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Culinary Stars Shine for Cancer Research

Thursday, December 7, 2023

POST Houston, 401 Franklin Street

A one-of-a-kind evening with some of the world’s top culinary talents to celebrate the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine


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Chef Paul Qui

Born in Manila, Philippines, and trained in classical French and Japanese cuisine, Chef Paul Qui takes a modernist approach toward food that is delicious and authentic yet playful and unexpected.

A master at marrying classical technique with local flavors, Chef Qui draws inspiration from Filipino, Japanese, Spanish and French culinary styles.

After winning “Top Chef” and rocketing through the ranks of culinary stardom, Chef Qui won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest.

He is co-owner of Houston-based restaurant group FAM Hospitality. This collaborative group of hospitality professionals boasts imaginative restaurant concepts in cities across the country, including the Neo-Fjordic-meets-Gulf-Coast seafood concept Golfstrommen, which was ranked the No. 1 restaurant on the Houston Chronicle’s Top 100 Restaurants of 2022.

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Chef Tom Cunanan

Chef Tom Cunanan is the chef owner of Soy Pinoy and winner of the 2019 James Beard Award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic. He first gained experience in kitchens across Washington, D.C., including Vidalia, Bibiana and Ardeo + Bardeo, where he was executive chef. In 2015, Chef Cunanan opened the beloved Filipino restaurant, Bad Saint, trailblazing a path for Filipino cuisine in the U.S. In 2016, Bad Saint was recognized by Bon Appétit magazine as one of the best new restaurants in the country. In 2017, Eater named it one of the 38 essential restaurants in America. After being named a finalist in both 2017 and 2018, Chef Cunanan won the 2019 James Beard Award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic. In 2022, Chef Cunanan became a partner in Soy Pinoy in Houston, Texas.

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Chef Chris Haatuft

Chef Christopher Haatuft is the head chef and founder of Lysverket, which was awarded its first Michelin Star in 2022. He is a Norwegian chef and restaurateur who runs several restaurants in Bergen, Norway, as well as Golfstrommen in Houston, Texas. Chef Haatuft’s unique entry into the Norwegian culinary scene and subsequent success have led some to refer to him as the “Punk-Chef Godfather” of Neo-Fjordic cuisine. An apprenticeship at a restaurant in Norway at the age of 25 subsequently blossomed into chef positions in cities such as Paris and New York City, where he spent time in the kitchens of high-end farm-to-table restaurants Blue Hill at Stone Barns and the three Michelin-starred Per Se. At the age of 32, he moved back to his native Norway to open his now one-Michelin Star restaurant Lysverket. A few years later, Chef Haatuft became one-half of the partnership behind Golfstrommen, which was ranked the No. 1 restaurant on the Houston Chronicle’s Top 100 Restaurants of 2022. He is deeply involved in sustainability efforts and his role as an advisor in the impact fund Astanor Ventures.

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Nicolas Nikic

Growing up in Europe, Chef Nicolas Nikic was exposed to beautiful and sophisticated cultures filled with music, food and wine. His upbringing inspired a love and a passion for cuisine. Chef Nikic began his education and lifelong career in Vienna, where he received intense training designed to produce world-class hospitality professionals. To expand his knowledge, Chef Nikic worked and traveled all over Europe and the world to experience new cuisines.

His adventurous attitude ultimately brought him to the University of Houston to work as an instructor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership. For over 20 years, Chef Nikic also worked as the general manager and sommelier for Houston’s Da Marco and Dolce Vita restaurants, during which time he received the GAJA Award of Excellence for Best Sommelier.

Chef Nikic is now embarking on a new culinary adventure with a remarkable team sure to bring the taste of Italy to you.

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Jarmel Doss

Jarmel Doss, beverage director of FAM Hospitality, is a Chicago native and began her hospitality career while attending the University of Chicago. After years of working in bars throughout the city, her path led her to The Aviary, known as one of the best bars in the world, where she spent seven years. Throughout her time in Chicago, Ms. Doss won many bartender competitions, including first place in Chicago Stars, third place in Shake it Up National Classic and in the Top 10 in Diageo Presents World Class for two consecutive years. Ms. Doss then moved to Miami in late 2021 to help open Higher Ground at the Arlo Hotel. In 2023, Ms. Doss moved to Houston and is now beverage director at FAM Hospitality, where she oversees the beverage concepts for Return to Sender and Address Unknown at POST Houston and at FAM’s concept Koko Ni in Denver, Colo.

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Timothy Contreras

Timothy A. Contreras is a highly accomplished professional with diverse experiences and skills, including a passion for wine and spirits. Mr. Contreras holds a Level 3 Certification in Wine and a Level 2 Certification in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. This expertise has not only deepened his understanding of the industry but also enabled him to provide valuable insights and recommendations to clients and colleagues.

With a career spanning over two decades, Mr. Contreras has made significant contributions in various industries. Following his successful first stint at Gringo’s Cantina, Mr. Contreras brought his strategic vision to companies such as ALIFE Hospitality Group, Sambuca Houston, Hungry’s and Blue Onyx Bistro. He helped design and build new concepts such as Kamp, Cake, Drip and Lost and Found. Now, as the director of food and beverage for FAM Hospitality, Mr. Contreras has made significant contributions to the growth and profitability of each company.

His passion for wine and spirits, commitment to excellence and determination to overcome challenges help Mr. Contreras continue to make a significant impact in his field.

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