11:03 AM

The Fundraising Power of Two Saints – Aquinas and Arnold Raises $90,000 for UST Alumni Association Scholarships

Tacos and beer would be a crowd-pleasing combination at any gathering. But the University of St. Thomas-Houston Alumni Association's 12th annual Two Saints & A Taco Tasting (TSTT) event competition uses the mouthwatering delights as the launchpad for all kinds of fun at its popular Alumni Association Annual Scholarship Fundraiser. More than 400 merrymakers sipped on cold beer and swayed to the music of Rapture Houston at Saint Arnold Brewing Company on Friday, Nov. 10. Guests included sponsors and underwriters. All this excitement raised $90,000 for student scholarships. 

Honorary Co-chairs were Vice Chair of the UST Board of Directors, CFO of the Texas Medical Center Denise Castillo-Rhodes, MBA '92, and her husband, Deputy General Counsel for Quarternorth Energy, Robert Sergesketter.  

Event Co-chairs were Lauren VerBerkmores '07 and Jacob Dilworth '18.

The Taco Restaurant Contenders 

Guarding their special species, sharpening their knives, and kneading their tortilla masa for the TSTT alumni extravaganza are award-winning taco restaurant competitors – Velvet Taco, Chuy's, Escalante's, Gordo Ninos, Saint Arnold, Chilosos, Fajita Pete’s, and TJ Birria y Mas.

The Heavy-hitter Celebrity Chef Judges were:

·         Chef Zeb Hartline - executive chef at the Houston Country Club, The Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts graduate, has written, "I have a strong background in French cuisine, farm-to-table cooking … and a proven track record of delivering creative, award-winning dishes."

·         Chef Jassi Bindra dominated an episode of Food Network TV's reality cooking competition show "Chopped," when he outpaced three other chefs in three rounds "with his eclectic spin on some traditional Indian recipes." He co-owns and serves as executive chef of Amrina, a fine-dining Indian restaurant in The Woodlands.

·         Chef Eddie Jackson, former NFL player and owner of Rosehill Beer Garden and Food Truck Park in Houston, like Chef Jassi, has TV appearances under his apron. After winning the 2015 season of The Next Food Network Star, he became a beloved member of the Food Network family.

·         Chef Paul Friedman, whose website affirms, "Paul Friedman is a master chef with over 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry." Chef Paul demonstrates his lifetime love affair with food at his Houston restaurant, The Chef's Table.

And the Winners are:

  • The Best Taco Trophy decided by celebrity chef judges was Gordo Ninos

·         The People's Choice Award for Best Taco was Gordo Ninos