The ninth annual Bonne Sante' benefit showcased plenty of fine food from Dallas' top chefs. But the stars of the night were a mother-daughter duo who exemplified the heroic work of the event's beneficiary, the National Kidney Foundation.
Held at the Westin Galleria, Dallas in early February, the foodie fundraiser started with a chance to sample elevated cuisine from local restaurants and sip wines and spirits from premium makers. The delicious dishes ranged from Dr Pepper braised short rib tacos to chocolate-peanut butter pie. Between bites and pours, guests also checked their phones for auction updates and outbid each other competitively.
Once everyone was sufficiently stuffed, a program, emceed by Mike Snyder, reminded the crowd what the night was all about. William Koval, Executive Chef of Lakewood Country Club, launched Bonne Santé in the summer of 2010 to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation Serving Texas. Koval leaned on the National Kidney Foundation during a trying time when his son Nathan was born with only one kidney. Today, Nathan is by his side in the kitchen.
With that special parent-child bond in mind, Maribel and Jessica Gutierrez were called to stage as the recipients of the Gift of Life Award. Mother Maribel donated a kidney to daughter Jessica after severe kidney disease threatened to rob her life. The operation was performed by transplant surgeons Dr. Richard Dickerman and Dr. Alejandro Mejia at Methodist Dallas and streamed live on Facebook with almost 200,000 views, likes and shares. Through tears (and with Jessica's 2-year-old "miracle son" in their arms), the women recalled their harrowing experience but used the opportunity to advocate for organ donation.
Another touching moment came when former patient Elizabeth Castellanos took the stage to tell the audience about a life-changing a trip to Camp Reynal when she was a youngster with kidney disease. The camp receives funding from the National Kidney Foundation.
Neil Foote, president of the National Kidney Foundation North Texas, thanked sponsors. Special recognition went to Betty Osborne, wife of the late Burl Osborne, the namesake for the Burl Osborne Awareness Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations which have helped advance awareness and understanding of kidneys, kidney disease, and organ donation.
The heartwarming speeches prompted people to give generously before grabbing one last bite of dessert to-go for the evening.
Keeping everyone full and happy were participating chefs and eateries: David Smith, Second Floor Regionally Inspired Kitchen, The Westin Galleria Dallas; A team from Frosted Art Bakery & Studio; Chase Montgomery, Ida Claire/Whiskey Cake; John Kleifgen, Nick & Sam's Steakhouse; Christian Stewart, The Oceanaire Seafood Room; Greg Wallace, Omni Dallas; Ray Skradzinski, Republic Texas Tavern; and Daniel Menchaca, The Rustic.