As fabulous as the newly reconfigured Village Dallas has been, the grounds never looked more ideal than on Friday, October 20, for DIFFA Dallas‘ 14th Annual Burgers And Burgundy. Adding to the visual beauty was the aroma arising from the ten chefs’ stations serving up … burgers, of course.
In addition to the people watching and the downing of burgers were the evening announcements that included the presentation of the 2024 DIFFA Dallas Style Council members and plans for the 2024 House of DIFFA at the Sheraton Dallas on Saturday, April 27. Here’s a report from the field:
DIFFA Dallas hosted a truly unforgettable evening showcasing culinary expertise, extraordinary flavors, and profound commitment to changing lives at its 14th Annual Burgers and Burgundy event on Friday, October 20, at The Village Dallas.
This culinary extravaganza, presented by the renowned Michelin™ Star Chef John Tesar, united a prestigious lineup of celebrity chefs from the heart of Dallas. Bringing together passionate foodies, philanthropists, and advocates, including Michael Buss, Ken Weber, Darrin Stracener, Rodrigo Orta and LeeAnne Locken, for a common cause.
Burgers and Burgundy is the kick-off to DIFFA Dallas’ fundraising season, which continues with their Holiday Wreath Collection on Thursday, November 16, and culminates with their annual gala, House of DIFFA in the spring.
Masterful Chefs who participated included John Tesar – Knife, Rodman Shields – DEA, John Kleifgen – Nick and Sam’s, Shaun Hinson – Toussaint Brasserie, Alda Boiani – 12 Cuts Steak House, Jessica Cortes – Hamburger Mary’s, Nick Walker – Meridian, Matthew Zita – Neiman Marcus, Jay Valley – Saint Rocco’s and Jacob Williamson – The Saint. Each chef showcased their unique spin on the perfect slider, thoughtfully paired with wines to complement.
While guests like Mara Pinney, Ali Resor and Tanner Sinclair enjoyed their burgers and wine under the stars, they got to participate in an exciting raffle with a range of luxurious prizes, including a weeklong vacation to Cabo San Lucas, exclusive chef experience at Chef John Tesar’s Knife restaurant, and two VIP, front-row tickets for each night at Fashion X Dallas in November.
DIFFA Board Member Payton Martin and Barringer Couvillon enjoyed the lounge areas throughout the space and had the opportunity to participate in the wine pull, where they could go home with a delicious bottle of wine. Guests Clint Thomson and David Putnam enjoyed the VIP area and specialty cocktails, including Lemonade Blush, Golden Hour and Mule Delight.
Local Drag Stars Leyla Edwards and Liquor Mini walked around showcasing the House of DIFFA Car auction raffle tickets to guests, including David White and Dr. Michael Lunardon. The grand prize is $55,000 towards any vehicle of the winner’s choice from any Sewell Dealership in the DFW area. The winner will be announced at the spring gala event.
Halfway through the evening, Burgers and Burgundy Co-Chairs David Hernandez and Rhiannon Bolen took to the stage to welcome guests to the event and thank the special people who contributed to the success of this event.
“There would be no Burgers and Burgundy without John Tesar and Terri Provencal,” Hernandez said. “Their continued stewardship of this event has allowed it to grow in amazing ways. We are especially grateful to the incredible chefs who have prepared delicious sliders tonight!”
They then thanked sponsors Champion Health Care, Crown Royal, Identity, Mara’s Med Spa and Ray Scott for their immense support of this event. They also thanked Jackson Durham, 44 Farms, Empire Baking Company, Dedon, Ben E. Keith, Pit Fit Dallas, Times Ten Cellars, Starbucks, FestEvents and Wow Me! Events. The co-chairs lastly extended a huge thank you to The Village Dallas for hosting the event on the Glen Lawn.
DIFFA Board Members Robbie Kruithoff and J.R. Hernandez took the microphone to thank all the attendees for supporting DIFFA Dallas and the LGBTQ+ community by raising funds to support AIDS Services Organizations in North Texas.
“Because of our incredible sponsors and patrons, in August, we were able to present grants to 23 deserving groups who dedicate their work to supporting HIV/AIDS patients and families,” Kruithoff said. He then introduced a video showcasing grant beneficiaries, Bryan’s House, Cathedral of Hope and Dallas Hope Charities.
2023 Style Council Chair Steve Lopez then took to the stage to announce the select group of social, civil, and business leaders that make up the DIFFA Dallas Style Council. Style Council Ambassadors play a crucial role in DIFFA’s efforts to raise the critical funds needed to support the organization’s grant philosophy of closing the gap left by insufficient and declining government funding, culminating with a walk down the runway at House of DIFFA.
“We are so excited that this group of 19 people will be helping us make a direct and impactful contribution to the many deserving AIDS service organizations in North Texas,” Lopez said.
The 2024 DIFFA Dallas Style Council Includes:
- Emily Ackerman – Director of Business Development at Lane Gorman Trubitt
- Cynthia Bailey – Commercial Real Estate Broker
- Brandon Bell – Vice President Of Exxir
- Jenny Bivins – Interior Designer
- Justin Chavez – “Part-Time Justin” on the Kidd Kraddick Morning
- Emily Dawson – Wardrobe Stylist
- Melissa Ellis – Sculptural Oil Painter
- Tiffany Forsberg – Jewelry Designer
- Alexa Gooden – Wife, Mom and Community Advocate
- Carrie Hammonds – Real Estate Broker and Investor
- Tommy Hanson– CBS News Now Anchor
- Brad Pritchett and David Chadd – Chief Experience Officer, Dallas Museum of Art and Interior Designer and Artist
- Nic Rejcek – Artistic Entrepreneur
- Philip Vanderford – Founder / Principal Designer at Studio Thomas James
- Kameron Westcott – Content Creator and Television Personality
- Daniel Blaylock-Napolitan – Celebrity Makeup Artist/Hairstylist
- Jodi Kahn- Vice President of Luxury Fashion at Neiman Marcus
The crowd then turned their attention to the screens to watch a promo video revealing the 2024 House of DIFFA theme, House of DIFFA: Royalty Untamed. The event’s Co-Chairs Tim Garippa and Jacob Samson took to the stage to excite the crowd about the spring fashion event.
“There has been a lot of progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the 80s, but we still have a way to go,” Garippa said. “In our eyes, everyone that has joined in this fight is royalty in their own right, and this year, we will celebrate them and you.”
Garippa asked Samson, “What do you think you’ll wear this year?” Samson replied, “I’m debating if I should channel my inner cheetah from the animal kingdom or pull out a crown like a royal court member.”
Garippa announced that tables for the event were now available for purchase, and if guests reserved during the weekend, they would get a free ticket for the luxury car raffle. He then thanked the returning title sponsor for House of DIFFA, the Louis L. Borick Foundation.
House of DIFFA: Royalty Untamed will be held on Saturday, April 27, at the Sheraton Dallas. For more information about the event and updates on future DIFFA Dallas initiatives and events, please visit www.diffadallas.org.
* Photo credit: Francesca Nelo ** Photo credit: Allison David