Chad Houser in a suit? An anomaly, perhaps, but on this occasion it was a reality, thanks to Cafe Momentum supporter Janet Jones, who urged the newly appointed executive director to dress up for his first night on the job. Houser wore it well — with a smile to match — as he announced that the previous night was his last as chef-partner at Parigi, a post he left to run the nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of disadvantaged youth in Dallas.
More than 60 guests settled into long tables at CampO, the site of Cafe Momentum’s 13th pop-up dinner, eager to taste what the young men from Dallas County Youth Village had prepared with help from CampO executive chef Michael Ehlert. After Tracy Evers presented a $2,500 check – money raised by Savor Dallas for the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association scholarship fund – Houser introduced Taurus, a young man who graduated from the culinary program at the Youth Village and recently got a job at Boulevardier.
Taurus spoke of his plans to be the first in his family to attend college. Then, Houser recounted a moment when Taurus was among the boys cooking and serving at a previous Cafe Momentum dinner. “He turned to me and said, ‘This is the best night of my life.’”
Heartfelt words from Taurus, cheers to the boys for a job well done and a delicious meal — gougeres with truffled foie gras mousse and fig fam, watercress salad with berries, braised chicken with gnocchi, and poached plums with semolina cake and sabayon — left guests completely satisfied.
Among the Cafe Momentum devotees were Julie and Chuck Quaid, Janet Jones, Eric Bahn, Erin and Chris Farish, Maribeth Peters, and Jeff Pappas, who met at the first event and continue to attend each pop-up as a group.
Who else came to dinner? Jayne Chobot, Cynthia and Charles Plummer, Cally Ngo, Alison and Greg Brown, Laura Boren, David Culp, and Amaris and Miguel Vicens.