Mother Nature had pushed the limit. While she boasted that she hadn’t drenched one fundraiser in 32 days, those-in-the-know just knew she couldn’t contain herself much longer.
On Thursday, October 22, she unloaded complete with her accessories thunder and lightning. The result was a back-up of cars waiting to getting to the preview festivities at Harlan Crow’s Old Parkland Part II.
Other fundraising comings and goings included:
March Of Dimes Signature Chef Auction
You could sniff the chefs at work a floor away. The scent of garlic wafted through the Omni for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. Inside the Dallas Ballroom were food stations bordering the room with chefs (Richard Blankenship of CBD Provisions, Nilton “Junior” Borges of Uchi, Donald Chalko of Texas Spice at the Omni Dallas Hotel, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House/Fish Market Grill, Samir Dhurandhar of Nick & Sam’s Grill/Steakhouse and Coal Vines, Omar Flores of Casa Rubia, Gilbert Garza of Suze Restaurant, Dwight Harvey of Off the Bone Barbeque, David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, Matt McCallister of FT33/Filament, Kent Rathbun of Kent Rathbun Concepts, Jeramie Robison of Shinsei Restaurant, Stephen Rogers of Gemma, Abraham Salum of Komali /Salum, Jim Severson of Sevy’s Grill, Nathan Tate of Boulevardier / Rapscallion, Anthony Van Camp of SĒR Steak + Spirits and Chris Vogeli of III Forks) cooking up a storm.
While some of the 650+ guests like Jenny Anchondo with fiancé Heath Oakes, Amy Green, Sandy Schwan and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus checked out the new chefs, others made a beeline to their old-time favs.
A lineup that would put the introduction of a new Apple iPhone to shame was over at Komali, where owner/chef Abraham Salum was ladling out a soup of sweet corn, chowder, cilantro, crab and pasilla chile oil with totopos.
Over at the Boulevardier and Rapscallion eateries, co-partner Bradley Anderson admitted that his main job was maintaining the quality and attributed the restaurants’ success to the chefs as well as the support staff.
Seated on a banquet, Dr. Mojan Safavi and Dr. Bardia Amirlak had different opinions on the best of the food entries. Mojan reported that her fav dish of the evening was the Pancetta Wrapped Pig-A-Loaf from Hotel Zaza’s Dragonfly, while Bardia voted for the Green Chile Shrimp from Sevy’s.
Speaking of Sevy’s, while Chef Jim Severson had his hands full serving guests, wife Amy Severson reported that the twosome was headed to the coast to satisfy Jim’s love of fishing. BTW, Amy is working on a book on Dallas restaurant history with D Magazine’s Nancy Nichols.
Signature Chef Chieftain Kent Rathbun, who once again curated the March of Dimes fundraiser, fessed up that he had indeed lost some weight. To be exact it was 85 pounds. And, yes, he still wanted to lose 50 more pounds. When asked his original weight before the reductions, he wasn’t fessing up. As a comeback, he was asked if being a chef was tough in trying to lose weight. He answered, “Heck, yes! But you’re surrounded by the best food.”
Getting back to the evening’s purpose, Kent reported, “We came in the door with more money than we ever had before, so it’s gonna be a great night!”
First Sight First Night Patron Party
Just across Flora from the Margot and William Winspear Opera House, the Dallas Opera’s First Sight First Night (FSFN) patron party was taking place in the brand-spanking new Halls Arts lobby.
The pouring rains tested the resolve of the 90 opera lovers. The valet line took a while. The reason was with only one umbrella available, the valets could only escort guests one at a time to an elevator that took them to the Plaza level. There, Dallas Opera Development Director Tracy Mott with umbrella in hand escorted them to the front door.
But once inside it was well worth the effort. There they discovered flutes of champagne and wine, fabulous surroundings and host Craig Hall doing double-duty, since wife Kathryn Hall was in New York City. He was busting with pride about his new building, saying that it was 74% occupied. However, the top floors are still available. Craig reported that the building will soon have a restaurant and eventually a nearby hotel.
When asked about the building’s red lights that night, he reported that it was in honor of the opera and that the evening’s event was the first one for the building that included Roxanne and Gene Phillips, Jolie and Bart Humphrey, Nick Even, Sara and David Martineau, John Cody, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Diane and Hal Brierley on their way from the Old Parkland opening along with Lynn and Allan McBee.
FSFN Co-Chair Don Winspear, whose mother Margot Winspear had just passed away, told Paul Divis and Steve Stodghill, “Grief is the price that we pay for love.”
Speaking of Steve, he lost 40 pounds this summer and has fully recovered from his automobile accident that had a 12-foot-long steel pipe slide off a truck in from of him and impale his Mercedes SL500 convertible, barely missing him. Despite the destruction of his car, he’s more devoted to Mercedes than ever. He also noted that as part of his recovery, he learned that in rehab one of the challenges was remembering certain nouns.
With artist Richard Long’s mammoth “big white wreath” made of mud as a backdrop (yes, it’s actually made of mud), Don kicked off the evening’s program thanking NorthPark Center for its support for the First Night sell-out. Craig told how the building had been in the works since 1995. Much to the delight of the guests, The Dallas Opera Executive Director/CEO Keith Cerny reported that for the third year in a row, the company was in the black.
To cap off the evening, “Great Scott”/”Tosca” soprano Ailyn Perez performed, leading off with “Summertime.”