As the day began the warm sun was breaking through the clouds greeting each visitor to Lee Park for the 2012 Chefs for Farmers “Mixin It Up On The BLVD” event held this past Sunday. I stood with Iris McCallister as bartender phenom Eddie “Lucky” Campbell took the stage to toast the growing crowd at 11:30am. The official toast would be much later in the day, but this one was to thank the many, many farmers, chefs and volunteers that made the event possible. Iris grinned and you could see she was visibly excited and pointed up to the sky where a wispy vertical rainbow had appeared. This was going to be a fantastic day.
Wandering myself I spotted some extremely creative dishes made by our very best chefs in Dallas. A few of our favorites, and damn there really cannot be a favorite in this line up, included the dueling barbecue mavens Pecan Lodge with their brisket, house made sausage, burnt ends and pork belly, as well as the good folks at Bishop Art’s Lockhart who threw down a terrific brisket topped off with a habanero cactus pickled relish.
Then we had the farmers. We have written about many of the farmers in the past and were happy to see them in full regalia. Past CFF events were indoors and some of the farmers seemed out of place. Not on this day, they were soaking up the sun and talking about what they do best.
The unforeseen star of the day was chef Dean Fearing who played with a pick up band and not the regulars in his band The Barbwires. I had seen Fearing play at events before, but this was a rare, special treat and he took to the stage several time through out the day. Fearing would normally play with the assistance of Houston chef Robert Del Grande.
Honored this day was Stephan Pyles along with Kent Rathbun and Dean Fearing. Perhaps the Three Tenors of the Dallas dining scene. To further honor the trio the McCallisters arranged for Caprino Royale, a Waco goat farm and cheese maker (love the Caprino) to name three of their new goats after the chefs. So now running the herd are Lady Pyles, Lady Fearing and Lady Rathbun. Possibly the highest honor one could receive. Certainly this day.
One spectacular honor went to the team behind Salum and Komali, both located on Cole in Dallas, Abraham Salum, Al Havens and Anastacia Quinones. Each chef was to pick their own charity they wish to benefit should they be chosen for the best dish of the day. Team Komali swept that honor and their check will benefit the local SPCA.
The tally for the donations made to the many charities and farmers has not been tallied up as of yet, but look for those figures soon.
This was without a doubt the most energized event put on in Dallas, and with a crowd that swelled to over 1,200 look for this to be an even larger event as the years progress. The community rallied in this very adult high school reunion of chefs, farmers and food fanatics from across the state.
Lucian and Christina LaBarba from FreshPoint were major factors in the day’s success. Both worked tirelessly to make sure the event went off smoothly, as did the McCallister’s and the many volunteers. Jay Jerrier pitched in by offering a special industry after party where everyone associated with the event gathered and laughed about the fantastic day.