Houston, 2012 Jan 22nd
On Sunday, January 22, Speed Rack hit the Lone Star State for our second stop on the Speed Rack tour in 2012 and our most successful event so far. Held at the stunning Gallery M Squared (a converted movie theater) 14 girls from Houston, Dallas and Austin vied for the top eight spots as they faced off in the preliminaries. In one of the most high energy and well-attended of Speed Rack events so far, over $8,000 was raised for breast cancer research, education and prevention – the highest grossing event to date!
The event was oversold before it even began due to the massive local support, spurred on by the Houston LUPEC and USBG chapters. Additional fundraising events in advance of Sunday, including a kissing booth staffed by local chefs at Grand Prize Bar, raising over $800. Volunteer chefs included Richard Knight (Feast), Jonathan Jones (Xuco Xicana), Peter Jahnke (Revival Market), John Peterson (Rice Box Food Truck), Phillipe Gaston (Haven) and Lyle Bento (The Modular). To further build hype for Speed Rack, Alba Huerta and Lynnette Marrero were featured on radio shows South Bound Food Show on 740 KTRH and Dean and Rog Drink of the Week on 107.5 The Eagle.
Doors opened to the public at 5pm and guests were treated to sponsors’ punches and cocktails, as well as beer and small bites from local food truck team The Modular. Host Simon Ford kept the show running and the DJ had the house rocking in between rounds to set a high-energy mood by spinning fun songs for each bout. In front of a packed house of over 350 people - including many non-Texans in town on their way to San Antonio Cocktail Conference - the competition began. Judges included Amanda Boccato (Lillet Brand Ambassador - William Grant), David Allan (USBG Austin President and author of TipsyTexan.com), New York bar owner Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club), and Texas native Chris Bostick (GM of The Varnish in Los Angeles). 6 heated battles ensued, until we were down to the final two: Alba Huerta vs Lindsey Ann Heffron. In a tight and competitive final round, Alba emerged victorious by only a few seconds. She will join the winners of the other nine cities and six wildcards at the finals in NYC in May.
Accommodations for Speed Rack Houston were provided by the Hyatt Regency Houston http://houstonregency.hyatt.com/
Adrienne Byard, Grand Prize Bar
Alba Huerta, Anvil
Bonnie Wilson, Whiskey Cake (Dallas)
Christa Havican, Kata Robata
Kehlen Selph, Coppa
Kimberly Paul, Cullens Upscale American Grille
Lainey Collum, Double Trouble/ Flora & Muse
Lindsey Ann Heffron, Liberty Station (Houston Heights)
Monik Lopez, Beavers
Ornella Ashcraft, Anvil
Sheridan Fay , Benihana/RA Sushi, Ava Kitchen
Tacy Rowland, Contigo/Drink Well (Austin)
Trina Nishimura, The Cedars Social (Dallas)