A Community Cooked at Paul Quinn College

Craft's chilled soup (photos by Carol Shih)

Over 425 people turned out on a beautiful Thursday evening at “A Community Cooks” to support Paul Quinn College and its organic farm. Proceeds went towards enhancements to the farm. Along with providing an opportunity to feast between the budding sprouts of cantaloupe and sweet potatoes and listen to live music beneath the stars, “A Community Cooks” celebrates the Farm’s accomplishments and raises resources to help expand the Farm’s ability to combat the food desert surrounding Paul Quinn College. The Farm brings healthy food to the neighborhood by donating a minimum of 10 percent of all items grown to those in need. Over a dozen top-line Dallas chefs cooked at food preparation stations situated either side of the garden. A band played on the stage at the front. In this video, the director of the faming program at the college explains the mission of the garden.

Jump to watch.

The Real Estate Council Foundation presented a check for $200,000 to the college for the garden capital improvements, the recently completed greenhouse and future enhancements. Other major sponsors of the garden were Trammell Crow, Pepsico and the Orix Foundation.

Participating chefs included Matte Balke from Bolsa Mercado, Tim Bevins from Craft, Chritie Butler from Perkins Management (the college caterer), Randall Copeland and Nathan Tate from Ava/Boulevardier, Central 214’s Graham Dodds, Brent Hammer from Hibiscus, Jeff Harris from Bolsa, Matt McCallister from FT33, Jason Maddy from Oak, Janice Provost from Parigi, Jon Stevens from Nosh/Snack and Tre Wilcox of Marquee.

Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, the former Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services and current Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, was the guest speaker. Sanchez is a leader in the fight to reduce food deserts and also stresses the link between the lack of access to healthy, affordable foods and chronic diseases.

One future goal is very ambitious: The college is six miles from the nearest grocery store, despite being surrounded by neighborhoods. They want to establish a supermarket which would simultaneously sell the farm produce, provide jobs for the college’s students, links with the management classes through management roles in the store, and a retail food source for the community. That objective needs a big capital boost and venture capitalist-like savvy.

But, as you can tell from the photos below, both the farm and food were beautiful last night.

Chef Jason Maddy from the Oak (left); table decor (right)
A view of the farm
Paul Quinn College students help serve (left); Chef Matt McCallister pours strawberry gazpacho (right)
Farm Manager Andrea Bithell
Hibiscus' house cured bacon with Texas shiitake, ricotta, and wild onion salsa verde
Nosh's Moroccan kefta with red pepper vinaigrette (left); Marquee Grill's 7 spice tuna sashimi with cucumber mint gel tomato relish (right)