Symphony Of Chefs Top Rollers Celebrated The Stellar Chefs Who Will Be Cooking Up A Storm Tableside For The KidLinks Fundraiser

The crowd that gathered on Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel had an agenda. They were there to not just celebrate the cast of chefs for the annual Symphony of Chefs fundraiser. They also had their sights set on selecting the chef who would be cooking up a storm for the Monday, February 27th KidLinks‘ fundraiser at Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station. Here’s a report from the field:

When your chef talent includes a James Beard award winner, Bravo TV Top Chef Alumni, a guy who recently “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network and three World Master Chefs, that calls for a celebration. On Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel’s new City View and City View Terrace, that’s exactly what the North Texas-based non-profit KidLinks did. Celebrating the upcoming Monday, February 27th Symphony of Chefs culinary dining experience at Union Station, sponsors and chefs were treated to a wine tasting by 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery, cocktails featuring Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège and fare provided by the culinary team of the Renaissance Dallas lead by Executive Chef Frank Quant and including participating Sous Chef Steven Torbron of Asador. 

But that wasn’t the only purpose for the party. Perhaps by circumstance or even with intention just in time for Super Bowl LI, guests were treated to a draft style pairing where they were able to select their seated dinner chef. The Symphony of Chefs features an array of notable culinary talent including a set of rising star chefs who will prepare hors d’oeuvres, 22 chefs who will cook a four-course cocktail and wine paired dinner table-side and another set of pastry chefs preparing a decadent dessert reception.

Marc and Bonnie Shea, Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock and Marc and Georgia Lyons*

As Honorary Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and husband Jeremy Lock along with Event Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons and Bonnie and Nathan Shea greeted guests upon arrival, the room swelled with talks of each chefs’ menu available for preview. Chefs Uno Immanivong from Chino Chinatown, John Kleifgen from Nick and Sam’s Park Cities and Yutaka Yamato from Yutaka Sushi Bistro were in attendance. Even Gorji from Canary by Gorji was present, having sent an email earlier in the day stating that his Addison-based restaurant would be closed for the evening so that he could personally attend the party.

Sherry Gritch and Gorji**

As Jane McGarry took to the microphone and began with introductions and sponsor thank you’s, it was apparent that the crowd was anxiously awaiting their opportunity to select their favorite chef. The first set of sponsors to select their chefs were, of course, Presenting Sponsors Mason and Allen Custard, Emily and Bruce Robson and Kaari and James Wicklund. With a charming story about their 20+ year connection to Richard Chamberlain, Kaari and James Wicklund made the first pick of the evening, which was then followed by their second selection, Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse Executive Chef Robert James Clifford. The evening continued with Chef Tiffany Derry of The Cupboard by Tiffany Derry being selected by Cristi and Kevin Ryan, with Barbara and Jeffrey Adelglass then selecting Chef Francesco Farris of Zio Cecio.

James Wicklund, Robert James Clifford and Kaari Wicklund*

New Dallas transplant Josh Healy of Filament was scooped up by Tracy and Jeff Hull and long-time supporter and KidLinks board member JW Brown and wife Ann selected private celebrity chef Kevin Ashade (the chef who recently beat Bobby Flay). With over 22 chefs participating in the upcoming event, the evening wrapped with emcee Jane McGarry noting in her final comments that only 20 seats remained for this exclusive dinner.  

Kevin Ashade and Ann and JW Brown*

As guests departed with their Sewell gift bag in hand, you could hear the excitement as they left the building knowing that the chef they selected would make their evening at the Symphony of Chefs memorable. Now it was time to decide who they would invite to sit at their table, a much more daunting task for some.

For more information about KidLinks and the Symphony of Chefs evening of culinary composition visit www.thekidlinks.org./soc.html.

* Photo credit: Travis Lilley 
** Photo credit: Thomas Garza

MySweet2017Goals: Niki and Ryan Anthony

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony,

“Our goal is to exceed the success of the original CancerBlows concert that debuted in 2015 event when the concert and programming returns to Dallas in May! With the help of Honorary Co-Chairs Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger, Event Co-Chairs D’ Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill, we are working tirelessly to bring enhanced awareness and record funds to help eradicate multiple myeloma.”

MySweetWishList: CancerBlows

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founder Niki Anthony,

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

CancerBlows was meant to be a once-in-as-life time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party. The event sold out and raised substantial money for Multiple Myeloma patients and research via the Ryan Anthony Foundation.

“My husband, Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at age 43 in 2012. Thanks to aggressive and ongoing treatment, Ryan is in remission.  But, our passion to eradicate the disease is still strong.

“We are so fortunate to have a second CancerBlows scheduled for May of 2017 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. We are anticipating 1,800 guests who will enjoy a performance with such headliners as Doc Severinson, Arturo Sandoval, the Canadian Brass and Dave Matthews Band trumpeter Rashawn Ross in addition to fifteen other legends.

CancerBlows*

“During this holiday season, we are so grateful to the have the endorsement of philanthropists Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger who have brought tremendous resources to our efforts being spearheaded by Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock with Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill.

“My wish is that everyone who has been affected by this dreaded disease finds the treatment, hope and eventual cure that is on the horizon. Proceeds from CancerBlows will directly benefit individuals in the Dallas area.  In the meantime, please make plans to join us for this important fund-raising event on May 10. Visit cancerblows.com for more information.”

-By Niki Anthony, Ryan Anthony Foundation co-found

* Graphic provided by CancerBlows

2017 Cancer Blows Kick-Off Party Has SRO Turnout Despite Traffic Jam And Competing Events

The world of nonprofits hit head on with the political universe on Tuesday, November 1, on Lakeside. While usually only geese and ducks honk on the elegant drive, on this night it was luxury vehicles with drivers getting steamed. One gent stood on the running board of his stationery SUV shaking his fist at the god of traffic jams.

The jam resulted from two big gatherings — the kick-off party for Cancer Blows at Ashley Tatum’s and Newt Walker’s residence overlooking Turtle Creek, and a get-together a block away for U.S. Representative Pete Sessions.

Linda and Steve Ivy

Linda and Steve Ivy

Adding to the mix was the fact that the Cancer Blows event had initially been planned for under 75 guests, but as the minutes ticked away, that headcount evolved to a number just a smidge less than 200, including Robin Robinson, Linda and Steve Ivy, Martha and David Tiller, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and newlyweds Emily Eisenhauer Freling and Darryl Freling, who had just returned from their wedding in California’s Napa Valley.

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer Freling

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer Freling

Inside the Tatum-Walker abode, the trophies of Newt’s past hunting ventures had been replaced by artistic Ashley’s fav artists like David Bates.

Because it was such a busy night in town with Colin Powell at the Meyerson, Adele at American Airlines Center, etc., not everyone could stay for the presentation in the living room featuring a slimmed-down Cancer Blows Co-Chair D’Andra Simmons Lock and husband/Co-Chair Jeremy Lock and The Ryan Anthony Foundation President Ryan Anthony, who just happened to have his trumpet in hand. Fellow Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill were in Nashville attending the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards. D’Andra, Jeremy, and Ryan were engulfed by well-wishers and supporters throughout the evening. 

With the crowd spilling into the side hallways, plans were revealed that the Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation fundraiser event will return to the Meyerson for its headliner concert on Wednesday, May 10, featuring the world’s leading trumpeters. Serving as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger.

Leading up to the Meyerson performance, there will be two days in which a variety of activities are planned. Declared D’Andra: “We’re doing everything we can to make this the most incredible sell-out ‘Blows’ ever.”

In addition to the packed crowd, there were videographers recording the event. When event planner Hamilton Sneed was asked whether the crew was on hand for a local reality show, he looked shocked and responded that they were part of his team filming for future promotional purposes. Whew!

MySweetCharity Opportunity: CancerBlows

According to Cancer Blows Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill,

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

“CancerBlows was meant to be a one-time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party benefiting the Baylor Health Care System Foundation cancer programs and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation with donations channeled through The Ryan Anthony Foundation in 2015.  Trumpeters included Doc Severinsen from ‘The Tonight Show,’ Lee Loughnane from Chicago, Arturo Sandoval, former trumpet players from Canadian Brass-all referred to as the Thirty Trumpet Legends.

Ryan Anthony*

Ryan Anthony*

“The event sold out and raised more than $1 million in cash and in-kind donations to help Ryan Anthony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s principal trumpet and former Canadian Brass member, raise money for cancer research.  Ryan was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a typically terminal cancer of the bone, in 2012.  Fortunately, with great medical care Ryan remains in remission.  He and his wife, Niki Anthony, realized the event could be more than just a concert with funds used to raise awareness and money to further research that has helped give the Ryan family hope for the future.

“Just a decade ago, multiple myeloma was a death sentence with life span of three to five years.  While the cancer is considered incurable and terminable, recent advances in research have greatly expanded the life span of newly diagnosed patients.  In 2015, three new drugs were approved for treatment of multiple myeloma by the FDA increasing treatment options by 20 percent.

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

“CancerBlows will return to Dallas on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center with The Legends Concert followed by the After Party in the lobby.  Approximately 2,000 guests will experience the concert and approximately 300 guests will be included the in the After Party festivities.

 

“We thrilled to announce that philanthropists Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger are serving as honorary chairmen.

“There are a myriad of sponsorship opportunities for the 2017 CancerBlows event ranging from Presenting Sponsor to Student Experience Sponsor which allows students the opportunity to attend CancerBlows events, classes, discussions and meet and greet with event performers.

“Please visit www.CancerBlows.com for more information.”

* Photo provided by CancerBlows

D’Andra Simmons-Lock And Jeremy Lock Put Their Own Spin On Letter Signing For CancerBlows Host Committee

Letter signings may seem ho-hum after your second or third one. They usually take place during the day with loads of munchies and ice tea and stacks of letters to personalize. The drill is sign your name to the letter with a note and pass it along to the next person at the table. But leave it to 2017 CancerBlows Co-Chair D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock to put their own spin on the John Hanocking of the fundraising host committee invite letters.

Ryan Anthony

Ryan Anthony

On Monday, July 18, they held the signing in the evening with glasses of wine and the event’s man-of-inspiration Ryan Anthony at the kitchen/dining room table. Instead of a chore, it was a party. As guests arrived, Jeremy reported that he had just returned from Alaska with killer photos of people and scenes. Pointing out his Burning Man collection framed on the wall, he revealed that his next project involves National Geographic.

But as soon as Ryan in his CancerBlows sports shirt arrived with boxes of letters, the crew took their places at the glass-top table.

D'Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock

D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock

Despite a political convention on the TV screen overhead, no one seemed to notice Anderson Cooper reporting on CNN. They were all focused on the letters. D’Andra took a moment to recall her past signings that had resulted in hand surgery. Then Jeremy cleared his voice signaling to get back to work.

According to the letters, D’Andra, Jeremy and their Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill have arranged for Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger to serve as honorary co-chairs. And like the 2015 event benefiting Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, CancerBlows will be return to the Meyerson on Wednesday, May 10, with an ensemble of world-famous musicians including Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, Canadian Brass, members of Ryan’s home team at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and many more.

CancerBlows*

CancerBlows*

Among the perks that members of the host committee will receive will be invitations to special events and recognition in promotional materials, at the event, on the post-event CD/DVD and on the website.

If you haven’t gotten your letter, contact Ryan’s hardworking wife Niki Anthony and she’ll make sure you’re at the top of the list. And, yes, there are all types of sponsorship opportunities available.

*  Graphic provided by CancerBlows           

Family Gateway’s 2012 Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Ramped Up Its Raucous Status With Chaotic Results And Riotous Fun

Two years ago the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon was a cute little affair with a dozen local celebs working for tips. Kim Fischer led a group of gals in a spontaneous “Baby Bump,” and polo-playing Vaughn Miller rode Brendan Higgins around one of the Ritz-Carlton ballrooms with 150 guests looking on. Luncheon Chair Kristi Bare was thrilled that this first-time venture earned $55,000 for Family Gateway.

Last year Co-chairs Maggie Cooke Kipp and Shay Geyer more than doubled the guest and waiter count. Instead of ramping up the activity one or two cautious steps, the luncheon was the topic du jour for weeks and months to come. Why, there were those who claimed they could hear Steve Kemble leading the guests in “YMCA” during poor old Mike Modano‘s farewell press conference in the next ballroom. The walls shook and a legend was created.

The only problem with a legend is keeping up the legend. That was the issue facing returning Co-chairs Maggie and Shay. Could they actually top last year? Or, would it be a snore in comparison?

The twosome were taking on the challenge without hesitation. They combined all three Ritz ballrooms, arranged for around 50 waiters, upped the guest count to more than 450, and had one lengthy main stage in the middle of the room and four mini-stages in the corners of the ballroom.

Rhonda Sargent Chamber’s table

Veteran waiters dressed up their tables with all types of goodies. They just knew that in order to get tips, they had to impress. Rhonda Sargent Chambers draped pashminas around chairs and had gift bags filled with Laura Mercier makeup products and jewelry.

In keeping with the tradition of the past, the waiters arrived around 9:30 to prep with makeup artists and camaraderie in a meeting room. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, by the time all the waiters arrived, the room seemed like a size six sausage-wrap dressed for a full-figured gal. Any wallflower or sorta-shy-type didn’t stand a chance in this crowd.

One of the waiters had even had a banner made to add to the decor, but the Ritz folks wouldn’t allow them to hang it. However, for $75 the Ritz staff would post it on poles. The fee was paid and the sign was displayed.

Maggie Cooke Kipp, Faye Briggs, Scott Murray and Shay Geyer

As Maggie, Shay and emcees Scott Murray and Steve Kemble started to explain the POA, someone announced that Honorary Chair Faye Briggs had arrived. The applauding crowd made way for the petite patron saint of celebrity waiters. All wanted their picture taken with her.

2012 Celebrity Waiters

But then it was time for the annual celeb group photo and there was no room in the prep area, so an adjacent empty room was opened up. Like college kids at Padre Island, the crowd partied their way from room to room. With Faye seated in the very middle, photos were taken.

D’Andra Simmons, Jeremy Lock and Pamela Martin-Duarte

Then the celebs’ official cocktail hour was underway. D’Andra Simmons was introducing her new boyfriend, Master Sergeant Jeremy Lock to one and all. He’s a six-time winner of the Military Photographer of the Year. . . Matt Nordgren was in the hallway getting friendly with Sydney Kaplan. . . Jane McGarry was catching up with old buddy Brendan Higgins. . . It got so loud in the room that you couldn’t even hear Dee Lincoln laugh!

Daylon Pereira, Sydney Kaplan and Matt Nordgren

In the meantime, the guests were checking out the silent auction items and each other in the lobby outside the ballroom.  Some were comparing notes on Thursday’s overload of fashion experiences (Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show & Luncheon and Fashion’s Night Out); others were looking forward to the formal launch of the social season with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra gala Saturday night.  

But as soon as the ballroom doors opened, the guests quickly made their way to their tables like children to a Christmas tree on the 25th. They all knew surprises were in store.

On the main stage, Scott welcomed all saying that “this is one of the most fun, exciting events. We’re here to have fun.” After a brief summary of Family Gateway’s program including the fact that on any night, 3,000 children are on the streets of Dallas, the first cannon blast exploded in the room with the arrival of Steve K.

Running up on the stage, he pointed out Faye Briggs seated at a front row table, saying, “She’s such a special person. Thank you so much for everything you do.”

Steve Kemble and Teresa Frosini

The ballroom lights then dimmed for a video to be shown explaining how waiters earned tips from guests. Beyond the ballroom doors, cheers from the waiting waiters were heard. Following the video, with the lights still turned down, slides of the waiters appeared on the screen. Hardly a dozen pictures had been shown when two doors at the far end of the ballroom opened to a nonstop flow of manic celebs. Some headed to their tables, but the multitude seemed to go straight to a stage, dancing to “Call Me Maybe” and then “Celebrate.” Rhonda, Courtney Kerr and Maria Sullivan danced on one of the mini-stages near their tables. Jewel Shona Gilbert joined them, waving her boa around.

Even guests got into the action. Or, rather, were drafted. Realtor Doris Jacobs found herself dancing on the main stage between Karen Lukin and LeeAnne Locken. Courtney left the mini-stage and headed to the big-time main stage. She waved a sign reading “Courtney Loves Family Gateway” as if she were a presidential candidate looking for votes.  

Karen Lukin, Doris Jacobs and LeeAnne Locken

Great! The luncheon started where the last one left off, with raucous singing and dancing. Now it was time for the waiters to sell silverware for tips and perform requested acts of embarrassment. Well, that’s not exactly what happened. There were savvy veteran guests like Lynn Dealey, who brought their own knives and forks. But throughout the rest of the day there were flashmobs of celeb waiters back on stage, dancing wildly. It was starting to take on the appearance of a Celebrity Entertainers Luncheon.

Instead of past luncheons, where the emcee would announce the next stunt to be performed for a tip, the developments seemed more like a three-ring circus with no rings. The roof was being raised along with the much-needed funds.

According to Family Gateway Executive Director Rob Alberts, last year’s event netted “right under $100,000,” but the demand for Family Gateway services had increased 500% in the last two years in terms of the number of families served. This day’s luncheon was the organization’s major single event. But Rob also admitted that the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon was not the norm. As he stood in the back of the room watching the over-the-top antics, he admitted that he had earlier told his staff, “The train just left the station. All we can do now is hold on.”

Hunter Sullivan and and Janet Ivy

Benny Black did a lap dance for a female guest on stage. . .Crooner Hunter Sullivan earned $150 serenading Janet Ivy. . . One of the guy waiters did an impression of Ethel Merman singing Happy Birthday. . . A fully-clothed Teresa Frosini belly danced. . . Dallas police celebrity Rich Emberlin made a thong out of yellow caution tape, when he wasn’t handcuffing people including a major law firm partner . . . Brendan chop-chopped a board with his hand. . . Reality TV

50 Shades of Fabulous waiters

personality Connie Dieb and her Fifty Shades of Fabulous entourage commandeered the mini-stage near the screen. . . Marco Rivera and Ashanti Blaize did 15 pushups on stage. . . Hamilton Sneed, Dawn Neufeld and Yolanda Banks hip-hop danced on stage. . . NFL types Marc Colombo and Ryan Neufeld did whatever they wanted. . . Dan Pritchett sans his usual hat

Jackie Pittman and Ty Treadway

brought his guitar for strumming. . . Ty Treadway, who had donned pink rabbit ears and a matching hula skirt, got on stage and slowly started stripping items off. To the disappointment of many of the ladies at his table, he stopped at opening his shirt. New mom Jackie Pittman immediately jumped up on stage for a photo with the bare-chested hunk. . . Jody Dean started to do the Centipede Dance and ended up being wheelbarrowed by LeeAnne Locken. Afterwards, Jody grabbed his stomach, confessing, “You don’t do that if you’re wearing a belt buckle.”

First-time waiter Terri Provencal admitted to being overwhelmed, saying, “Next year I’ll be a guest. I’m not good at being a waiter.”

Unfortunately, Honorary Chair Faye, who had been applauded by the celebs and treated like a princess during the lunch, was met with reality at the valet stand. She found herself among those waiting for more than half an hour for her car. Ah, how fleeting the place of honorary chair can be.

For more photos, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.