The Cause

Antonio Gianola, the reason for this event. Because of him, we will continue to push for a cure.

When Chris Shepherd learned his good friend and former sommelier Antonio Gianola had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, his first reaction was to “throw a huge party and raise a ton of money.” He turned Underbelly, Hay Merchant and Blacksmith into a huge street party and with the help of his friends in Houston and beyond, raised $184,000 for the MS Society.

The second annual Southern Smoke will take place this year on November 6, 2016 and will feature both new and familiar faces.

“Houston is an incredibly generous city and helped us almost double our fundraising goal last year,” said Chris, “This year, with this incredible group of talented cooks, the goal is even higher. I can’t think of better people to help me honor Antonio and do what we can to fight this disease that has taken such a toll on our industry.”

“Houston is an incredibly generous city and helped us almost double our fundraising goal last year,” said Chris, “This year, with this incredible group of talented cooks, the goal is even higher. I can’t think of better people to help me honor Antonio and do what we can to fight this disease that has taken such a toll on our industry.”

The HOUBBQ Collective, a cooking collaborative of Houston chefs, will be back. The group, which includes Seth Siegel-Gardner, Terrence Gallivan, Ryan Pera, Justin Yu and Chris Shepherd made their debut at last year’s Southern Smoke. “Most chefs don’t choose this business,” said Seth Siegel-Gardner, co-owner of The Pass and Provisions. “It chooses them. They fall in love with it standing in the trenches on the line and getting crushed on a Saturday night. Working events like Southern Smoke collectively—not as individual restaurants—gives us a chance to spend time with our friends, but most importantly, we get to cook together.”

Of course, Chris can’t host an event for Antonio without pouring incredible wines, including Hirsch Vineyards and Miner Family Winery, and both Karbach and Saint Arnold’s will be pouring beer.