The Stephen Pyles Culinary Scholarship program, administered through The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas, has, since its inception, raised over $165,000 towards the education of young chefs, with one of its most important fundraising events being an annual celebrity chef dinner. This year’s event took place last weekend at Stephan Pyles’ restaurant in Dallas with several big-name chefs and Stephan Pyles alumni preparing the meal.
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The event opened with passed hors d’oeuvres made by this year’s recipient of the Stephan Pyles scholarship, Keith Hildebrandt who is studying at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Austin. (He won the scholarship, in part, as the result of an Iron Chef-style competition.) Guests enjoyed his oxtail dumplings with orange gastric and bacon-wrapped quail while sipping Blanc de Blancs extra dry sparkling wine from New Mexico winery, Gruet.
Guests then took their seats for a six-course meal consisting of: Hirame dry miso and tuna tatake with cilantro dressing served with 2009 Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon (by Chef Matt Raso, Nobu, Dallas); Maine diver scallops with sea urchin, celery root, and beech mushroom served with 2010 Indaba Chenin Blanc, South Africa (by Chef Blaine Staniford, Grace, Fort Worth); duck cavatelli, Swiss chard, and shaved foie gras served with 2006 Opolo Vineyards, Grand Rouge, Paso Robles, California (by Chef Jeff Harris, Craft, Dallas); pork jowl bacon and half-sour cucumber salad with sweet chile, mustard, and molasses served with 2006 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily (by Chef Tim Byres, Smoke, Dallas); Portuguese grilled cap of rib-eye with kale-bacon polenta cake, caramelized pearl onions and fall-spiced apple chutney served with 2007 Chamisal Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, California (by Chef Stephen Pyles and Chef Matt McCallister, Stephan Pyles, Dallas); and persimmon pudding, brown butter chestnut, membrillo, and citrus-butternut squash spoon (by Chef Katherine Clapner, Dude Sweet Chocolate, Dallas).
In the subsequent live auction, energetically conducted by veteran auctioneer Harvey Kronberg, guests bid on wine and private celebrity chef dinners. The ticket sales, auction and sponsorship from Central Market and South Texas Money Management raised $28,975 toward the scholarship program. Wines were donated by Ambiente, Cape Classics, Glazers, Palm Bay International, Republic National Distributing Company, Sokol Blosser Winery and Crawford Malone Fine Wine and Spirits.