What began as a simple chef event to benefit local farmers as the farm-to-table movement moved across North Texas has 12-years later grown to this amazing week full of events to rival cities such as Aspen, which is considered the gold standard of chef festivals.
Chefs across North Texas and the country swarm onto the Dallas food scene to pay homage to our farmers and fashion amazing dishes that may be sampled by guests fortunate enough to nab a golden ticket.
There are several dinners and tours that surround the week-long food and wine event spearheaded by Iris Midler, the inspired lead in all the madness that has grown to epic proportions. But the Main Event is where it’s at with aspiring foodies and season gourmands alike. At the event this past Sunday there were acres of tents with chefs noodling out these amazing plates of 2-3 bites using the best ingredients from local farms and ranches, paired with an overwhelming amount of wine and fine cocktails.
The hype for the event was more than magnanimous with farmers such as Jeff Bednar from Profound Microfarms (follow this farm for more killer chef-hosted dinners and tours).
The Ranch Revival Dinner this past Friday featured five of Texas’ best chefs, including Culinary Institute graduate RJ Yoakum – formerly of French Laundry (one of Napa Valley’s most beloved restaurants). Now Executive Chef at Georgie (a Michelin-starred establishment). Yoakam was joined by Chef Peja Krstic owner of Mot Hai Ba and ICHI, 2 of the Dallas area’s most beloved Vietnamese/Japanese restaurants, Chef Junior Borges, Alex Seidel of two of the Denver area’s most buzzed about establishments: Mercantile dining & provision and Fruition Restaurant. Chef also owns Füdmill Bakery and Chook Chicken, and Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney and Petite Cerise, two of the D.C. area’s very best restaurants.
The beginnings of the festival were quaint to say the least. A handful of chefs meet in clandestine spots such as the founder, Iris Midler’s flat in a high rise across from Lee Park. There they fashioned a sold-out long table chef’s dinner in a field of one of the very farms it aided. From there we saw a much larger event in the now defunct, yet iconic Highland Park Cafeteria where a larger group of chefs took a station on the cafeteria line. The masters laid powerful dishes fashioned from meats and vegetables locally procured. A sight to behold.
From there a Fort Worth event at Times Ten Cellars. And then for several years at Lee Park, until the event outgrew those digs. Today the event holds court in the amazing turn-of-the-century Dallas Heritage Village just south of downtown Dallas.
Then the Main party is located at the historic Old Dallas site bringing together Dallas’ top chefs and restaurants, highlighting the very best from local farms, purveyors, and local artisans.
There is no detail dismissed, no culinary fashion disregarded. An amazing event that hosts over 3,000 guests meandering the vast property and enjoying sips and hearty nibbles along the way.
Special thanks to Danyel Buie and Melizza Alouf for their contributions.