Food Meets Philanthropy
Cafe Momentum fans flock to super-hot FT33 for fundraising pop-up dinner
Nearly 80 foodies descended on the Design District for the Cafe Momentum pop-up dinner at FT33, the 19th in the series. Eight young men from the Youth Village Resources of Dallas joined second-time guest chef Matt McCallister to prepare and serve a four-course meal for the organization's loyalists.
As diners mingled with fellow supporters and Cafe Momentum board members, dressed-to-impress Youth Village servers maneuvered through the crowd, carrying trays of assorted crostini beautifully arranged on rustic wooden serving platters. Guests chatted excitedly about the future of the nonprofit restaurant concept designed to transform young lives.
To put the boys' challenging lives into perspective, Cafe Momentum executive director Chad Houser asked everyone a series of questions.
"When you were a teenager, were you asked to pay rent at your parent's house? Were you told to get a job to pay the electric bill? Did you ever couch surf to avoid going home to a mom who beats you? Was selling drugs your first job? Did you first become a parent at age 16?" he asked.
Houser stressed how Cafe Momentum can be a life-changing opportunity for these underprivileged young men. Through these pop-up dinners — and, soon, a permanent restaurant — Cafe Momentum can help equip them with life skills and confidence to help set them on a different path.
Hungry philanthropists — including Julie and Chuck Quaid, Cafe Momentum board member Ken Maxwell, Jim Williamson, Tristan Simon, Bobby Lyle, Sharon Lyle, Maribeth Peters, Jeff Pappas, Emily and Jack Stout, and Aimee and Jason Cook — savored McCallister's exquisite dishes, including smoked trout "the color white; buckwheat cavatelli with lamb and mint-spring garlic conserve; beef tongue "pastrami" with potato pommery, cornichon and savoy cabbage; and bay leaf panna cotta. Each dish was paired with wine from Oak Cliff Cellars, courtesy of longtime Cafe Momentum supporter JR Richardson.
Fellow advocates Marta and Kevin Sprague of Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters offered samples of their Cafe Momentum blend. A portion of the proceeds from each bag sold supports the Cafe Momentum program.
As guests indulged in the delectable meal, Houser reminded them that for each young man kept out of jail, taxpayers save more than $2 million over the course of his lifetime. He also shared the story of a dedicated young man, a Cafe Momentum graduate, who walked two hours to get to his job because he couldn't find a ride.
But perhaps the most compelling words came from the young men themselves, who were introduced at the end of the evening by McCallister. Each of them thanked the guests for believing in them and giving them a second chance.
Cafe Momentum has raised more than $300,000 toward a permanent location, which will ensure more kids like these get that second chance. Tickets for the April 14 pop-up dinner with guest chef Dean Fearing go on sale Sunday, March 17, at 8 pm.