Asia Society Texas Center

Bank of America Women’s Leadership Series

Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018 – Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018

11:30 AM – 01:30 PM

ASTC WLS Women in Culinary Arts art 1

Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., and this diversity brings with it a lively culture, mix of languages, and distinctive cuisines from all around the world. Creating an innovative menu and possessing the business acumen to manage a culinary enterprise requires a unique set of skills and a devout commitment to the cuisine industry.

Join Asia Society Texas Center for a wide-ranging discussion with female Asian chefs and restaurateurs who have gained acclaim locally and nationally, about their challenges, major successes, and all that was learned along the way. This program launches the fourth year of Asia Society Texas Center's popular Women's Leadership Series.


11:30 a.m. | Registration
12:00 p.m. | Luncheon and Program

About the Speakers

Christine Ha is the first-ever blind contestant and season 3 winner of the competitive amateur cooking television show MasterChef U.S. on FOX with Gordon Ramsay. She defeated over 30,000 home cooks across America to secure the coveted MasterChef title, a $250,000 cash prize, and a cookbook deal. Christine also has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston's nationally acclaimed Creative Writing Program. During her time there, she served as Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. She is currently working on her memoir and second cookbook.

Her first cookbook, Recipes From My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food (Rodale, 2013), was a New York Times best-seller. She has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and CNN International, and travels around the globe to give keynote addresses and TEDx talks. Christine has also served as a culinary envoy on behalf of the American Embassy in cultural diplomacy programs in Jordan, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. She was a co-host on the Canadian cooking show Four Senses on AMI, and was a judge on MasterChef Vietnam on VTV3. Christine received the 2014 Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, a recognition formerly bestowed upon Ray Charles, Patty Duke, and Stevie Wonder, among others. Christine currently resides in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two dogs.

Kiran Verma, considered the "godmother of Indian fine dining," has created world-class Indian cuisine at her eponymous restaurant, Kiran's, which reopened at its new location in Upper Kirby in Houston in January 2017. Kiran is a self-taught chef who has been guided by her Indian upbringing and a love of fine cuisine. She defines her cuisine as a combination of cultures, philosophies, and cooking techniques. The restaurant is known for serving up Indian hospitality, with French sophistication and American informality. Kiran's award-winning wine list of over 300 labels, along with monthly wine dinners, complements the delicate flavors of the food. Guests can also enjoy an Afternoon Tea service every Friday and Saturday at Kiran's, which offers its own chai blend.

Among her awards are Best New Restaurant – Zagat 2006, Award of Excellence – Wine Spectator 2006-2017, Chef of the Year Nominee – My Table Magazine 2010 and 2013, and Participant in former First Lady Michelle Obama's "Chefs Move to Schools" campaign.

About the Women's Leadership Series

The Bank of America Women's Leadership Series (WLS) celebrates influential, diverse women making a substantive impact in both the business and culture arenas, locally and globally.

Previous programs:

Asia Society Concludes 2017-2018 Women's Leadership Series with Women in Fashion Evening
Technology Trailblazers on the Business of Innovation
Third Year of Women’s Leadership Series Begins with Medical Innovators
Former UK First Lady Leads Dialogue on Women’s Education
Social Innovator Shares Her Story and Passion for Creating a More Secure Future
Women's Leadership Panel Addresses Female Representation in the C-Suite
Former Secretary of Labor Credits "Strong Families, Education, and Hard Work" for Success
Local Leaders Share Personal and Professional Successes at Inaugural Women's Leadership Program

The Women's Leadership Steering committee is chaired by Mandy Kao and Y. Ping Sun. Members include Nancy C. Allen, Dr. Anne Chao, Kathy Goossen, Michelle Herrera, Shirley Kwan, Sultana Mangaliji, and Vani Rao.


  • Tuesday - Friday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Saturday & Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Closed Mondays and major holidays
  • $75 Members, $100 Nonmembers

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Parking in Asia Society Texas Center's lot is $5 for 1-24 hours. Entrances on Caroline and Austin. Limited free and paid street parking also available.

Special Offers / Dining

An India-Inspired Café
Enjoy breakfast and lunch at Pondi! Pondicheri's museum café is open for extended lunch hours Tuesday through Sunday with a vibrant and innovative menu featuring everything from butter chicken to saffron shrimp salad and roti wraps.
Tuesday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday – Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm


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