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How to Honor the Face and Taste of Local Food

How to Honor the Face and Taste of Local Food

Pat Simon, Custom Cafe Foods, served her Chipotle Bacon Dip on roasted purple potatoes to start the farm-to-table dinner.


Two Chefs, Robby and Victoria Hooker, love farmers markets. They moved to Dallas in 2009 as chef instructors at the Art Institute of Dallas Culinary School and soon after started selling their additive homemade fresh salsa and chips at the Coppell Farmers Market. Robby brought tales of a dinner on the farm in Charlotte, NC, where the chefs celebrated the farm raised products by creating an evening of local tastes! The Two Chefs continued to paint the picture for their culinary instructor friends, the farmers and vendors and the all-volunteer market organizers until it became a long table reality in June of 2011.

Crissy Morrill, El Centro College Culinary School, visits with guest before the dinner.

Farm-to-Table Dinner

Seven years later, still the most coveted annual event by the Coppell Farmers Market with tickets selling out within minutes. So, what makes this such a special night? From the very beginnings, the dinner has come together with a giving heart. First, the farmers and vendors offer the freshest ingredients of their choosing, then a collection of chef friends and culinary students creatively work with what they have been given to create a six to eight course plated dinner.


Fifty volunteer servers from the community.

All Volunteers- Chefs, Culinary Students, Committee and Servers

And then there are the volunteers! The farm to table committee starts months ahead with a standing (literally) meeting behind the salsa booth at the Saturday market. So Chef Victoria says, “if you want one table with 100 seating, you will need 50 servers”. So the volunteer servers from the local high school, community garden and community form a brigade serving each course to dinner guests in synchronized perfection. IMPRESSIVE, to say the least!

Lemon Peppered Cocktail with Titos Vodka
Picked Okra on Orzo paired with Calais Cuvee de la Source

Oh, and the food delights. My favorite this year was the pickled okra from Fisher Family Farm with a delicate crumbling of Wackym Kitchen cookie, or was it the mushroom veloute made with Fun Guys oyster mushrooms. It is so hard to choose, but as the sun goes down on the historic Grapevine Springs Park, there is applause between each course for the featured producers and chefs as they come to the mic to express their gratitude for this community.


Photos were from my Iphone5, but I will post a link to the better photos in CFM Flickr gallery when available.