I feel like I start every post bragging about the stellar food scene here in Dallas and abundance of food festivals and events. Some require a nominal entrance fee but then you’ll pay a price for every food and drink sample and other events will cost upwards of $100. In my opinion, you get what you pay for especially when it comes to the Chefs for Farmers main event, A Down Home Culinary Event. At $100 a ticket (sometimes less with discount codes) it’s not the cheapest event but you get to sample food from numerous food artisans (Scardello Cheese, Empire Baking Company) and over 60 of the Who’s Who of chefs not only from Dallas but Texas and beyond. Also included: a sampling of cocktails from local mixologists, wine tastings and a pat on the back for supporting “local and regional farmers” by highlighting “the entire culinary ecosystem”. I promise you won’t leave hungry and you’ll even get to hear celebrated chef Dean Fearing perform with his band Lost Coyotes.

◊GG Tips◊:

  1. Follow Chefs for Farmers on social media for important notices such as early bird discount tickets and announcements of other CFF events (eg. Street Food Night Market).  Facebook: @chefsforfarmers; Instagram: @chefsforfarmers; Twitter: @chefsforfarmers
  2. Experienced food-festival attendees don’t mess around with juggling a plate of food, a glass of wine, phone and business cards. No, they arrive with a wine glass neck holster like this or a plastic plate with a built-in wine glass holder. Genius!
  3. This is one event where being early or punctual isn’t the best idea unless you enjoy waiting in a long line. Breeze through the entry by arriving 40 min after doors open but no later than 1 hour after else you run the risk of the food running out!
Rapscallion men

The crowd.

For the second year in a row CFF was held indoors at Gilley’s due to rain. The change of venue meant that instead of picnicking in the beautiful and historic Lee Park for a farmer-centric event we were corralled into a huge, multi-room venue where the room temperature varied from lukewarm to stifling humidity. That said, organizer Iris Midler did an excellent job in recruiting talent that put us all in food comas long enough to temporarily forget about the lack of airflow.

Chef Nathan Tate and Bradley Anderson

Chef Nathan Tate and restaurateur Bradley Anderson.

The Slow Bone team, with Chef Jeff Hobbs at the helm knocked it out of the park at their biscuit bar with what I like to call their “OMG Chicken”. Hungry guests lined up and waited for the assembly line of smoke-fried chicken accompanied by crispy bacon and a buttery, flaky biscuit. For extreme wow factor the dish was finished with a pour of “double-secret probation gravy” (I think it was a jalapeño gravy). Seriously, my friends and I were exclaiming out loud “OH MY GAWD” with every chew.

OMG Biscuit Bar

OMG Biscuit Bar.

OMG Chicken

OMG Chicken.

Charleston chef Kevin Johnson’s wagyu beef dish with watermelon and pecan granola was an unexpected combination that scored a home run!

The Grocery

The Grocery.

Chef Eric Dreyer from Fearing’s kept it local with the use of Dr.Pepper (created in Waco) to braise his A Bar N Ranch (Sherman and Celina, Texas) wagyu beef short ribs. The beef melted in your mouth!

Fearings

Texan Eric Dreyer’s braised wagyu beef short ribs.

Chef Brian Bell from The Blind Butcher made a genius move by combining all of the best ingredients (see picture below) in one supremely tasty sausage bite.

The Blind Butcher

All the best ingredients in one bite!

Blind Butcher sausage

Texas summer sausage.

By this point I was beyond the point of satiety. I had so many bites of meat and one scallop stuffed with crab that I was happy to see that Chef Matt McCallister (FT33, Filament) chose to make something lighter, a vegetable parfait. 

FT33

FT33.

While there are wine and cocktail samples scattered throughout the venue, the heaviest concentration is in the room in the very back. And it was at this point that I gave up taking photos and moved to a liquid diet.

Rapscallion mixologists

Ravi Singh and Eddie Eakin (Rapscallion, Boulevardier) mixing it up.

I didn’t get any pictures of Stefano Secchi’s food here but I don’t need those to tell you how great a chef he is! For photos and details see my previous post on the last supper club I attended at Veritas with Secchi as the guest chef. Suffice it to say, Secchi is a rising star chef and makes the best Northern Italian food for miles around! Currently, you can find him cooking at his family’s Addison restaurant, Ferrari’s Italian Villa and Chop House.

Secchi squared and me

Father and son, Francesco and Stefano Secchi and me.

To reminesce about the days before CFF was moved indoors I included a couple of pictures from 2013 in Lee Park on Turtle Creek.

Little Miss Piggy

Little Miss Piggy.

Lucky Campbell and competitors

Lucky Campbell and mixology competitors.

The author, in need of a cup holder.

The author, in need of a cup holder.