Bolsa Mercado Hosts Guest Chefs to Benefit Café Momentum

Charles Plummer (left); tomatoes (right) photos by Desiree Espada

Today marks the start of Bolsa Mercado‘s new program to host weekly guest chefs who’ll be cooking three-course to-go dinners (as part of the “Dinner for Two” program) in Bolsa Mercado’s kitchen. These guest chefs will be incorporating vegetables from the Dallas Youth Village‘s garden in their menus, and a portion of the dinner sales will go towards Café Momentum, a nonprofit restaurant concept started by Chad Houser and Janice Provost of Parigi that teaches the boys of the Youth Village everything about the restaurant business from washing dishes to waiting tables.

On Monday, Desiree and I took a tour of the Dallas Youth Village’s garden, which is headed by the affable Charles Plummer. For the past year and a half, the former chef now directs the organic gardening and  heads the culinary program at the center where teenage boys who’ve committed nonviolent offenses work with Plummer to tend the crops on the one-acre plot of land.

Jump for photos of the garden.

Tilapia fish tank

Executive Director Jerry Silhan of the Youth Village Resources walked with us through the garden while Plummer  pointed to the aquaponics system/tilapia fish tank, rows of tomatoes and zucchinis, and gave us the exact recipe for what he calls “compost tea.”

Chad Houser, chef/partner of Parigi and Chairman of Café Momentum, is kicking off the Bolsa Mercado guest chef dinners by cooking for today’s “Dinner for Two.” Here’s what’s on the menu:

Salad | Watermelon and caprino royale feta salad with foraged bergamot and Texas Olive Ranch olive oil

Entree | Smoked duck tamales with brown butter & green tomato salsa, chayote gratin, and grilled zucchini with guallijo

Dessert | Bourbon and peach flan

Cucumber (left); Charles Plummer, Chad Houser, and Jeffery Hobbs (right)

Big guys like Jack Perkins from Maple & Motor, Jeana Johnson and Colleen O’Hare from ACME F&B, Jason Maddy of Oak, and Randall Copeland of Restaurant Ava are some of the chefs that’ll be participating.

These dinners will be available to buy on Thursday afternoons until they completely run out. Quantities and prices vary, but usually the dinners will run between $20 and $30 – not a bad price for a dinner for two that’s cooked by one of Dallas’ best chefs. And, most importantly, your purchase is helping the Youth Village garden and Café Momentum help at-risk youth earn a second chance at life. If you’re not sure exactly how Café Momentum is changing the lives of these boys, read about its one year anniversary celebration at Sissy’s to see what it’s all about.

Dallas Youth Village