes and a recurring street market.

Each night will bring a different group of chefs with different food and drink menus. Details on the programming is being released in stages based on the availability of the chefs involved, and some details are still being worked out, Smith said.


"It’s almost like traveling to another city, but you stay in the Heights to try these menus," Smith said. "You can go four different nights and you can have a totally different experience."

Smith said highlights will include three dinner events supporting different causes, including collaborative dinners for Chefs Stopping Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate on Aug. 21 and Embrace Race on Aug. 28, as well as an End Mass Incarceration dinner with Philadelphia chef Kurt Evans on Sept. 4.

The Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate cause is one Smith said is near and dear to his heart. Founded by chefs Tim Ma of Lucky Danger and Kevin Tien of Moon Rabbit—both Washington D.C.-based chefs who will take part in the dinner—the group seeks to spread awareness of the ongoing attacks on Asian Americans and fundraise for local AAPI organizations who work to stop Asian racism.

Smith describes the event as an "anti-festival," a description meant to highlight some key differences, particularly around how organizers are trying to both serve guests while also creating an inspirational experience for the chefs themselves.

While the expectation at some food festivals is for chefs to pay for their own travel and accommodations, Smith said it was important to him to cover those costs for Commune's partners so no one had to suffer financial hardship to participate. Some chefs are bringing their entire teams to Houston, and Smith said Indie Chefs is covering their costs of having to shut their restaurants down during that time.

"This is first and foremost a reunion; second to that, it’s meant to be a cathartic experience for the partners to see friends and make new ones," Smith said. "It's meant to be a catalyst for the creative process. One way to find creative inspiration is working with their peers or meeting new ones and seeing new ideas on a plate."

Learn more about the festival and get updates on what is taking place each day of the two-week event here.


MOST RECENT

The Texas Secretary of State's office has launched an audit of 2020 election results in four of Texas’ largest counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Texas Secretary of State's office announces audit of 2020 election results in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Harris counties

In a statement released Sept. 23, the office said it anticipates the state Legislature will fund the process.

Comcast will award $1 million to small businesses owned by people of color in Fort Bend and Harris counties (Courtesy Fotolia)
Comcast Rise Investment Fund to award small business grants in Harris, Fort Bend counties

Comcast will award $1 million to small businesses owned by people of color in Fort Bend and Harris counties.

Several parents of New Caney ISD students spoke at the district's Sept. 20 board meetings about recent allegations that a student brought a firearm to Porter High School's Sept. 18 homecoming dance. NCISD Superintendent Matt Calvert stressed that no gunshots were fired at the event, and that the district is investigating the allegations. (Wesley Gardner/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI Nation roundup: Round Rock ISD trustees considered for censuring; New Caney ISD addresses allegations of student with gun at campus event and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 23.

The Texas Department of Transportation will close all northbound and southbound main lanes of I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop on Sept. 24-27 and from Oct. 1-4. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
I-69 at Loop 610 to be closed Sept. 24-27, Oct. 1-4

North and south main lanes will close Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. until Sept. 27 at 5 a.m. and then from Oct. 1-4

A new 300-room hotel has opened in Texas Medical Center’s Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus. (Courtesy Michael Anthony)
Hilton opens new dual-branded hotel at Texas Medical Center

The dual-branded Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 Suites by Hilton offers a total of 300 rooms.

Casa Nomad will open Sept. 23 in the M-K-T Heights development at 600 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston. (Courtesy Michael Anthony)
Casa Nomad opens Sept. 23 at M-K-T Heights development

The eatery is coming soon from the same hospitality trio behind Wicklow Heights.

Houston resident Marissa Hanson spoke on keeping tax rates low during the Harris County Commissioners Court public hearing on Sept. 21. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Commissioners propose tax cuts at cost of Harris Health System funding

On average, Harris County homeowners may see lower tax rates in the next year, but it will come at the cost of $17 million in funding for the county’s hospital district, according to Harris County Administrator David Berry.

A new collaborative joint research building is in the works that will be housed on Texas Medical Center’s new life science campus. (Courtesy Elkus Manfredi Architects)
Texas Medical Center: Fall 2023 completion announced for research hub for life science campus expansion project

A new research building is underway that will be located in the heart of a future 37-acre TMC3 campus.

 Redistricting is one of the items on the Texas Legislature's third special session, and the state Senate released proposed maps on Sept. 18. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Senate releases proposed redistricting maps as special session begins

Redistricting is one of the items on the third special session, and the state Senate released proposed maps on Sept. 18.

The H-GAC also helps guide transportation activities through the Transportation Policy Council, according to the council's website (Courtesy Fotolia)
Houston-Galveston Area Council celebrates 55th anniversary

The Houston-Galveston Area Council will be celebrating its 55th anniversary this October.

Loosened taxicab regulations that began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic became permanent Sept. 15. (Courtesy Pexels)
Houston loosens taxicab regulations

The changes, approved by city council Sept. 15, reflect a new approach to the city’s relationship with taxicab operators.

Selected artwork will be showcased in several display windows on the first floor of the Ion. (Courtesy of the Ion)
Ion opens call for art with installations forthcoming

Looking for art to showcase in display windows, The Ion and Rice Management Company are calling for preliminary installation proposals from local artists.