The annual Burgers & Burgundy fundraiser for DIFFA Dallas moves from a Preston Hollow estate to the Ron King Pedestrian Bridge with its breathtaking views of both Downtown and its neighboring “Large Marge” Bridge.
The evening got off to a slightly late start, as the health inspector loped around before signing off on the cooking stations, but when it got into full swing attendees were greeted by excellent gourmet burgers from chefs at Knife (pimento cheese!), Five Sixty (lamb!), The Grape (the famed “Uncle Herky mini!), Common Table, Madrina and more, represented by culinary masters like Sharon Van Meter, Casey Thompson, Brian Luscher and more. Check out some scenes from the event.
Chef Brian Luscher
A lineup of burgers
Five Sixty’s lamb burger
Grace chef Blaine Staniford
Event founder John Tesar surrounded by Jane MacGarry, Cynthia Smoot, Lee Ann Locken and Casey Thompson
Burgers & Burgundy started when chef John Tesar was on the DIFFA Style Council and wanted to host a fundraiser. I was at the first one… and the six since then. It has moved from an Uptown condo rooftop to a fancy North Dallas estate’s garden, where it has been for several years. It seems it has finally outgrown that space, though, and for its 8th year will move to the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge, the walkway connecting Calatrava’s “Large Marge” with the Trinity Groves development in West Dallas.
It’s a fancy-casual event with live music and celebrichefs, where folks dress dapper and simple, where simple burgers are transformed into works of culinary art … all to raise money for DIFFA. This year, it comes on the heals of Black Tie Dinner (which, technically, moved a lot earlier this year), taking place on Friday, Oct. 7, from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 and space is limited.
In addition, here are some photos from the recent check presentations to the beneficiaries of this year’s DIFFA, presented at LA Traffic at The Joule Hotel.
We’ve written about Don Gaiser before, in large part because he has been a reliable fundraiser for a number of gay charities, among them especially DIFFA and the Black Tie Dinner. But Don emailed me today to say he has decided to retire from the law offices of McKool Smith where he has worked 19 years. After that, he says, he’s moving on. Within the next year or so, he plans to relocate to sunny Puerto Vallerta. Congrats, Don!
The annual DIFFA Dallas fashion show and fundraiser has long been a late-winter event, usually taking place — as it has the past two years — the first weekend of March at Downtown’s Omni Hotel. Well, in 2016 it will be back at the Omni, and you can expect more runway glam … but the looks on the red carpet will likely be quite different.
That’s because DIFFA Dallas has announced that the Collection next year will take place on May 21 — fully 10 weeks later in the season that usual. And that probably means a lot of reimagining of what guests will wear. Unlike the Black Tie Dinner, where most men keep it to black tuxes, DIFFA has always been the hipper, crazier cousin of gay Dallas society.
Sure, most of the women already wear dresses that probably make them a little chilly walking into to the hotel. But it won’t just be the cut! That’s on the cusp of Memorial Day, which means we might see more white, more blowsy fabrics, more (ahem) revealing looks.
Dallas fashion designer Michael Faircloth — a long-time supporter of DIFFA and famous for designing Laura Bush’s inaugural ball gown — has been honored by the University of North Texas with a fashion program named in his honor.
Lisa Troutt, a former fashion designer, and her husband Kenny donated $500,000 to launch the Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program in honor of the UNT alumnus. The goal is to raise a total of $2.5 million to support the program.
“I am humbled and overjoyed that my friend [Lisa Troutt] and my alma mater desire to recognize my achievements by name the [program] after me,” Faircloth said in a statement.
At the DIFFA gala a few weeks ago, Celebrity Cruises had a booth where they were serving a sassy little cocktail of their own making. The coolest thing about it? The addition of actual rose petals to the concoction. My friend asked, “Are they edible?” The bartender paused. “Uhh … sure, why not?” Well, we didn’t eat them. But the cocktail was fun nonetheless.
2 oz. Ketel One vodka
2 oz. brut champagne
1/2 oz. Rose’s syrup
Fresh lime juice.
Making it: Combine in a flute over ice, and garnish with rose petals.
DIFFA’s 25th anniversary gala isn’t for more than a week, but if you’ve already purchased seats you don’t have to wait and stand in line at the Omni in your tux. You can beat the crowds by dropping by Traffic at the Joule this Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. There will even be champagne and snacks available! And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, well, you can do it there and then, too.
At a party Wednesday night at Neiman Marcus’ flagship store, DIFFA revealed the nine members of the Style Council for 2015. They are tasked with promoting the DIFFA cause and especially generating support for the gala next March 7, which will return to the Omni hotel.
In addition, to mark the 25th anniversary of DIFFA, seven Legends of Style were announced — former Style Council Ambassadors who have long supported the cause over the years in significant ways.
Here are the ambassadors and legends!
Style Council: Jenna Alexander, Jenn Clark, Norma Johnson, Scott Kehn, Debra Nelson, Ralph Randall, Shayne Robinson, Jody Stein, Patrick Ware.
Legends: Simona Beal, Gillian Breidenbach, Don Gaiser, Rebecca Hallman, David Kiger, Matrice Kirk and Joe Pacetti, pictured.