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Houston Men of the Moment 2018

Ray Dennison | March 28, 2018 | People Features

What do you get when you combine a ballet dancer, a local style icon, a real estate visionary, a hot chef and a fashion boss? A fascinating quintet of disruptors shaping Houston into the country’s most dynamic place to be.

Deconstructed jacket, $2,200, by Thom Browne; shirt, $510, gaberdine trouser, $490, and cap, $310, all by Prada; sneakers, $540, by Maison Margiela; all at Forty Five Ten, River Oaks District.

CHUN WAI CHAN
WHAT'S NOW
After six years with Houston Ballet—and a stunning performance as last year’s Nutcracker—25-year-old Chan leaps into a new position as the company’s newest principal dancer.

WHAT'S NEXT
In June, he’ll take on the lead role of Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, closing out the 2017-2018 ballet season.

“I grew up in Huizhou, Guangdong [China] and started dancing in kindergarten. When I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to pursue it as a career. At first, my family didn’t want me to dance, but I eventually persuaded them to allow me to leave and pursue my dream. I credit my family with my success, and I video chat with them often and visit twice a year. I moved from China to the United States in 2010, and the first thing I noticed about Houston was the open sky. Houston Ballet has given me so many opportunities, and I love dancing with so many talented people. Dance is extremely powerful and allows you to express your thoughts without words. I can’t wait to perform as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. Becoming successful at a young age has challenges, but I want to make sure I’m doing my best every day to impress those who watch me dance.”

Floral Heritage jacket, $4,100, and pant, $670, both by Gucci at Forty Five Ten, River Oaks District.

CERON
WHAT'S NOW
H-Town’s stylist to the stars arrived in Texas more than two decades ago, and he’s since built a salon empire.

WHAT'S NEXT
After cultivating a top-notch client list, he’s now blowing out his operation with a new location in Memorial, near CityCentre.

“My mom had a great sense of style and was a huge influence on me. We were lucky enough to live near downtown Mexico City, and she introduced me to a lot of art when I was young. That taught me how to appreciate different aesthetics and cultures, and my style has always been the same. My husband, Todd, thinks I’m the Mexican Carry Grant. When I was 20, I moved to Paris to apprentice with Jean Saberny. I worked with a lot of designers and was exposed to the fashion industry at that time. Now, I have my own salon, Ceron Hair Studio, which has locations in Houston and Dallas. I owe my success to the 29 proteges that I trained over the years. Together we have created a brand, and Ceron is more than just my name—it is a Houston institution. I love my job, and I get to wear many hats: I’m a mentor, a therapist, an artist. Together, with both my clients and my team, we have created a family.”

Jacket, $595, chambray shirt, $138, light denim pants, $155, all at Rye 51.

DEREK DARNELL
WHAT'S NOW
A native Houstonian and Baylor grad climbs the real estate development ladder, becoming president of local powerhouse Pelican Builders.

WHAT'S NEXT
Pelican opened The Wilshire last year, its 17-story River Oaks District high-rise, and now the company’s breaking ground for another major luxury build, The Revere at River Oaks.

“I was talked out of pursuing architectural studies, but this appreciation of architecture eventually led me away from finance and into real estate development. It’s fun to see how a talented architect will bring a concept to paper and then a plan rendering to life. Houston has changed so much, and back in my years after college, every apartment complex had surface lots. That will never happen inside the loop again. Because of the dramatic increase in land price, we’re going to continue to see high-rise growth and smart development. Pelican is virtually the only Houston company that’s active in single-family building as well as high-rise condominiums, and in my 16 years with the company, I’ve done just about everything. I never know if I’ll be wading through mud or sitting in a corporate bank office. In my car, even now, you can always find a hard hat, umbrella, work boots and a sport coat.”

Linen jacket, $7,310, shirt, $820, tie, $300, and pant, $930, all by Kiton, River Oaks District.

JONATHAN WICKS
WHAT'S NOW
After helming the kitchen at the Museum District’s Hotel ZaZa, the classically trained chef and father of two helps the luxe brand bow its second Houston location, in Memorial.

WHAT'S NEXT
While he polishes up a new menu inspired by his family heritage, he’s also expanding and evolving the entire brand’s food and beverage program.

“My grandmother and mother informally taught me how to cook, but I also learned with a little bit of self-trial and error. I then was French classically trained at the Art Institute of Houston, but over time, my Southern roots have made their way in and helped my cuisine become somewhat of a crossover. Working at a prestigious hotel is a great accomplishment, but our team does see some pretty bizarre requests. Making culinary treats for dogs is one of my favorites on that list. I am constantly inspired by seasonality, and I grill all day and all night when I’m at home. Tina and I have been together for 14 years and have two amazing kids, and my secret weapon crowd-pleaser for the family is chicken confit. The patience I have learned being a dad really helps me do my best work in the kitchen, and seeing my team grow together is the most rewarding part of my job.”

Suit, $2,495, by Loro Piana; shirt, $300, by Thomas Mason; tie, $165, by Dolcepunta; pocket square, $65, by Hatch Stitch; all at Q Clothier.

RAJA RATAN
WHAT'S NOW
Tailoring has always been in the sharply dressed University of Texas finance grad’s bloodline, and in less than a decade, he’s spread his Rye 51 and Q Clothier empire across the Lone Star State.

WHAT'S NEXT
He’s bringing high style to the Heights with a new location in Heights Mercantile, and global expansion beckons ahead.

“After a year of financial consulting, I decided to hang up my abacus and bring custom clothing to street-level retail. I started a 1,000-square-foot shirt shop in Dallas, which branched into a full tailored clothing line, and four years later, opened Rye 51. Q Clothier was inspired by my dad, who owned a custom tailoring business in Hong Kong with his brother, while Rye 51 is James Dean all the way. Q Clothier is the more tailored side. Everything we make is in small-batch runs, and customer service is also a really important facet. Busy men don’t like to shop, so we make it easy for them.”



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