At the end of August, Parigi chef and partner Chad Houser will leave his post at the Oak Lawn eatery to become the executive director and executive chef of Cafe Momentum, the nonprofit restaurant he and his partner, Janice Provost, founded last spring. Since June 2011, in conjunction with programs funded by the Youth Village Resources of Dallas, Cafe Momentum has taught culinary skills—and life skills—to dozens of disadvantaged youth through regular pop-up dinners with the city’s top chefs.
Provost and Houser have been business partners for the past four years, bonding over a shared philosophy of food, especially sourcing fresh, local ingredients. In addition to supporting local farmers and producers, the two of them have been actively involved in the community, dedicating time and resources to causes such as Dallas Farmers Market Friends, Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, Human Rights Campaign, and Best Buddies. After touring the Dallas County Youth Village with Jerry Silhan, executive director of Youth Village Resources of Dallas, both chefs immediately were inspired to contribute. The idea for Cafe Momentum was born.
In his new role, Houser will be able to dedicate himself fully to Cafe Momentum’s mission: transforming young lives by equipping our community’s most at-risk youth with life skills, education, and employment opportunities so they can achieve their full potential. He will oversee all Cafe Momentum operations and, eventually, will man the stove at a permanent location. The young men (and, soon, young women) will work with Houser to execute his menu.
“Cafe Momentum reminds me why I fell in love with cooking in the first place,” says Houser, the organization’s co-founder. “It’s familial. It nurtures souls and bodies. Regardless of their background, when these young men come into Cafe Momentum, they speak the same language: food. I’m very grateful to Janice for being such a supportive partner and friend, and to the Cafe Momentum board for believing in me.”
“When Chad and I first conceptualized Cafe Momentum, I think it was always in the back of my mind that he might one day leave Parigi to lead Cafe Momentum,” Provost says. “He is very passionate about Cafe Momentum, and we have reached a point where we need someone to run the organization on a full-time basis. We need a person dedicated to taking it to the next level, and I can’t think of a better person than Chad to do just that. Although we will miss him at Parigi, I am thrilled to continue to work with him on our vision for Cafe Momentum.”
Cafe Momentum recently filed the necessary paperwork to become its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Provost will remain on the board alongside fellow members Cannon Flowers, Christopher Quadri, Jerry Silhan, Ken Maxwell, Phil Willis, Terry Lynn Crenshaw, and Corey Admire.