Food For Thought 2011at Tower Club Raises Funds For Big Thought

My Award for Best Display Goes To Gigi's Cupcakes

There was a full house Saturday night at The Tower Club for Food for Thought, an annual charity fundraiser hosted by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. The beneficiary was Big Thought, a charity whish “is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits focused on building partnerships that allow all children access to quality learning opportunities.”Their mission: “to make imagination a part of everyday learning — we do our work so that children have opportunities to become imaginative, adaptable and productive adults, resulting in stronger communities and a more capable future workforce. We do this because we believe that every child and family should be immersed in opportunities to imagine, create and succeed”. Big Thought programs are accomplished both at schools and after school hours in the broader community.”

This is the third such event hosted by the DAYL. Each year, Food for Thought honors a local civic leader with the Gavel of Excellence award for significant contributions of service made to our community. This year’s recipient Daryl “Moose” Johnston was honored with  the Gavel of Excellence Award for his work with SLANT 45: Service Learning Adventures of North Texas. Created to utilize Super Bowl XLV for inspiration to get kids to design and implement volunteer projects throughout North Texas. The three time Dallas Cowboy, Super Bowl winning fullback and NFL commentator more than doubled the original goal with his outstanding leadership, resulting in 44,140 North Texas youth donating 445,418 hours of community service. Previous Gavel of Excellence award recipients include Jim Keyes, former CEO of Blockbuster and Ebby Halliday.

The chefs taking part were also a parade of stars. Here they are with apologies to them if I butchered the names of their dishes. These were transcribed from a voice recording made in the hurly-burly of the event. Jump.

Richard Blankenship (Charlie Palmer's) at work. He had a stunning Parmesan in his dish which is used at the restaurant.

Richard Blankenship, Charlie Palmer at The Joule. Ricotta stuffed pasta with baby vegetables (zucchini and carrots), black garlic and parmesan.

Scott Blankenship, The Tower Club. Duo of veal, summer squash ragu, heirloom tomatoes, red wine demiglasse and watercress.

Wilfredo Calderon, Chiloso Mexican Bistro. Grilled Avocado topped with lime juice and butter. Stuffed with scrambled egg, chorizo and New Mexico green chilies. Grilled potatoes with sautéed onions.

Khanh Dao, Pho Colonial. Gỏi Gà. Thinly sliced chicken breast over julienned cabbage, coriander marinated with a citrus juice served on a shrimp cracker.

Tiffany Derry , Private Social. Crispy pork belly, steam buns, purple slaw, minced basil & cilantro

Samir Dhurandhar, Coal Vines and Nick and Sam’s. Beef tenderloin and Indian spiced crab burger with saffron aioli wasabe.

Justin and Diane Fourton, Pecan Lodge. Beef tenderloin with green chile hominy and cilantro horseradish cream.

Chiloso Mexican Bistro was my find of the night. That grilled avocado stuffed with scrambled egg and chorizo really was stunning.

Lisa Garza, Liza Garza Taste Studio. Sesame salmon with wasabi sauce.

Brian C. Luscher, The Grape. Braised pork tartine with pickled cabbage, shallots, cotija and homemade mustard.

Matt McCallister, formerly of Stephen Pyles. Quail, celery, hot sauce and blue cheese.

John Tesar, The Commissary. Braised beef tongue with roasted red onions, Tom Spicer arugula, avocado and salsa verde.

Artizone. Variety of cookies from Kessler Cookie Companyt and triple chocolate truffle cake from La Duni

Whole Foods. Selection of cheeses.

The consensus was that there wasn’t a bad dish in the bunch!

Matt McCallister has learned a number of things on his staging travels. One is to undername his creations. This was "Quail, celery, blue cheese and hot sauce". Not only does that not alliterate, it also omits the hours spent stripping the meat from quail with the help of a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology before reconstituting it with the aid of caul. Watch out for this guy's new place next year.

Sponsors also contributed to the total raised and they were Heartland IT Consulting, Ernst & Young, Bank of America, Hunton & Williams, Bell Nunnally. The Adolphus, Whole Foods, Texas Lawyer, Range, Ikon, DAYL, The Davi Foundation, The Tower Club, It’s a Cooking Party.

Expect Big Thought to release the total amount raised shortly.