Jerry Jones‘ legendary War Room at Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters was the location for another big draft on Tuesday, January 23. It was the site of KidLinks‘ Symphony of Chefs pick chefs for the annual fundraiser that will be held on Monday, February 26 at Sixty Five Hundred. Here’s a report from the field:
When your chef selection is set to be conducted draft style, what better location than the state-of-the-art War Room at the newly opened Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, The Star, to conduct it in. And that’s exactly what happened on the evening of Tuesday, January 23, as VIP sponsors and patrons gathered for a private party to select their table chefs for the 8th Annual Symphony of Chefs benefiting KidLinks.
Hosted by The Dallas Cowboys And Legends Hospitality, the 2018 VIP Patron And Chef Selection party paid homage to the upcoming draft that Jerry Jones and his team will soon be conducting for the fall football season. But this time Tiffany Derry from Bravo TV “Top Chef All-Stars and Top Chef Junior” fame led the charge in conducting a 23 table and chef selection event.
As guests including Ann and J.W. Brown, Aimee and Adam Hall, Mike Dollar and wife Karen and Founding Event Co-Chairs Bonnie and Nathan Shea began to gather in the stunning grand atrium of The Star for VIP guided tours, they were immediately enamored by the dancing LED sculpture by artist Leo Villareal taking selfies and Instagram videos for their social media followers to see.
Following the early tour that lasted about 45 minutes and still didn’t cover all of the history, memorabilia and art in the building guests made their way to The Training Table event space for much needed cocktails featuring Tequila Sheela and J.R. Ewing Bourbon. They were greeted with passed appetizers by Executive Chef Orazio Lamana that even included two select Whole30 items for those guests partaking in the health-craze sweeping the nation. As more guests and chefs arrived including Fitzgerald Dodd, former The Cedar’s Social executive chef now turned private chef Justin Box, Anastacia Quiñones of Oddfellows and Nick And Sam’s Steakhouse newest executive chef John Kleifgen, you could tell everyone was anxious to be selected but eager to get the evening started. A preview booklet of each chefs menu floated around the room from guest to guest and you could hear the chatter from table hosts about who they might select and which menus sounded the most enticing.
Just before the program began, the queen of steaks as she’s called, Dee Lincoln and her executive chef T.J. Lengnick left a packed restaurant and walked over from her namesake Dee Lincoln Prime to join in the evening’s fun. Following a few words of welcome, a story about a recent KidLinks client family by CEO Diana Crawford, some praises given to the many sponsors in the room and recognition of the 29 participating chefs that give of their time and talents, it was now time for the draft! Yet sponsors had no clue what was about to happen.
As they were guided through the building, up a set of marble stairs and down a short hallway, the sponsors soon found out that they were headed to the infamous War Room. A place where lives are changed forever when they get “the call”, the War Room was set-up for each sponsor representative to pick who would be cooking on Monday, February 26, at Sixty Five Hundred for their table of 10 guests. With chef pictures on one side and sponsor names on the other, the interactive video wall that covered the entire front wall was set-up for a selection experience that sponsors would soon not forget. The fun was just beginning. Meanwhile, a live video feed soon appeared on the screens where the remaining guests and chefs in the event space could see and hear everything going on in the room where it happens.
Soon after explaining how the draft would be handled, a rousing banter among chefs, guests and sponsors commenced. There were even financial challenges and draft seats being given up raising an extra $5K+ on the spot for the charity. With the first draft pick being “purchased” by Honorary Chair Faye C. Briggs’ son, Mike Montgomery (who also happens to be serving as Event Chair with his wife Vinette Montgomery), the first chef selected was celebrity chef Ken Patrick best known for his appearance on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. The draft continued with selections including Tre Wilcox, Gorji from Canary by Gorji, Joanne Bondy from Stocks and Bondy plus 20 plus other featured dinner chefs until all chefs were selected.
As the evening came to an end, it was clear that Vinette and Mike along with their Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons had scored a touchdown with the VIP Patron party. Talks about how to top it next year were well under way, but until the 26th of February comes and goes the focus was on selling two more additional tables. So the event chairs work wasn’t done yet and table hosts had some work to do by figuring out whom they wouldn’t be inviting to dine with them in February.
For more information about KidLinks and the Symphony of Chefs evening of culinary composition event and the participating chefs visit www.thekidlinks.org./soc.html.
* Photo credit: Thomas Garza