Maggie Kipp, Stephan Pyles, Melinda Knowles
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I started salivating when I saw the evite in my inbox that mentioned Dallas’ own celebrity chef, Stephan Pyles. The invitation was a celebratory eve to kickoff Harvest, the annual event benefitting The North Texas Food Bank that will take place September 21, cooked up by co-chairs Maggie Kipp and Melinda Knowles.
Top on the list of announcements made during the culinary to-do was the upcoming Harvest’s new venue — the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
Pyles’ Flora Street Café was an ideal setting for the night — and the perfect place to play catchup with friends and hear about their recent and upcoming summer travels. As we all know, it is an achievement to pack a room in Dallas post Memorial Day, since the well-heeled have traded in their Blahniks for a pair of Jack Rogers sandals, leaving hot Texas for a set of Adirondack chairs in the cooler temps of the northeast. (Nantucket to be exact.)
Maggie and Melinda had no room to spare during their packed-house kickoff party and shared with me that they were over-the-moon that close to 100 people came in support of their event.
As glasses clinked, calling everyone to pay attention to the remarks, Maggie and Melinda stood front and center. Despite a few A/V issues, the effervescent Maggie was able to bring the rapt audience even closer together to hear about the September event. Newsflash: The inimitable DJ Lucy Wrubel will bring her turntable skills to Harvest this year.
Next came the list of formidable restaurants that will provide bites for the evening: City Hall Bistro; The French Room; The Meat Shop, featuring Rosewood Ranches Wagyu beef; the Mozzarella Company; Empire Baking Company; Haute Sweets Patisserie; The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas; LUCK At Trinity Groves; The Gaylord Texan; Stocks & Bondy; Ocean Prime, Parigi, Tartalicious, Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, Pop Star, Sixty Vines, Le Bilboquet, Up On Knox and Uchi and Uchibā. I have now added all of the above to my go-to dining spots — especially if someone else can expense the meal. (Wink, wink.)
I must give the Girl Scout Award for Preparedness to my dearest friend, Melinda, who decided to raise her voice a notch or two (she’s normally incredibly soft spoken) to an appropriate level, forgoing the temperamental microphone so that all could hear. She introduced the evening’s host and Harvest honorary chair, chef Stephan Pyles, who shared his long respect and admiration for the organization and asked all in attendance to assist in NTFB’s goal of providing 92 million nutritious meals annually by 2025.
Spotted in the crowd of newly tanned faces: Harvest advisors and co-founders Nancy Gopez (accessorized with a cane due to a recent surgery, but still the most energetic girl in the room) and Kristi Bare; Jack Pratt; Erika and Dan McCarthy; Amy Camp; Katherine Reeves; Lisa and Joe Bob Shirley; Vodi Cook; Janie and David Condon; Gina and Scott Gotlich; Susan and John Farris; Capera Ryan; Rosser Newton; Lynn McBee; Sara Stroud; Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman; Susan and Steve O’Brien; Natalie and Wilson Chu; and Cindy Stager.