Fall’s Travel-Worthy Festivals

Fall features full weekends to celebrate all the seasonal flavors we’re craving — from bourbon and beer to apples and smoky barbecue — across the country (and in the Caribbean). … Texas’ best barbecue makers showcase their specialties in Austin, Dallas chefs celebrate farmers, and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten headlines the Barbados Food & Rum Festival.

The theme of the month long Texas State Fair might be “Celebrating Texas Agriculture,” but for two short nights in Dallas early this fall, the theme was brought home locally. For those two nights, Chefs for Farmers was the premier, locavore, city, and food event…a true Peak Plate experience.

A muscular cadre of superhero chefs assembled on Sunday to bring the most awesome food event the palates of Dallas’ hungriest have ever seen. Wine, cheese, charcuterie, puréed pumpkin with pancetta and foie gras? I mean, c’mon.

The Chefs For Farmers event launched with sophisticated charm all over Lee Park. The band kept spirits up with an eclectic mix of hip hop, country, folk, and rock while stark, young lovers indulged their mouths with all manner of drink and food. Chefs and farmers from all over Texas attended and delivered with panache. There were beautiful people, smoked meats, mixed cocktails, sharp wits, and a photo booth inside a trailer. It’s an event that deserves awards, prestige, French kisses, and every sort of cream filling my heart and body can manifest in appreciation of such kick-you-in-the-gut deliciousness.

Not all food festivals are created equal. To make this event stand out from the pack, Chefs for Farmers head honcho Iris Midler knew her team had to do something a little different. CFF is the self-described “down-home, no-fuss culinary event of the year” — and the laid-back vibe is precisely what keeps a chefs and diners alike coming back. Rather than placing celebrity chefs on a pedestal, the event honors what it views as truly important: the farmers responsible for cultivating the goods that supply the city’s top restaurants day-to-day.


Chefs for Farmers held their first annual Oyster Bash at the Dallas Farmers Market on Sunday. Guests and chefs sucked down oysters and libations from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Chefs participating in the event included Jon Alexis (TJ’s Seafood Market), Matt McCallister (FT33), Kyle McClelland (Proof + Pantry), Jack Perkins (The Slow Bone), Stephen Rogers (Gemma), Jon Stevens (Stock and Barrel), John Tesar (Knife) and Randy Rucker (Briar and Bramble, Houston).


Local chefs, bartenders, artisans, and food enthusiasts gathered at Gilley’s Dallas this past Sunday for the Chefs For Farmers food festival.