If your favorite bartender or chef was absent from their usual post this weekend, it's highly likely that they were boozing it up at Chefs for Farmers. Along with scores of local farmers and artisans, the restaurant industry's finest from across DFW descended upon Gilley's in The Cedars on Sunday for four hours of a fine food and drink-packed bonanza, following Saturday night's Butcher Block event in the Design District.
Originally slated to be held outdoors at Lee Park in Turtle Creek, the recent spate of rain necessitated a last-minute venue change for Sunday's Culinary Village. Nonetheless, the annual event enjoyed its typical epic turnout, and the venue's floorplan gave it a sort of corn maze-like sense of adventure: Just when you thought you'd eaten everything, there was a whole new room full of bacon jam-topped deviled eggs and parsnip malts awaiting you.
As per usual, the chef lineup showcased notable locals along with an impressive roster of out-of-towners. Those gracing Dallas with their presence this year included San Antonio's Jason Dady, Justin Brunson of Denver's Old Major, Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo and Gardner in Austin, Michael Corvino from Kansas City's The American, and many, many more.
- Yes, that says "kale mayo."
- Charcuterie cones from Filament
- Dude, Sweet Chocolate's Katherine Clapner
- Chocolate mania from Dude, Sweet
- Jack Perkins and surprise guest Susan Spicer
- The Biscuit Bar's crazy-long line
- The Slow Bone's fried chicken and biscuits
- DEBC poured generously, thank heavens
- An array of the day's dishes
- Lamb hash from chef Robert Newton of NYC's WIlla Jean
- Abraham Salum's braised pork slider
- Hatch chile chicken sausage from Blind Butcher's Brian Bell
- Blaine Staniford's beef heart and chicken oyster
- Uchi's Junior Borges served a kimchi chicken croquette
- The man, the myth, the legend: John Tesar
- Mom's Buns: not for the gluten-averse
- Meticulous plating by The Mansion's Bruno Davaillon
- Jason Dady's epic bacon jam deviled eggs
- Pumpkin caramels? Don't mind if we do
- Flat iron steak from John Tesar
- Smoked brisket from Kent Rathbun's Hickory
Here's (some of) what you missed if you missed CFF:
— The longest line was clearly for the outdoor Biscuit Bar, where Jack Perkins & Jeffery Hobbs of The Slow Bone were frying up chicken wings almost as fast as the crowd could devour them, served alongside housemade biscuits and candied bacon.
— Hey wait, who's that helping out Jack Perkins and Jeffery Hobbs at the Biscuit Bar? NBD, it's just legendary NOLA chef Susan Spicer of Bayona.
— Vegetarian offerings seemed far and few between, but chef Robert Lyford of McKinney's Patina Green bravely went meat-free with his unusual dish of smoked beets and kale mayo. We're certain Beyonce would've loved it.
— The unofficial award for "best use of a seasonal gourd" goes to Jodi Elliott of Austin's Bribery Bakery and Foreign & Domestic: Elliott's clever parfait paired a pumpkin cream with tangy lime curd and a salted butterscotch macaron for a dessert that was anything but #basic.
— Eater's resident deviled egg lover pronounced San Antonio chef Jason Dady's possibly the best version she'd ever had: The egg yolk was soft and creamy, and the toppings of bacon jam and crunchy bacon bits provided a serious flavor punch without overwhelming the egg itself.
— Blaine Staniford of Fort Worth's Grace took the cake for most creative use of proteins: His dish involved skewers of thinly-sliced beef heart and chicken oysters, the coveted little morsels of meat hidden beside the bird's backbone.
— The Hatch chile chicken sausage from Blind Butcher's Brian Bell was undoubtedly a fan favorite, with several people murmuring about sneaking back for seconds.
— Perhaps the most surprising hit belonged to Bolsa chef Joel Harrington, who served a sweet-and-savory BLT macaron with tomato mousse, bacon marmalade, and charred lettuce aioli. Sounded bizarre, tasted awesome.
— Speaking of weird, chef Michael Corvino from The American in Kansas City blew minds with his take on the malted milkshake, made with the oh-so-autumnal parsnip. Is the world ready for savory malts?
— A party ain't a party till Dean Fearing shows up: The Dallas chef icon took to the stage for a rollicking set with his band Sunset Palace. (Or was it Lost Coyote? Dean Fearing has almost as many bands as he does festive pairs of cowboy boots.)
— There was no shortage of wine and local craft beer on offer, but the most creative beverage arguably came courtesy of FT33's Colin Phillips. The tasty bourbon drink included green cardamom syrup, fresh sage, and sunchoke caramel. Yes, you read that correctly — the ugly tuber also known as the Jerusalem artichoke makes a surprisingly good cocktail ingredient.