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Esteemed Dallas Chefs Rally for Recovery at an Upcoming Foodie Fundraiser

Chef Matt McCallister is this year's host chef for the AllStar Chef Classic, benefiting Dallas 24 Hour Club.
Chef Matt McCallister is this year's host chef for the AllStar Chef Classic, benefiting Dallas 24 Hour Club.
Kathy Tran

Dozens of Dallas’ top chefs are banding together again for the AllStar Chef Classic, an annual fundraiser benefiting Dallas 24 Hour Club.

It’s a foodie party paradise all for a cause. Proceeds from the event provide lifesaving support for people in Dallas experiencing homelessness and dealing with substance and/or alcohol abuse.

The AllStar Chef Classic will be Oct. 13, supporting the 24 Hour Club and its mission to provide safe and sober transitional housing for men and women seeking a new life away from drugs and alcohol.

The organization helps more than 700 people each year with its path to sobriety, says Marsha Williamson, CEO of Dallas 24 Hour Club.

From its year-old shelter on Ross Avenue in East Dallas, men and women find their futures through daily programs and groups with supportive housing to get that fresh start.

“So often the case, hand-in-hand, the cause of homelessness begins with drug abuse,” Williamson says.

The 24 Hour Club was founded in 1969 and shifted its focus to homelessness when Williamson took over as CEO in 2014.

“When I arrived, we did not have a donor list, we did not have any money in the bank,” she says. “We started thinking of key ways we garner support in the community and address needs with abuse and sobriety.”

Since then, the organization has grown to take in about two people each day.

It’s not an uncommon story for people in the service industry, either. Chefs, line cooks, servers and support can have their vices. Sometimes those vices get the better of them.

Acclaimed chef Matt McCallister is but one who once solved life’s worries with booze in bulk. Alcoholism led to harder substances, and life became a void. But McCallister turned it around with a 12-step recovery program and halfway houses.

“I have lived that life. It’s toxic and hard to escape alone,” McCallister says. “That’s why I am such a strong supporter of the 24 Hour Club.”

Today he is known as the renowned lead at Homewood and his former restaurants, the awarded and inventive FT33 and short-lived Filament.

This year he is serving as host chef over the 24 Hour Club event, alongside a stellar roster of local chefs.

Whatever he decides to prepare, we expect some decent food from McCallister. His new restaurant, Homewood, where he serves as executive chef, was named Best New Restaurant in the Dallas Observer’s 2019 Best of Dallas Awards.

He’ll be joined by several Best of Dallas winners, including Maggie Huff from Homewood, Peja Krstic of Mot Hai Ba and Ryan Payne at Tiny Victories. In total, more than 25 chefs are preparing bites and dishes to nosh on. Expect appetizers, main dishes and desserts.

The event is co-chaired by Vicki and Bruce Stensrud and Cindy and David Brewer.

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McCallister is still mulling over his recipe but did confirm two ingredients to expect in his dish: pork and apples.
“A lot of these chefs have been involved in the event for years, because they’ve been touched personally with drug and alcohol abuse,” McCallister says. “We can expect some of the best dishes from people who really put their heart and soul into the event.”

Here's a look at the full chef lineup for the AllStar Chef Classic event:

  • Troy Ardner, V-Eats Modern Vegan
  • Matt Balke, Bolsa
  • Peter Barlow, Fauna, Nightshade Chef Collaborative
  • Justin Box, Consulting Chef
  • Suzanne Clark, World Food Championships
  • Eric Dreyer, Hall Arts Hotel
  • Eric Freidline, Sevy’s Grill
  • Sean Frye, TK Culinary
  • Carlo “Botolo” Gattini, Botolino Gelato
  • Josh Harmon, Belmont Hotel
  • Maggie Huff, Homewood
  • Marcus Kopplin, Sundown at Granada
  • Liz Kraatz, World Food Championships
  • Peja Krstic, Mot Hai Ba
  • Jason Martin, Private Chef
  • Joel Orsini, Booty’s Street Food
  • Anastacia Quinones-Pittman, Jose
  • Samantha Rush, Rush Patisserie
  • Soraya Spencer, Gather Kitchen
  • Jab Street, Family Thais Asian Bistro
  • Josh Sutcliff, Sutcliff & Brammer Hospitality
  • Scott Tobey, Bonton Farms
  • Paul Wackym, Wackym Kitchen
  • Michael Wyatt, Full City Rooster Coffee Roasting Studio

The AllStar Chef Classic will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 13 at Sixty Five Hundred, 6500 Cedar Springs Road, Suite 200, Dallas. Tickets are $100 each.

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