At the Dallas Arboretum‘s Sixth Annual Food and Wine Festival on Thursday, March 23, Chef Sharon Van Meter took a pause from the hustle-bustle to chuckle about her service as the festival’s Chef Chair once again. “I’ve done it every year,” she said. “And believe it or not, every year I say, ‘I’m not doing it.’ Then I do it!”
Sharon had to be pleased she signed on again, as a whopping 1,700 people showed up this year for the event, which was held during the height of an especially glorious Dallas Blooms display. From the cherry blossoms to the azaleas and the tulips, one Arboretum insider exclaimed, “Everything bloomed at the same time!”
As always, the food and libations equaled the flowers as big draws at the fundraiser, presented this time around by Dallas Southwest Osteopathic Physicians on a perfect spring evening. Even the day’s threat of rain held off for the night of strolling, sipping and sampling.
At the VIP reception starting at 6 p.m. in A Tasteful Place, for example, 300 guests sampled an array of light bites like the tiger rolls from Sushi Rock’s Mark Tungcmittrong, with Ebesu’s Koji Yoshida giving them a thumbs-up. Across the way Encina’s Chef Matt Balke and Jose’s Chef Anastacia Quinones were serving up delights while glasses of champagne, courtesy of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, were being poured for guests who also got a chance to win a big bottle of Jon Bon Jovi’s Hampton Water Rose wine.
Over at Rosine Hall, meanwhile, as Nick and Sam’s Chef John Kleifgen and Chef Eric Dreyer of Monarch were dishing out goodies, Parigi’s Chef Janet Provost was offering samples of Brussels Sprouts, Marcona almonds, candied bacon and scallions topped with vinaigrette. She updated the status of fellow Chef Abraham Salum‘s restaurant, which was recovering from a recent rainstorm that forced him to put up a temporary out-of-order sign. Plans call for Salum to be up and running in a few weeks.
Still more treats awaited on Rosine Terrace, in the Visitor Education Pavilion, and under the Entry Plaza tent. There, Chef Mollie Guerra of Chef Mollie G: Custom Catering and Skye Segovia were handing out small plates that included “tongue-in-cheek barbacoa,” while Chef Jeramie Robinson of the Catbird at Dallas’ Thompson Hotel was plating a smoked short-ribs dish.
Not to be outdone, the terrace found baskets of chipotle chili and Himalayan pink salt chocolates offered by Sanne S. Bogart, chocolatier and wine cellar manager for CocoaVina, which specializes in hand-made, high-quality, all-natural chocolate. Still another sweetie at her station was Chef Dunia Borga of La Duni Baking Studio, showing off her mouth-watering Cuatro Leches Jar Cake (she says she sells as many as 200 jars of the cake each day). A stone’s throw away was Megan Briggs of Willamette Valley Vineyards. She was born and raised in Oregon, but said she loves it in Dallas.
For those who were hankering for barbecue, Off The Bone Chef Dwight Harvey and his team of wife Rose Harvey, Glenn Williams, Kelan Williams, Luz Perez, and Maribel Galindo had folks lined up.
While the VIP-ers were tasting and sipping as the sun prepared to set, an additional 1,400 general admission folks lined up for the general admission event getting underway at 7 p.m. Needless to say, no one left the Arboretum hungry or with parched throats.
Additional food and wine sponsors for the festival were Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef, Southern Glazer’s and Amegy Bank. Presenting sponsor for Dallas Blooms was Veritex Community Bank, with additional sponsors including CC Young, Dallas Public Tourism Improvement District and Texas Telecom Credit Union.