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.
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.
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.
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.
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