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White Rock Lake Celebrates 100 Years With Chefs’ Picnic

Picnic faves from chefs Brian Luscher (The Grape), Justin Fourton (Pecan Lodge), Randall Copeland (Restaurant AVA), Janice Provost (Parigi), Jeff Harris (RedFork), and Marc Cassel (Peavy Road). (Photo by Brooklynne Peters)

On Sunday, new SideDish contributor Brooklynne Peters attended the Chef’s’ Picnic on White Rock Lake. Read on for her report in words and pictures…

On Sunday afternoon, food lovers and chef groupies flocked to the Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake for the Chefs’ Picnic on the Lake in honor of the park’s 100th birthday. The centennial event drew local chefs Brian Luscher (The Grape), Justin Fourton (Pecan Lodge), Randall Copeland (Restaurant AVA), Janice Provost (Parigi), Jeff Harris (RedFork) and Marc Cassel (Park, Peavy Road—coming soon). Proceeds from the day benefited The American Red Cross.

jump for more pics and menu highlights…

Lining up for chef-prepared picnic favorites. (Photo by Brooklynne Peters)

Each chef produced a refreshing twist on traditional picnic fare. The menu was chock full of tasty, familiar-but-fresh options including a fruit salad from Brian Luscher that combined Texas peaches and blueberries with a hint of basil and mint. Marc Cassel whipped up a vegetarian potato salad with roasted potatoes, garlic, and caramelized red onions, leaving out heavy mayonnaise and sour cream to make it “hot temperature friendly.” Justin Fourton provided a tender, juicy smoked brisket that fell apart at the sight of a fork. The heirloom tomato salad from Jeff Harris was light and flavorful, a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, Caprino Royale goat cheese, and vinaigrette. Janice Provost created what she dubbed “Mexi-Chin” slaw, a combination of peppers, onions, tomatoes, rice wine vinegar, and salsa. Randall Copeland rounded out the selection with baked beans and a broccoli and orzo pasta salad.

Brian Luscher lays it on thick. (Photo by Brooklynne Peters)

Ben E.  Keith provided beer, wine, iced tea and other refreshments, however, the dessert table stole the show. Paul Wackym (Wackym’s Kitchen) served up irresistible goodies, including salted caramel banana pudding and chocolate-snickerdoodle banana pudding, that drew this blogger back for seconds.

Thank goodness for shade. (Photo by Brooklynne Peters.)

Hollie Dorethy, personal chef, also contributed an array of desserts, including perfectly fluffy, brown-sugar shortbread; pecan baklava with white chocolate ganache; and, most memorably, bacon-and-cashew caramel corn served in paper cones.

After the meal, and just steps from the checkerboard tablecloths, pinwheels, and vintage posters, offered free kayak rides around the lake. The main hope in the air: that we won’t have to wait another 100 years to do this again.

Vintage America Red Cross banners. (Photo by Brooklynne Peters)
Perfect day for a picnic on the lake. (Photo by Brooklynne Peters)