Friday, November 18, 2011

Brian C. Luscher of The Grape Becomes Seventh Guest Chef for Cafe Momentum

On December 4, 2011, Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum plays host to The Grape’s Brian C. Luscher and Cafe Momentum, for its seventh pop-up dinner and the final for 2011. Tickets are $100 and include five courses with wine. Below is the menu.

Dates With Chorizo
Blue Cheese Mousse
Smoked Salmon Tartare

Red Curry Billi Bi
Sautéed pears & coriander

“Broiled” Barnegat Lighthouse Monkfish
Almonds, capers & tarragon, lemon-scented couscous

Smoke-Roasted Suckling Pig
Natural jus, country sausage, fricassee of corn, yams & peppers

Porcini-Dusted Kobe Beef Hanger Steak
Red wine reduction monte au foie gras, sautéed chanterelles, duck fat roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts petals

Chocolate-Espresso Pots De Creme
Candied orange zest, pistachio florentine

About Brian C. Luscher
A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York, Brian Luscher purchased the popular Greenville Avenue bistro The Grape in 2007, where he had previously served as executive chef from 2001-2004. Buying the restaurant fulfilled Luscher’s lifelong dream of becoming chef-owner of his own place. Brian’s wife Courtney operates the dining room as general manager and sommelier.

For nearly 40 years, The Grape has been one of Dallas’ most beloved restaurants, thanks to its charming, European-style atmosphere. The Grape was the first restaurant in Dallas to offer a blackboard menu, a tradition that stands today. Signature bistro items are featured alongside a rotating list of more contemporary creations. The restaurant is also known as the first in the city to offer wine by the glass, and it’s still a destination for an expansive and eclectic selection of wines.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cafe Momentum Update: The Momentum Is Building

Greetings from the land of culinary dreams and a happy Cafe Momentum Eve to you all!

Did you know that tomorrow night’s Cafe Momentum dinner with Matt McCallister is the largest one yet? So large, in fact, that three of our young men who already have graduated from the program are coming back to help us out. There are enough positives in that last sentence to put even Chad on Santa’s “good” list this holiday season.

Tomorrow night’s event will be our sixth Cafe Momentum “pop-up” dinner. All of them sold out within 72 hours. Tomorrow night’s dinner actually sold out in 36 hours! These statistics are mind-blowing and reassuring. The idea behind the pop-up dinners was three fold:

  • Prove the young men were capable of performing at such a high level (*accomplished)
  • Prove that Dallas chefs would embrace the project (*accomplished)
  • Prove that the good people of Dallas were craving (pun intended) a restaurant with great food for a great cause (*accomplished) 

That last objective was easily the most nerve-wracking for all of us behind Cafe Momentum. The first pop-up dinner was supposed to be very, very simple. We agreed we would cook for only 50 guests. We went so far as to figure out how many tickets each one of us would have to sell so that we would even have 50 guests, just to make sure that it sold out.

Then, it happened. Two of us posted a link to the dinner on our Facebook pages. Within 24 hours, yes we said 24 hours, we were so overwhelmed with ticket sales that before we could scramble to cut off the PayPal account, we had booked 68 seats!

Here we stand today, with (almost) six dinners under our belts. We have raised more than $50,000, one-fifth of our goal. We have collected more than 100 plates and more than 70 sets of silverware for the permanent location. We have finished the financials that prove Cafe Momentum will be 100% self-sustaining, and we turned them over the good folks at Slow Money (thank you, Steve Carlson) for review. We have finished a solid draft of the business plan, and we are turning it over to some of our peers to critique. And, as of Monday, we have officially applied for funding from the Crystal Charity Ball! 

Cafe Momentum is no longer a question of if, but when! Stay tuned, because the momentum continues to build. Thank you for supporting Cafe Momentum and helping us all to accomplish our no. 1 goal: make a difference in the lives of some truly special young men!