Sad Loss for Dallas Dining: Polly Waddington Died on Saturday

Polly Waddington sips a margarita at the original Matt's Rancho Martinez.

To survive and thrive, artists need patrons. Dallas has a great food scene, not just because of the chefs and food producers, but because of the people here who are passionate about eating well.

The city has had its share of great diners and food supporters: Harriet Rose, Carol Hall, “the two Nancys,” Dedman and Lemmon, Ida Pappert–all non-professionals who gave their time, energy and palates to the cause of better eating in Dallas.

One of these, Polly Waddington, died Saturday.

Polly and her husband Don joined the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food as soon as they moved back to Dallas from New York in 1991 and have been actively involved in the Dallas food scene every since. They volunteered at the Dallas Farmers Market Cooking Classes, co-sponsored by the AIWF and the Friends of the Farmers Market, every Saturday for 20 years, supported Les Dames d’Escoffier and made friends throughout the Dallas food community along the way.

Polly’s favorite cause was AIWF’s Days of Taste program, which teaches children about real food, where it comes from and how to enjoy it, just as she had taught her own children–David Waddington, wine director at Sigel’s on Greenville Ave., food writer Mary Brown Malouf and Helen Duran, longtime chef at the Crescent Club, who is now culinary director for Coppell ISD, carrying on her mother’s legacy.

Polly and Don were passengers on both D Magazine chef cruises (2003, 2004). (Polly won the ” loudest yell for tequila” contest in Bermuda!) They also joined a group that traveled with me to Cornwall on a trip former Dallas chef Nick Barclay and I organized in 2002. We spent ten glorious days at Barclay’s Hotel and ate our way across southwest England. Polly and Don were frequent dining companions on my restaurant reviews. That is, until they I got “busted” one too many times. Most chefs and restaurant workers recognized them as dining royalty and knew I was their loyal subject.

Services for Polly Waddington will be held Wednesday at 1:00 pm at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas.


  • Polly and Don were THE BEST. Everyone loved them, me included. And they not only supported all the food and wine events, but they supported the DMA’s Arts and Letters Live and other cultural organizations in our city. I will all miss Polly!

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  • Paul Wackym

    Sad loss for us. She was lovely.  Don and Polly were a regular bright spots for me at the Dallas Farmers Market.  I looked forward to sharing a cookie with them nearly every week for three years.

  • Would rather see a woman like this in “10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas.”

  • Amy S

    @ JT – Yes.

  • Belinda S

    I used to see Polly and Don working the doors at the cooking classes at the Farmer’s Market. They are both delightful people and Polly is a treasure. Love and prayers to the family

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  • Aimee

    Polly was such a real person. She was as passionate as she was fun. My thoughts are with Mary and Helen and Don. What memories of that cruise!!!

  • InsideEdition

    I agree James Tucker.

  • One of Joanne’s and I favorite times was to participate at the Farmer’s Market. Polly was always there to greet us. Our trip to England with Nancy, her Mother and other good friends was special and I will never forget it.
    I was always happy to see Don, Helen and Polly at Bee. She was so proud of all of her kids and that’s how I kept informed about Mary where-abouts. But mostly we all just talked about food. I will miss her.

  • M Mimura

    Polly was a jewel. Her presence at AIWF events will be sorely missed.

  • Nancy Purcell

    Polly was a delight. I always enjoyed AIWF evenings spent with Polly and Don. What a wonderful lady!

  • Happy memories of a great, great lady, always a joy at the Farmers Market. We were thrilled to have Polly & Don stay with us here in Cornwall on that epic trip Nancy organised along with 16 other greats from Big D, happy days.. Our best to the family, RIP Polly, off to organize foodie heaven

  • Chenke

    I agree with James Tucker

  • Mrs. Waddington was a fine gentle Southern lady! Such an inspiration to listen to and be with. Have to brag…we had 50+ years to play with her wonderful family . Mr. Waddington, David, Mary, Helen and each of your families…you are in our thoughts and prayers and always in our hearts. Thank you for for all the years I have felt like part of y’all.