by Steven Doyle
Many from the Crave staff attended the first annual A Community Cooks that benefited the new farming program that has taken over the football field at Paul Quinn College in South Dallas. Besides meeting a large ration of chefs and interesting boosters for the cause, we were able to chat with the special guest speaker Will Allen.
Allen is the founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc. of Milwaukee and has become recognized as perhaps the preeminent voice and practitioner for urban agriculture in America and throughout the world. Allen and his organization is instrumental in setting up community farms like the Paul Quinn model through out the world including such bases as Ukraine, Macedonia and Kenya, and has plans in place to create community food centers in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Haiti. His influence is also scattered across our nation and was one of several spokesmen who stood on the dais with First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to launch her Let’s Move! Initiative to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity by 2015.
Time magazine named Will to the Time 100 World’s Most Influential People.
The program at Paul Quinn has not gone unnoticed by local business leaders as the event was hosted by Trammel Crow, Jr and attended by Fresh Point president Lucian LaBarba, who supplies many of the city’s top kitchens fresh produce and grocers in Dallas such as Central Market. Fresh Point has a program in place that offers their clients local and organic produce and LaBarba has actively watched Paul Quinn as their farm is developed, stating last night that Fresh Point will make available the fruits of their labor. LaBarba also graciously donated the produce used by the chef’s at the night’s event.
The dinner last evening was the first fundraising effort in order to purchase needed supplies such as a tractor and a greenhouse, so the burgeoning farm will be able to grow year round.
We were happy to see Janice Provost the chef-owner of Parigi on hand who had prepared an incredible pork belly taco that was marinated and slow cooked in a concoction that included brown sugar, garlic, kecap manis, and pasilla chilies. The delicate tacos were quite amazing and hope to see this as an addition to the Parigi regular menu.
Also pleased to see chef Jeff Harris of the soon-to-open RedFork Tavern cooking on the sidelines of the Paul Quinn field. Harris had prepared one of our favorite dishes for the evening, a rabbit sausage that was delicately spiced and grilled.
Not to be outdone, craft chef Tim Bevins offered a skillfully presented house-made mortadella that was accented with delicate cornflowers. We also appreciated a creamed kale from chef Nathan Tate from Restaurant Ava fame, and an oh-so tender grilled swordfish from chef Kelly Hightower over at Nova.
Beautiful evening for a beautiful cause. Donations are being accepted for this collegiate cause should you be so inspired. You may soon be dining on a variety of greens produced by this little farm on the repurposed football field.