Planning an outside soiree in Texas can be a gamble, but the beautiful spring weather showed up for Field & Vine on May 6. The first-ever al fresco fundraising dinner for Dallas nonprofit Youth With Faces drew about 150 guests to the historic Turner House in Oak Cliff, where five of the city's biggest names in the restaurant biz worked with YWF students to prepare a multicourse farm-to-table meal.
On the patio and throughout the nearly 100-year-old home, guests — including Taryn Anderson, Ian McGloin, Kimmi Peacock, Kate and Alex Knight, Eric Bierbrier, Kristy Parker, and YWF director of operations Jason Speede — sipped the stealthy Killen Thyme cocktail, made with Seersucker gin, while guitarist Miguel Antonio strummed from the patio corner.
Chef Nathan Tate, of Boulevardier and Rapscallion fame, put together a trio of passed appetizers that included lamb meatballs with smoked peppadew peppers and mint labneh; smoked duck with pickled mushrooms, scallions, and peanuts on a sesame rice cracker; and pork collar ham with pimento cheese and pepper jelly on a biscuit cracker.
When it was time for guests to find their seats on the Turner House's lush front lawn, event chair Leslie Baker and Youth With Faces CEO Chris Quadri welcomed the group by outlining some of the nonprofit's history. Founded in 2001, Youth With Faces provides life-changing programs to more than 200 youth in Dallas County each year, including culinary arts, horticulture therapy, dog training, and work readiness. These programs help prevent youth from returning to the juvenile or adult criminal justice systems, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
After hearty applause for the YWF team and the chefs, the cheering grew even louder when 10 current YWF students emerged to serve the family-style meal they had helped prepare. Guests tucked into the starters from Jeff Harris (Commissary) and lead chef Matt Balke (Bolsa): a baby kale salad studded with avocado, oranges, Marcona almonds, breadcrumbs, and manchego cheese; and smoked pork jowl served atop minted English peas, ricotta salata, greens, Sun E Farms radishes and turnips, and edible blooms from Mulcahy Farms Flowers.
A 44 Farms pot roast from The Statler's Graham Dodds was accompanied by a cucumber salad with salty cheese, warm-spiced tomatoes, and stow-stewed Texas shell peas from restaurant consultant Sharon Hage.
Mini versions of Emporium Pies' famous Blue Steel (blueberry) and Lord of the Pies (deep-dish apple) tricked guests into believing they weren't full yet — though wine from Southern Glazer's probably helped, too.
More than $50,000 was raised for Youth With Faces' programs during the dinner, though Quadri pointed out the experience for the program's 10 students was immeasurable. "This is an incredible opportunity for anyone who wants a great job in the culinary industry, but it's a lot more than that for our kids," he said. "Opportunities like this help them see their futures can be different than their pasts, and that they have what it takes to make the most of a second chance."