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Abraham Salum Popped Up at Cafe Momentum Last Night

I deputized Disher Melisa Ambers to cover last night’s sold-out Café Momentum dinner at the the Communities Foundation of Texas on Caruth-Haven. The concept behind the dinner series, developed by Chad Houser and Janice Provost of Parigi, is dedicated to teaching young, at-risk youth with life skills. Café Momentum works closely with the programs of the Youth Village Resources of Dallas. Local chefs and volunteers donate time and product and the kids work alongside the pros. Their common goal is to open a permanent restaurant for the program.

Last night was the largest and most formal Café Momentum dinner to date. The young men, under the direction of Phil Willis,  delivered flawless fine dining service. They passes appetizers in the foyer as the 100 guests arrived. Most of the young men were veterans; only one had never been a part of Cafe Momentum before. One of them, in fact, has already graduated from the culinary program at the Youth Village and has finished his time at the detention facility. He’s back in school but wanted to volunteer.

Jump for photos and the full report.

Spinach and Jicama Salad with Hibiscus Vinaigrette and Grilled Homemade Queso Fresco.(photo by Melisa Ambers)

The crowd was a mix of repeats–some have been to all dinners to date–and new faces. While the dinners are an important part of the fundraising efforts, the organization is still in search of larger donations to help open the restaurant. To date, they’ve raised more than $50,000, through the pop-up dinners, including one private event coming up later this month at the Farmers Market, as well as individual donations. Upcoming dinners are sold out through December. Next up: Matt McCallister, at Hibiscus. Brian Luscher is December’s chef, and he’ll be cooking at Cane Rosso. The organization has a new website (www.cafemomentum.org), with a photo gallery from past events and information about the guest chefs.

Abraham Salum’s menu was delightful. People went bonkers over the corn soup. He said he had plans to add the corn soup to the menu at Komali–which elicited cheers from the crowd. But the biggest news of the evening came from two of the kids in the program: One of the young men has gotten a job in the restaurant industry; another got his GED and a $1,000 scholarship.

Here is the menu.

PASSED

Cream of Sweet Corn, Huitlacoche Sauté, Crispy Tortilla Julienne. (photo by Melisa Ambers)
Roasted Snapper Fillet, Pumpkin Seed Pipian, Nopal Salad. (photo by Melisa Ambers)

Mini Shrimp Tostadas with Aguachile

Beef Tinga Sopes

Wild Mushroom Flautas with Avocado Salsa Verde

FIRST COURSE

Spinach and Jicama Salad with Hibiscus Vinaigrette and Grilled Homemade Queso Fresco

SECOND COURSE

Cream of Sweet Corn, Huitlacoche Sauté, Crispy Tortilla Julienne

THIRD COURSE

Capirotada, Mexican Bread Pudding with Fresh Mango and Queso Cotija. (photo by Melisa Ambers)

Roasted Snapper Fillet, Pumpkin Seed Pipian, Nopal Salad

FOURTH COURSE

Seared Pork Tenderloin, Chicharron Crust, Pasilla Mole and Cilantro Rice

DESSERT

Capirotada, Mexican Bread Pudding with Fresh Mango and QuesoCotija

2 comments on “Abraham Salum Popped Up at Cafe Momentum Last Night

  1. I was there & it was a night to remember. Which I can do despite significant BYO vino accents throughout… the real joy I will take away from last night was watching those at-risk boy-men servers in their Cafe Momentum white jackets & tea,towels over their foreArms proudly beaming as Chad called their names during a standing ovation. I choke. Up recalling the look on the face of a guy who was thrown aside by fate & then lived to be the subject of professional praise & respect. You can’t put a price on a memory like that.

  2. My husband and I have attended 3 Cafe Momentum dinners to date and can not say enough about what a wonderful endeavor this is by everyone involved and how it will continue to evolve – notwithstanding some amazing food and service.

    Even though the November and December dinners are sold-out, be sure to “like” Cafe Momentum’s page on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and bookmark their website as there are many opportunities to support this truly heartwarming initiative.