I'm always so proud when my Chef is written about in some form or fashion. Over the last few years, as the Executive Chef of some pretty great restaurants here in Dallas, Chad's had so many opportunities to take part in a number of great and note worthy events and fundraisers. Last week he joined a whole slew of top notch Dallas chefs for Soup's On!, a fundraiser for Stewpot Alliance. Apparently it was one of the best turn outs they've had since its creation!
To read more articles featured on My Sweet Charity, who ran this story online yesterday, check them out HERE!!
Besides the beneficiary and the support of First Presbyterian Church, the one common factor of the years has been the dedication of the participating chefs. And while the guests like Robyn and Don Conlon and their family, Fred Hegi, Hayley Hamilton, Gary Cogill, Erin Mathews, David Nichols, Brent Christopherand Sarah Nelson checked out and bid on the amazing piece of art by Stewpot artisans, the chefs (ChefRandall Copeland of Restaurant Ava, Chef Bruno Davaillon of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, ChefOmar Flores of Driftwood, Chef Keith Hanks of The Capital Grille, Chef Al Havens of Salum, Chef Jason Maddy of Oak, Chef Danyele McPherson of The Grape, Chef Chad Kelley of Café Pacific, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Anastasia Quiñones of Komali, Chef Abraham Salum of Salum, Chef Nathan Tateof Boulevardier and Chef Host Jason Weaver of Omni Dallas Hotel) assembled in the kitchen with Chef General Brian Luscher going over the POA. He advised his team of top-notch chefs that everything would go according to plan, because “these folks have schedules.” He and the others had made arrangements for almost any situation. If there was a guest who was vegetarian, there was a soup for that one. If someone was lactose intolerant, there was another soup prepared and ready to be served. Each chef had not only prepared enough soup for 60-70 people, they had also provided their recipes to be given to the guests.
Then they were all off to their stations for final arrangements. Well, almost all of them. The three lady chefs (Danyele, Janice and Anastasia) huddled to see the newest members of the Dallas culinary scene — Anastasia’s four-week-old baby daughter, Isabella. No, the baby wasn’t there, but mom had plenty of photos on her smartphone to show off the most adorable baby with the fattest cheeks. It was Anastasia’s first day away from the baby.
While the chefs prepared for the soup presentation, guest speaker Wes Moore chatted with Honorary Co-chairs Joan and Elvis Mason. The Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and
Visual Arts Varsity Choir performed magnificently. After buttonholing Wes, Karen James tried and tried to find her table. First Presbyterian’s Rev. Dr. Joe Clifford and his wife Jennifer chatted
with Dallas Morning News columnist/emcee Steve Blow. Hockadaisies (Hockaday students) had floor plans ready to advise guests where their tables were.
The room started filling with the aroma of soup, as bowls of soup were presented to the tables. The sound of spoons and china coming together was heard as guests lapped up the last bits of their soup. “Oh, WOW!” was heard throughout the room.
Then it was on with the show recognizing some of the notables in the audience, including Mayor Mike Rawlings. Rev. Clifford advised the crowd that if all things went according to Trish’s and Kay’s plan, Soup’s On! would cross the million-dollar mark. Trish and Kay announced that Gail Davis would be chairing the luncheon next year. They also revealed that guests were in store for more goodies in addition to the chefs’ recipes. They would be taking home soup bowls designed by the Saturday School Children and a commemorative coin that sculptor Brad Oldham had created in honor of Soup’s On!
What they didn’t reveal is that Brad also created spoon sculptures to be presented to each of the chefs.
As the chefs were announced and entered via the back of the ballroom, all were cheered with some receiving high-fives as they passed friends.
Then it was time for the chefs to get back to their restaurants after a group shot, and for the guests to enjoy the entree course and speaker Wes, who told of his journey from a challenging childhood to a success story of today unlike a young man, who was also named Wes Moore, but is spending the rest of his life in jail. It was the same talk that he gave last June for Jonathan’s Place, but the passion and inspiration were still amazing. At points in his talk when he would pause, the silence in the room was breathtaking. The room was devoid of even the sound of coffee cups being returned to their saucers.
What was the highlight of his talk? Expectations. As Wes told the group, it’s not a question of not living up to one’s expectations. That was the problem. Both of the Weses lived up to their expectations. Each man’s expectation was just different.
With that in mind, the luncheon proved that the Stewpot Alliance expectations are not only “lived up to,” they’re surpassed every year, thanks to volunteers, sponsors, patrons and the chefs of Dallas.