On Friday, March 1, the sun was shining. There was just enough chill in the air to make a hot soup win over an iceberg salad. The perfect day for the North Texas Food Bank‘s Empty Bowls program.
At the Meyerson, the marble floors and the limestone walls were like a gift box brimming with all types of activity and aromas. Inside the concert hall a recording session was underway. But the lobby was filling with the scent of delicious blendings of soups. Set up on both the levels there were bowls up for bidding and loads of stations including Aw Shucks, Blue Mesa Grill, Bread Winners Café and Bakery, Café Brazil, Celebration Market and Restaurant, The Common Table, Cook Hall, Dining at the Meyerson, Empire Baking Company, Kroger, la Madeleine, McAlister’s Deli, My Fit Foods, North Texas Food Bank Community Kitchen, Panera, ReMARKable Affairs Catering, Royal Cup Coffee, Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crab House, West End Pub and Wolfgang Puck Catering.
In the underground lobby were volunteers like Cindy Kelley, Ginny Marsh, Linda Gossett and Angela Gallia unpacking bowls that would be given to each patron.
Last year they ran out of bowls. This year organizers were determined that all would leave with a bowl.
In the lobby the lineup of silent auction bowls was being given a final once-over. North Texas Food Bank President/CEO Jan Pruitt was meeting with Kroger’s Gary Huddleston. Dallas pottery godfather John Williams with his gray ponytail was proud of what has been accomplished since the first Empty Bowls benefiting the North Texas Food Bank 14 years ago.
John didn’t start out to help kick-start the program. No, as a matter of fact he want to SMU and earned a business marketing degree. Upon graduation he told his dad that he wanted to be a potter. His dad told him to charge ahead.
Empty Bowls didn’t start in Dallas, but when John learned about the program, he knew Dallas was ripe for it. The area potters plus wood turners and artisans started turning out bowls and area restaurants and Kroger pitched in. And even though John and his wife, Darlene, sold their Trinity Ceramics, they are just active as ever including daughter Angela Gallia.
As some folks waited outside for the doors to officially open at 11, those who paid $100 got an early entry to check out the bowls. Unfortunately, the trusty Meyerson staffers were a little too vigilant in separating the chaff from the grain, as volunteers had to prove that they were allowed to enter certain areas. Others were bounced from one security group to another trying to cross the velvet ropes.
This year organizers expected 1,600 to attend with a goal of $150,000. Instead 1,700 souped and they raised $156,396. That means NTFB will be able to provide 469,188 meals to the North Texas community.
BTW, this year a new opportunity was offered for guests — Empty Bowls People’s Choice Award. Guests could vote on their favorite soup, bread or dessert. Smart thinking! Why? Because each vote cost a buck with a five-vote minimum. And the winner was? You’ll have to follow the jump to find out!
Bread Winners Café’s Chicken Enchilada Soup with Chili Jack Tostada took the prize!