The number of epicurean events that take place in the DFW area has exploded like a Taco Bell hot sauce packet at the bottom of a $30,000 millionaire’s Louis Vuitton. We have beer-focused events; meat-based events; taco-based events; wine-, barbecue-, local-, farm-, vegetarian-, city-within-a-city- and chef-based events. Now, we have added Park & Palate. It is a mini Food & Wine festival, done up Dallas-style (read: fun, classy and expensive), in our own downtown, over-the-highway, nonprofit green space: Klyde Warren Park. Decked out in white picket fences and bright green boxwoods, the two-day event kept things pretty simple: two days, two big events, two ticket tiers, lots of chef-prepared dishes and plenty of wine, beer and spirits to ensure everybody had a good time.
The first night, Down to the Roots pitted Texan chefs against each other, competing for the best-loved dish by both the judges and those in attendance. Tyson Cole and his team from Uchi won best dish for their Madai creation (that’s fish, for those of you who don’t speak Uchi), and Tiffany Derry’s fried chicken buns won fan favorite. Big-name celebrity-chef imports Amanda Freitag and Jonathan Waxman added to the culinary excitement by judging and cooking for VIP ticket holders, respectively.
Saturday’s five-hour Grand Tasting featured over 30 chefs, each of whom prepared a signature dish with the help of some well-spent Central Market (sponsor alert!) gift cards. Five featured chef demonstrations took place on the main stage, and folks could sit and watch chefs Jason Dady, Tiffany Derry, Kent Rathbun, Jonathan Waxman and Amanda Freitag show off their skills in between trips to grab cocktails, wine or bites at the many booths lining the park. VIP ticket holders also enjoyed wine and mixology seminars plus specially prepared bites (and air conditioning!) inside Savor Gastropub with a lovely view of the park.
The inaugural event, the proceeds from which support all the countless free programs that go on at Klyde Warren Park every day, was a delicious way to help boost Dallas on the culinary map, where it rightfully belongs, as a (literal and figurative) hot food city.
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