Public relations gurus Lisa and Marvin Singleton had used all their talents and pull on Friday, September 20. Their goal was to negotiate with Mother Nature to shift the winds and drenching rains of Hurricane Imelda away from the Dallas Arboretum. After all, the Singletons didn’t want Imelda to rain on their parade … or rather, their 2019 Harvest fundraiser for the North Texas Food Bank at the Arboretum.
Just the day before, NTFB had topped the North Texas Giving Day leader board with $$805,999.
Evidently the Singleton couple did have the connections. The result was a last-minute reconfiguration of the Harvest arrangements. Instead of seeking shelter within Rosine Hall, they were able to take over A Tasteful Place from the Ginsburg Family Plaza to the Barbara and Bob Bigham Scenic Overlook. Adding to the fun and the season was the cast of thousands of pumpkins and other gourds that were part of the 2019 Autumn at the Arboretum. Even the Harvest sponsor board got into the feel, with slats boasting the sponsors.
As for the chefs, they were all over the place. Inside the Donald and Charlotte Test Pavilion, Parigi’s Janice Provost couldn’t believe her team was lucky enough to be in door, away from the wind. Janice recalled the year before trying to serve guests in a tent just off the Camp House… The Henry’s Imsub Lee was doing a fish-to-tarts offering with Yellow Fin Tuna and a Rocky Road Bar… Rosewood Ranches Texas Raised Wagyu Beef and Kamp Fire’s Paul Try and Malinda and Kevin Top were providing Sach Ko Jakak (Cambodian beef sticks with “Rosewood Ranch” American Wagyu marinated in green Kroeung and grilled over mesquite wood), Bai Cha (Fried rice yellow Kroeung, egg, peas and carrots) and Bok La Hong (Spicy green papaya salad).
Just past Edgar Flores‘ pastries were The Mansion’s Chef Sebastien Archambault, Jacquelynn Beckman, Christy Mann and Chaz Renfro. Also on board was Mansion Director of Operation Ryan Harvey, who just the night before had been partying at The Eye for Leukemia Texas’s Concert for a Cure with Pat Green on stage. Ever the George Strait fan, Ryan showed his most recent shot with his brother and King George. It seems that the entire Harvey family are loyal Straiters. In introducing his new sis-in-law Shawna Kennedy-Harvey, Ryan proudly reported that Shawna had passed the Strait test before joining the Harvey clan.
Outside, Home Grown and other food stations were set up among the edible vegetation. Casey Bunch, who is now at The Adolphus, was helping City Hall’s Jeramie Robison serve up salmon crudo with lemon, serrano, cantaloupe and smoked trout roe. Cracked Jeramie: “I’m getting high on my own supply.”
At the top of the steps leading to the Plaza was DJ Lucy Wrubel, who was in top-notch form entertaining VIP guests with tunes and laughs. Meantime, NTFB President and CEO Trisha Cunningham was exuberant, not only about the event’s attendance — more than 540 — but by prospects for meeting its fundraising goal of $300,000.