Mansion on Turtle Creek TACA “Party on the Green” Fundraiser crowns chef Graham Dodds with Best in Show

A fancy crowd of benefactors poured out to the Mansion on Turtle Creek Friday night for the annual TACA “Party on the Green,” which this year became “Party under a tent and inside the Mansion” so that it wouldn’t become “Party on the Green in the Rain,” as it did a few years ago.

Rain be damned, though, because I think this in one of Dallas’ best fundraiser parties all year.

The event raises money to support TACA, the Dallas arts council that supports and underwrites the cultural events that put a lot of the BIG in Dallas’ “Big things happen here” ad campaign.

Twenty-one chefs, many representing Rosewood’s top properties plus a few Dallas chef luminaries, served small composed dishes to a discerning crowd of several hundred. Drinks flowed as quickly as the corks could be popped, which is exactly how you ply money from potential donors at a charity event. (Why is this so difficult for fundraisers like the Texas Food & Wine Foundation to grasp? An open bar equals open wallets.)

I was again honored to serve on a panel of three judges to determine the Best of Show dish from among the entrants. The winner this year: Graham Dodds, the chef of Hibiscus restaurant in Dallas, who served English pea soup with a deviled quail egg. Before I tasted the dish, I was sure that Dodds had simply mailed it in. Boy, was I wrong. Dodds says he blew through five cases of fresh peas and dozens of quail eggs to pull off a dish whose clean, bright flavors lasered in on the essence of spring.

There were plenty of other strong contenders for the Golden Skillet award, too, among them: a killer good wild boar chop with blackberry-guajillo jam from Daniel Menchaca (the Rustic), gulf shrimp with chorizo fritters from Omar Flores (Casa Rubio), strawberries and cream from Matt McCallister (FT33), a pistachio cake and fruit dessert from the Mansion’s Nicolas Blouin, and a sweet lobster sausage with smoked onion consommé from Blouin’s boss, Bruno Davaillon, the event’s host chef.

TACA plays a vital role in supporting and nurturing the Dallas performing arts community. In addition to providing financial support to more than 45 performing arts organizations that serve DFW, TACA also creates opportunities for organizations to collaborate and share resources.

Here’s who served:

2015 TACA Lexus Party on the Green Chefs

Chef Blythe Beck Kitchen LTO
Chef Nicolas Blouin Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Chef Amandine Chaignot Rosewood London
Chef Bruno Davaillon Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Chef Graham Dodds Hibiscus
Chef Michael Ehlert Front Room Tavern
Chef Omar Flores Casa Rubia
Chef Fabrice Guisset Rosewood Las Ventanas
Chef Sylvain Hervochon Rosewood Jumby Bay
Chef Brian Luscher The Grape
Chef Matt McCallister FT33
Chef Danyele McPherson Remedy
Chef Daniel Menchaca The Rustic
Chef Ignacio Navarro Rosewood Crescent
Chef Victor Palma Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
Chef Julio Peraza Komali
Chef Stephen Rogers Gemma
Chef Peter Rudolph Rosewood Sand Hill
Chef Torsten Rumprecht Rosewood Little Dix Bay
Chef Michael Scott Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef
Chef Eric Shelton Café Momentum