For the fifth year, Dallas will play host to the annual Chefs For Farmers event this November. The event has grown from the seed of an idea into a premiere farm-to-fork festival. Chefs For Farmers co-founder, Iris McCallister said this year’s highlights include the opening Bite Night showcasing an all-star cast of Top Chef® alum with the bold flavors of Texas beef, as well as the kick off “Know Thy Farmer” Dinner presented by Celebrity Cruises and Whole Foods Market, a Street Food Night Market with food from around the world and the Main Event boasting 125 booths of food, wine, beer, and spirits with a DJ and live music.
“This year, more than 30 nationally acclaimed chefs—most of whom are James Beard nominees and winners— are jetting to Dallas to cook alongside local culinary heroes and Texas farms,” McCallister said.
Featured national chefs include Top Chef® Season 14 winner Brooke Williamson, Justin Burdett from Local Provisions in Asheville, Kelly English from Iris and Second Line in Memphis, Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof in Maui, Shuai Wang from Short Grain in Charleston, Tyson Cole from Uchi in Austin, John Patterson from Fork in Philadelphia, and Michael Gulotta of MoPho in New Orleans.
The local chefs include the likes of Matt Balke of Bolsa, Michael Ehlert of The French Room, Matt McCallister of FT33 and Filament, Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown, Nathan Tate of Rapscallion and Boulevardier, Josh Harmon of Junction Craft + Kitchen, Sharon Hage of Farm-to-Fork Consulting, John Franke of Sixty Vines and Eric Dreyer of Fearing’s Restaurant.
The festival is not only a tasty experience for attendees, but it also forms a positive relationship between the chefs and farmers allowing for the participating chefs to work directly with the farms to create locally-sourced dishes.
“Our aim is that these festival dishes begin and expand sustainable relationships between the chefs and the farmers,” McCallister said.
The Chefs For Farms event began in 2010 with an intimate dinner on Eden’s Organic Community Farm.
“Chefs and farmers broke bread together to discuss how to expand the direct relationship between those who grow our food and those who want to serve sustainable, seasonal cuisine,” McCallister explained. “The same mission set at our first dinner remains true today, to connect those who grow our food with those who serve it. Often farmers are busy growing amazing food, and finding business relationships can be a challenge. Farms don’t often have marketing teams, or even sometimes websites - last year one of our farms didn’t have an email address.”
Chefs For Farmers invites different featured farms to participate each year, as McCallister explained it this creates the opportunity for real relationships that sustain both the farms and the restaurants.
“At our festival, chefs are working booths right alongside farmers, and this is how many of them meet,” McCallister said. “We believe locally sourced, ethically raised food can be a sustainable model for both restaurants and consumers.”
The four-day event is for ages 21 and up and McCallister concluded: “We sell out every year, and no tickets are sold at the gates, so we encourage everyone to buy now.”