After suffering through a typical Texas summer, the sound of raindrops on roofs and being bounced about on windshields was gratifying for the landscape and monthly water bills.
On Friday, September 21, Chef Stephan Pyles was glued to his cellphone in the Dallas Arboretum’s Camp House monitoring the weather gameplan. While Oklahoma was being drenched and weather guessers were predicting a southward-bound POA, Stephan admitted that when it came to eventing in North Texas, no month except maybe August was safe from Mother Nature. Area weather guessers doffing their jackets looked like cheerleaders pointing all types of colors on their green screens..
To support the North Texas Food Bank‘s annual fundraising Harvest, he had gathered local chefs/restaurants like dessert station by Susan O’Brien/Hail Merry Snacks and savory station by Richard Triptow/Dallas Fish Market, along with Jeramie Robison/City Hall Bistro; Anthony Dispensa/The French Room; Lucy Braddock/Home Grown Market; Paula Lambert/Mozzarella Company; Meaders Ozarow/Empire Baking Company; Tida Pichakron/Haute Sweets Patisserie; Juan Pablo Silva/Ritz-Carlton Dallas; Daniel Pittman/Luck At Trinity Groves; Brian “Butta” Stalters/The Gaylord Texan; Joanne Bondy/Stocks and Bondy; Sonny Pache/Ocean Prime; Janice Provost/Parigi; Uma Iyer/Tart-a-Licious; Jacob Williamson/Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck; Alex Astani/Uchi Dallas and Uchib; John Doumas/Pop Star; Stan Rodriguez/Sixty Vines At The Crescent; Momo Sow/Le Bilboquet and Matthew Wilbur/Up On Knox.
Harvest Co-Chairs Maggie Kipp and Melinda Knowles soldiered on with plans for the 600+ guests to eat, drink and make merry. There would be no rescheduling. But some wondered what would happen if the bottom did fall out and a torrential rainstorm fell on the grounds where the chefs were to be cooking up a storm. (Sorry about that pun.)
But a stranger came to their rescue. Anna Marie Fernandez was exchanging vows the following day at the Camp House. Just to play it safe for her big day, she had a turf-covered floor and a tent extended from the terrace. The blessed bridge had the flooring and tent put into place a day ahead of time and provided it for the Harvest free of cost.
Still the weather threat dampened some folks’ plans which explained the expected turnout of 600 to be 450. But in some ways that was better. As it was the Camp House and tent were just right for the smaller crowd.
Snapshots: One fella emerging from his Mercedes looked prepared for the humidity in his black shorts… Harvest Co-Founder s Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez giggled about their matching black water wellers… Chef Joanne Brody surprised that her Jalapeño Bone Broth was both gluten- and sugar-free… Mozzarella Cheese Company’s Paula Lambert was MIA, since she was in Italy…Lora Farris describing Cattle Baron’s Ball live auction item “Castle” so jaw-dropping that mom Susan Farris and Nancy Gopez considered putting a group bid together… While the Ritz’s lion ice sculpture slowly melted away surrounded by little see-through orbs containing black ink soil with botija olive octopus and salmon rice for guests, Uchi’s tuna, herbs and fish sauce chilled with watermelon.
As for the predicted downpour, it happened. But it held back until the party ended.