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The Greater Houston Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association honors chef Alex Au-Yeung, among others, at 35th annual Golden Fork Awards Gala 


Acclaimed chef remembered by peers after unexpected loss to cancer; Houston culinary leaders recognized for achievements

HOUSTON, Texas (April 16, 2024) –
This past weekend, the Greater Houston Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association honored several local culinary leaders at its 35th annual Golden Fork Awards Gala. The event brought together chefs, restaurateurs and industry suppliers to celebrate and be recognized for their contributions to the industry, as well as to raise money for the Texas Restaurant Foundation, Texas ProStart and several local scholarship funds. Programs like Hospitality Opportunities for People (Re)Entering Society and its collaboration with Goodwill of Houston were among the few examples used to drive financial support in the ballroom. 

“The mission of the Texas Restaurant Foundation is to provide educational opportunities to build and maintain a strong and professional foodservice workforce in Texas.“ Heather Pickett, foundation director at the Texas Restaurant Association, said. “As the largest private sector employer in the state, we have a duty to ensure there are exceptional resources and programs available to individuals no matter where they may be in their career. The funds raised at the Golden Fork Awards Gala will help the foundation support our industry in Houston and all across Texas.”

Among the honorees was renowned Houston chef and owner of Phat Eatery, Alex Au-Yeung, who, despite his recent passing in March due to cancer, was recognized as Restaurateur of the Year. The 2022 James Beard Semifinalist for Texas’ Best Chef award was remembered by his peers as a leading chef and entrepreneur that brought an array of global flavors and exceptional service. 

“The foodservice industry lost an incredible force when we lost Alex Au-Yeung earlier this spring.” Christina Garavaglia, executive director of the Greater Houston Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association, said. “While these events are designed to generate critical funds for our work, it’s also a chance to celebrate the bold leaders of the past and the present who go above and beyond and add to the diverse cuisine and amazing service that only Houston can offer.”

Additional award winners include Denise Taylor of Bonfire Wings who received the Faces of Diversity award, Katie Ginapp of the University of Houston was recognized as Educator of the Year and the Chairman's award was given to Ali Jarrett of Low Tide

Local ProStart schools provided appetizers for the event including Waller High School, Cleveland High School, Milby High School and Glenda Dawson High School.

For more information about the Texas Restaurant Association and the Texas Restaurant Foundation visit,


Formed in 1937, the Texas Restaurant Association serves as the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice industry in Texas. As a leading chapter of the TRA, the Greater Houston Chapter represents the region’s nearly 13,000 foodservice establishments, which employ over 275,000 Texans. Along with the TRA, the Texas Restaurant Foundation, and each of the 23 TRA chapters throughout the state, the Greater Houston Chapter proudly protects, advances, and educates restaurants of all sizes in Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Waller, and Wharton Counties. For more information, please visit  

Established in 1994 by the Texas Restaurant Association, the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a strong professional foodservice workforce in Texas. Leveraging the latest skills, tools, and certifications, the TRF creates pathways of opportunity for one of the state’s largest and most diverse industries. The organization’s flagship program is Texas ProStart, an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management program that reaches more than 27,000 students across 250 high schools in Texas. The TRF also supports restaurants in times of crisis; for example, in 2020, the TRF established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to raise and distribute more than $3.5 million to support over 800 independent restaurants and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.