photos by Robert Bostick
Last evening’s Chefs for Farmers event produced by Matt and Iris McCallister was a resounding success. Over 250 people joined the revelry that included tunes of the 70’s spun by DJ’s Jeff Mitchell and Paul Paredes, one chef being paraded around the room on a chair, and delicious descriptions of each wine presented by local sommelier, D’Lynn Proctor.
Then there was the food, and plenty of it to go around. With over 15 chefs making their kicked up childhood favorites at Highland Park Cafeteria the evening was a belly-full for many. Artizone donated $1000 for what the crowd considered the best dish of the evening, and they chose the burnt ends at Pecan Lodge made by owners Justin and Diane Fourton.
There was some hot competition in the “tater tot” made by Parigi, which was a playful dish in that the tot was actually a potato crusted chunk of pork belly. The masses were also taken in by Maple & Motor’s chicken fried steak, which owner Jack Perkin’s says that he will add to his menu soon (in the form of a sandwich).
All the dishes were stand outs including Brian Luscher’s (The Grape) liver and onions. Luscher always knocks it out of the park and last night was not an exception.
There was a panel of local celebrity judges that also made their call on the best of the evening, and the winner won a 2-night stay at ZaZa (donated by Hotel ZaZa), and the boys from Restaurant Ava took top honors in that category with their super-charged version of Sloppy Joes that was made with wild boar. We suspect the house-made brioche helped make that decision.
It was particularly good to see chef Dan Landsberg who just recently took a position as top toque at ZaZa, overseeing all the menus for the hotel including Dragonfly. He claims the menu will be totally re-engineered very soon to reflect his own recipes.
Chef John Tesar was in great form with his version of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. John was happy to fill us in on his exploits at Cedar Social and his latest conquest at One Arts Plaza and the soon-to-be-open Commissary that will also have a restaurant-with-in-a-restaurant called The Table. The Table will be a 14-seat restaurant adjacent to The Commissary, will have a sliding price point depending on the night of the week, and will be a tasting menu with vegetarian options.
The featured farms for the event included JuHa Ranch, Texas Heritage Beef, Texas Honeybee Guild and Cold Springs Farm. The event enables the chefs and the public to be aware of these farmers, ranchers and artisans so that we can make informed buying decisions and be better stewards to our ecology and economy.
The event also raised awareness and a lot of cash for The Family Place, which is a terrific cause that assists families in distress.
As for the paraded chef, Scott Romano the exec at Charlie Palmers at the Joule was treated to a dance on the shoulders of the chefs as they paraded Romano around the room. Chef Romano is to be married this coming November.
The revelers were excited as the evening came to a close and another chapter of Chefs for Farmers is but a mere memory.