Updated for 2018: This year’s Chefs For Farmers series of culinary events is November 2 through 4: Fearing’s Fall Harvest Backyard Fest on Friday, Street Food Night Market on Saturday and the Main Event on Sunday.

No words, and maybe not even pictures, can relay the breathtaking inspiration of this closing event for the Chefs for Farmers three-day extravaganza. If I had to sum up the afternoon in three words: This was church. Big, boisterous church for foodies, slow-foodistas like me.  We worshipped at altars that overflowed with local and organic offerings, some simple, some freshly cooked and plated while we stood there.  

Bonus Fun Stuff:Smoked Dallas BBQ & Music Festival.

Scaredellos Scardello Cheese Shop Uptown Oak Lawn DallasScaredellos Scardello Cheese Shop Uptown Oak Lawn Dallas

Scardello’s in Uptown – we are huge cheese(y) fans

Van Duzer WineVan Duzer WineLone Star Food ServiceLone Star Food ServiceCookies at Chefs For FarmersCookies at Chefs For Farmers

A simple, outstanding GF peanut butter cookie.

​Without hesitation I can tell you this was a spiritual event. There was a part of me that wanted to label it overdone or pretentious, but everyone was happily doling out their life’s work. I gratefully accepted.

The backstory on who is CFF and why they are here is an important one, so you can read more here. It’s a charity, a competition, and a food orgy like no other.

Cookies at Chefs For FarmersCookies at Chefs For FarmersNoble Coyote coffee Chefs For Farmers Culinary Village Gilleys DallasNoble Coyote coffee Chefs For Farmers Culinary Village Gilleys Dallas

Noble Coyote – really great coffee.

The weekend was a whirlwind for CFF, with this event being moved from Lee Park to Gilley’s at the last minute because of rain, closed streets, and a collapsed parking garage nearby. (What else could possibly go wrong?) Yet they certainly made the last-minute transition look flawless. 

Mmm a lovely table of goodies.

This dish is one of my top five.

The fun guy who gave me another dish of this when I came back for more.

Sharon von Meter’s “Duck on Grits”

​Room after room offered up delights. Think tapas on steroids. I rarely drink, so Renee came to be the Official FunCity Stuff Wine Snob. She leans heavily toward super dry red, so if she encountered a sweet, into the spit bucket it went.


Vegans on one hand…

Whole roast pig

…Meat-lovers on the other.

There were so many delicacies to try. Early on, I walked around with some Wagyu beef over a carrot puree in one hand, my phone in the other trying to get a picture, with a fork hanging out of my mouth. Way to stay klassy, Andi. After about half an hour, I was unashamed. I had plates stacked on one another. I was eating on the right, tweeting on the left. I really wanted you guys to be a part of the fun, part of the experience. It was so exciting, and it didn’t even faze me that I was probably one of the largest people there. (I still don’t know how there are any skinny chefs in the world.) Renee and I would back into each other, point, stare like newbies and snap pictures like tourists (though that is why we were there): “You have to try this. Make sure you take a bite. What is that? I don’t know but let’s get another one.” Repeat. 

Brisket sweet corn Brisket sweet corn Artesa winesArtesa wines

This is how the afternoon went: food, wine, food, wine, food, until we couldn’t brain anymore.

Maker's Mark whiskey punchMaker's Mark whiskey punch

Renee’s favorite drink turned out to be a Maker’s Mark punch.

Ultimately, it was impossible to categorize every dish with its chef, every wine with its label. There were just too many white jackets, so many generous portions, that I now can only give homage to the overall event and show off a few of what was easily 50 tables of gourmet masterpieces to try. Even the ones I didn’t care for (there was an odd spicy meatloaf outside on the “porch” and some kind of crab salad resting uncomfortably on a crunchy rice cake) were still high quality foods, and I give the chef who created them and the farmer who raised the animals a deep bow of thanks.​ This was a near-spiritual event for an abiding foodie like me, and I won’t even pretend to have a refined palate; I’m somewhere between Twinkies and kale reduction.

I bet they meant “preserved” lemon, but I do enjoy determined citrus.

Kent RathbunKent Rathbun

Kent Rathbun’s setup – I don’t remember the dish but it was incredible.

Moms Buns Chefs For FarmersMoms Buns Chefs For Farmers

The sweet-n-salty had Renee doing backflips.

Food Montage and Dream Sequence

Slices of tender brisket… Stacked gourmet delicacies: sauce over slaw over grain… The stuffed cabbage leaves at the Fearing’s table: Renee wouldn’t touch them, but I ate mine fast then ogled the table longingly from afar… A stir fry of cumin-spice Sterling Lamb was aromatic and good, but I can’t remember who the chef was… Turned out there were raw oysters, too, but I never made it to wherever they were camped… CBD Provisions had a table, but I kept getting swept in another direction… Renee purred over the Pecan Lodge…We couldn’t stop smiling and everywhere we looked, it was more of the same.

Andi Reis Renee Groskreutz Fun City StuffAndi Reis Renee Groskreutz Fun City Stuff

If food is a verb, we were definitely fooding.

Bolsa Joel BLT Macaron Dallas Chefs For FarmersBolsa Joel BLT Macaron Dallas Chefs For Farmers

Easily in our top five – a BLT macaron. Creative and delicious.

Next time, if you go, WHEN you go, get there before the start time and line up. It’s a much better experience before the waves of people hit, but that’s the way of all sampling events. Get there early.

Fresh local tshirt t-shirts Fresh local tshirt t-shirts Heirloom tomatoes Dallas Amelia's FarmHeirloom tomatoes Dallas Amelia's Farm

Amelia’s Farm – only available in restaurants at the moment

Komali Dallas Chefs for FarmersKomali Dallas Chefs for Farmers


There was music at every turn, too. Bag pipers strolled in and around. Drummers. And a show on stage by Dean Fearing’s band Lost Coyote. And the roar of 500 happy people was kind of musical too. For someone who is crowd-phobic, I still found there was plenty of space to move around, and lines weren’t excruciating. This was my tribe, and we were all there for the same reason.

Getting emotional just thinking about this dessert.

In a stroke of pure luck, we got to sit with one of the bagpipers and his wife (hi Raf and Sal!) and we had a blast laughing and chatting over Meat Cones. New BFFs over fine food and beverages, am I right?

I may be holding many alcoholic beverages, I was only drunk on balsamic reduction.

We waddled out of the place until we couldn’t take another bite or sip of anything. And even then, as we passed The Biscuit Bar on the way out, we asked for one to go. No dice – they were kicked. It still makes me a little sad to not get that final bite in. Until next year, my tribe awaits.

We were given media passes to attend this incredible event. I expected food, but nothing could have prepared me for the the WONDERLAND of unlimited food samples, cocktails and foodie experiences!

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