Thursday, October 26, was the loneliest night of the year at MySweetCharity International headquarters. No one was there. All elves, including interns and retirees, were dispensed to every ZIP code around to cover the countless events for nonprofits on this night. We are pleased to report that all elves eventually made it back, but they’re demanding that Red Bull on the go be provided in the future and Botox treatments be made available.
VNA’s Real Cooking with Kevin Gillespie
While some guests toured the Meal on Wheels Kitchen at the Visiting Nurse Association Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Center before noon, others stood in line. No, not for food. Rather, it was to have their copy, or rather copies, of “Fire in My Belly” by the chef/author Kevin Gillespie. Followers of Bravo’s “Top Chef” were prepared for the tattoo-decorated arms of the chef/author. Others couldn’t help their eyes making a first stop at the wild boar and copperhead snake tats. But as soon as they got past the decorative arms, they eye-locked with the young Southern chef who was the show’s fan fav.
But he wasn’t at the VNA Center to just sign autographs. Kevin was the centerpiece of a luncheon benefiting the VNA’s Meals on Wheels. Why, he was even going to demonstrate one of his recipes complete with overhead mirror, so all could see the step-by-step procedures.
After Luncheon Chair Sara Fraser Crismon welcomed one and all including her sis Beth Enloe, brother-in-law Ted Enloe, niece Rebecca Fletcher, Honorary Chair Caren Prothro, Lyda Hill, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Patsy Donosky, Billie Leigh Rippey, Lottye Brodsky and Suzanne McGee, it was time for the cooking lesson for the 160 guests.
And what did he cook up? Buttermilk biscuits. Oh. . . really? What’s so tricky about making biscuits? Obviously, some folks had never tried their hand only to fail, or had never had a truly memorable biscuit. Within a half hour, Kevin with his boyish charm wove tales of his life in with tricks of the trade in biscuit making, resulting in a dying desire for one of the buttery confections. For instance?
- Use disposable gloves when working with the ingredients.
- Always use the coldest butter and buttermilk possible.
- Don’t chop up your butter. Grate the butter with a cheese grater. That’s why it helps to have cold bars of butter.
- Use real, unsalted butter.
- Beat your dough flat with your hands. In addition to prepping the dough, it helps you work out the frustrations of the day.
- When punching the biscuit out, most people put the cutter into the dough and twist. Do NOT twist. Rather, dunk your biscuit cutter in flour and push it straight down into the dough. That’s it. You cut all of your biscuits, then pull the loose dough away leaving the cut-out biscuits. “By twisting it, what you do is you’re actually forcing the outside to close up. If you push straight down, you leave holes behind and those holes allow the air to escape and allow it to rise. If you twist the cutter, it’s like sealing it up. It’s like making a pretzel.” A manicured eyebrow salute was seen throughout the crowd.
Shoot, after watching and listening to Kevin, all anyone wanted was a light, buttery biscuit. And what was the first thing to emerge from the kitchen? Platters stacked with biscuits followed by a full luncheon.
Ah, those VNA folks know how to tantalize and fulfill. They should. They provide over one million meals every year to seniors in Dallas.
15th Anniversary Signature Chefs Auction
The day truly proved that Dallasites love to eat. However, hardly a chef was to be found that evening. It seemed like they were all down at the Omni Dallas thanks to Lead Chef Kent Rathbun. He had rounded up chefs Scott Gottlich (Bijoux), Eric Brandt (Bistro 31), Jeff Harris (Bolsa), Richard Chamberlain (Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fishmarket Grill), Mike Sindoni (Charlie Palmer at the Joule), David Holben (Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House), Abraham Salum (Salum and Komali), Kevin Garvin and Anita Hirsch (Neiman Marcus restaurants), Samir Dhurandhar (Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse), Dwight Harvey (Off the Bone Barbeque), Cameron Handler (Pyramid Restaurant & Bar), Bruno Davaillion (Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek), Joel Harloff (The Second Floor Bistro & Bar), Anthony Van Camp (SET Steak + Spirits), Jim Severson with wife Amy at his side (Sevy’s Grill), Shuji Sugawara (Shinsei Restaurant), Stephan Pyles (Stephan Pyles Concepts), Gilbert Garza (Suze Restaurant), Jason Weaver (Texas Spice), Marcelo Vazquez (T/X Restaurant) and Tre Wilcox (Village Marquee Grill and Bar). Some of these chefs have supported Kent from the beginning and deserved a group hug.
This was the first time that the huge fundraising eat-athon for the March of Dimes had taken place at the Omni and it really was rather spectacular for the 850 guests including Barbara Daseke soloing it, Mark Edgar talking politics, Kathleen and Robert Gibson checking out the various stations and Nancy Gopez sans camera. From an elegant lounge with oh-so comfy couches to dramatic lighting, the mega-room seemed like a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds and “smells.”
While Stephan Pyles himself had to bow out due to “something about opening a new restaurant,” Kent was pleased that his brother Kevin had joined him in preparing venison meatball carbonara. Of course, Kent’s son Max was on the scene better looking than ever.
But it wasn’t all chefs cooking and guests eating. The exercise of the night was auctioneering with Louis Murad and his posse ramrodding the unique live auction. Oh, and what packages they were and what they went for. Why, Kent’s “Taste of the Derby,” which included five days and four night at the Hyatt Place Louisville East Hotel for the Kentucky Derby, transportation via private aircraft catered by Kent, a reserved box at the Derby plus great food, went for a record-breaking amount of $62,500 — “the highest winning live auction bid” in the event’s history.
Then there was the Fund the Mission in which guests raised bid cards at various levels of financial support ranging from $100 to $10,000. This one brought in $129,000.
Before the night was over and the aroma had cleared from the ballroom, Event Chairs Diane Brierley, Shannon Brame, Anita Braun and Dean McSherry had raised $610,000.
One can only imagine what Kent, 2012 Event Chairs Tracy and Jay Bell and Drs. Lisa and David Genecov are planning for “sweet 16,” when the Signature Chefs will return to the Omni on Saturday , October 24, to cook, auction and raise more money for the March of Dimes 75th anniversary celebration.
The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Underwriters’ Party
T. Boone Pickens is busier nowadays than a presidential candidate. But unlike the types looking for votes of approval, Boone is being swamped with honors. But this one is really special. On Monday, November 19, he’ll be honored at The Senior Source‘s Spirit of Generations Awards Luncheon.
To get things rolling the luncheon’s underwriter party sponsored by Capital One Bank was held at Debbie Oates‘s marvelous Preston Hollow home. Oh, so perfect for any occasion except when all the guests want to stay in the entry. That was the problem. But who was complaining when Luncheon Chair Extraordinaire Nancy Carter all in red is at the front door making “gracious” seem easy or mixing it up with Christie Carter fresh from producing the Crystal Charity Ball’s Circle of Angels dinner, Lee Ann and Alan White on their way to a dinner engagement and luncheon underwriting chair Emilynn and Claude Wilson promising the final results from the Kidney Texas luncheon.
Attitudes & Attire Announcement
Dr. Sandra Chapman was indeed a busy girl this week. In addition to running the Center for BrainHealth, Tuesday she oversaw the Legacy Dinner honoring Daryl Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan. But this evening the tables were turned on her at Maggiano’s at NorthPark Center by Attitudes and Attire Executive Director/Founder Lyn Berman. It was announced that “Sandi” would receive the Kim Dawson Award at the annual luncheon and fashion show at the Dallas TradeMart on Friday, March 1.
It was also revealed that Dallas designer Michael Faircloth would be the event’s honorary chair. Funds raised from the luncheon/show help the personal growth of women seeking self-sufficiency through traditional job training, positive self-image, appropriate workplace behavior and appearance.
Cancer Support Community Young Leadership Board’s Rock the Red Door
The last little elf turned in this report:
Halloween came early at House of Blues Thursday night. Over 350 party goers dressed as all things 80’s–from aerobics maniacs to glam rockers–attended the Cancer Support Community Young Leadership Board’s annual fundraiser, Rock the Red Door.
Emcee Chace Crawford, Gossip Girl star — also Tony Romo‘s brother-in-law — spent the greater part of the evening graciously taking photos with guests. Stoli provided the evening’s signature drink named The Chaser after guess who… The always fun Spazmatics had the crowd of Don Johnsons and Madonnas, along with lots of leg-warmers and hair bows, dancing the night away!
Event chairmen, Meredith and Rand Wrighton, promised a “totally gnarly 8o’s Halloween bash complete with wicked tunes, righteous food and drinks and some sweet auction items” such as 2 tickets to The Late Show with David Letterman, 2 tickets to NYC Fashion Week and Tony Romo signed memorabilia.”
They delivered! The party scheduled to end at eleven — after all, it was a week night — rocked on considerably later.
Sponsors for 2012 Rock the Red Door benefiting Cancer Support Community included Steve Brown, Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation, Grant Thornton, Meredith and Rand Wrighton, SLALOM Consulting, Park Place Volvo and Starwood Motors.
* Photo provided by Attitudes and Attire
** Photo provided by Cancer Support Community