Kody Nance is new Mr. Dallas Eagle

Kody NanceThe Dallas Eagle has a new standard-bearer to carry its name, and it’s Kody Nance. Nance, a North Texas leatherman, took the title Mr. Dallas Eagle 2014 at the competition on Saturday night. He doesn’t have much time to rest on his laurels, though. The victory immediately qualifies him to compete in Mr. Texas Leather 2014, which, as it happens, will also take place at the Eagle, on Jan. 24 and 25. The winner of that contest will represent the Lone Star State at International Mr. Leather 2014, the world’s largest leather contest, in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. Congrats to Kody!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The new Gulf Coast Leather Sir 2013 is…

Jason Kloss!

Yep, this Leather Sir/boy/community bootblack competition was held at the Dallas Eagle over the weekend. Kloss took the title from current holder and Dallas leatherman Jack Duke, who also served as one of the judges.

In the leather world, Gulf Coast Leather Sir is a regional feeder competition to the International Leather Sir, held every summer. It’s an interesting competition because, unlike IML which is always in Chicago, ILS relocates every year to a different city. And when Kloss competes next August, he’ll have to go all the way to… Dallas, Texas. Yep, the 2013 International Leather Sir comes to Big D! And Duke is also the reigning International Leather Sir 2012, which puts Kloss in line to succeed him … if he wins, of course. Let’s hear it for hometown advantage!

If Kloss’ name looks at all familiar to you, it might be because just a month ago, we profiled Kloss as one of the out gay residents of the Disney Streets in North Dallas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Jack Duke wins International Leather Sir

When someone comes in the top 3 at a competition like International Mr. Leather, they usually hang up their competition jockstrap and become a senior statesman of the leather community. For a few years, Jack Duke did just that — judging other leatherman competitions, attending ex officio, etc.

But it turns out Duke wasn’t quite done with competing.

This weekend, Duke took first place in the International Leather Sir/boy competition in San Francisco.

It’s a wonderful coup for the Dallas-based pastry chef, following his third-place finish at IML in 2010, where he competed as Mr. Texas Leather.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The ice cream man cometh

Gelato master (and part-time leatherman) Jack Duke is one cool character

A SURE BET | In Italy, being a gelato maker is a respected but not-unusual profession, but here Jack Duke is ice cream royalty, as one of a few dozen true gelato masters in the entire U.S. (Arnold Wayne Jones)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

When Jack Duke first moved to the U.S. in 2005, the captain of his volleyball team predicted — accurately, it turns out — that lot of guys would ask him out. And from a food standpoint, almost every one was a disaster.

“Every single date I went on, they took me to an Italian restaurant,” Duke sighs. Or rather, one they considered Italian: Spaghetti Warehouse, Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden. “They were just trying to make me comfortable,” he says with generosity. “But, like, Alfredo sauce? We don’t really have that in Italy.”

Duke hails from the north of Italy between Milan and Venice — “Near Verona, where Romeo and Juliet are from. I didn’t know them personally, but there is a statue of Juliet and it’s good luck to touch her boobs,” he laughs.

As an authentic Italian, faux Americanized versions of classics he grew up on didn’t impress him much. Especially since Duke is a chef in his own right.

Duke’s culinary roots are hereditary. “My dad is in the food business as well, doing prosciutto. In Italy, it is a small group of people who can really carve the prosciutto. And I grew up having good food anyway — my mom always cooked.”

And while he cooks a lot at home (he’s happily partnered now), Duke’s particular skills in the kitchen run cooler than his hot Latin blood would suggest: Duke is a gelato master — one of only about two dozen in the U.S. And while that’s impressive here, it is slightly less so back home.

“Gelato is way more diffuse in Italy — they say, one gelateria for every 3,000 people. So there’s a lot. Gelato masters go to school and there are several different schools Italy, but a lot of people grow up in it and you can be very good without school. But in America it’s different because we are so few — you get more status.”

(One potential downside of being multinational: “When I fly back and forth to Italy, I have to fill out that white[customs/immigration] card. Under ‘What do you do for business?’ I tell them ‘gelato master’ but he did not understand, so he just wrote ‘master.’ I thought: I can be that, too,” says the former Mr. Texas Leather, who came in third at IML last year.)

Modesty aside, Duke’s skills with frozen treats keep him busy, traveling the country and teaching restaurateurs and chefs how to make gelato, ice cream and sorbetto.

“Frozen dessert in general,” he says,  up to and including mousses, frozen yogurt and tiramisu. “In Italy there is no distinction. Sorbetto is something different — what you use in between meals — but they are all considered gelato: some made with water [what we could call sorbet], some with milk.”

There is, however, a big difference in Italian ice creams versus American.

“Gelato is made with whole milk, ice cream with heavy cream, sorbetto with water,” he explains. “Gelato has 4 to 8 percent fat; ice cream is 14 percent. And Haagen Dazs is 32 percent! Look at the label. There’s also more air in ice cream – 60 percent is air, where gelato is less than 30 percent air.”

If this also sounds esoteric — more chemistry than culinary — welcome to the wonderful world of the dessert chef.

“All frozen desserts have a base that is similar: Liquids and solids. Balancing those is how you create unique flavors,” Duke says. “The solids are the same: You have a stabilizer, or emulsifier, often a gum; it used to be eggs but not any more because of risk of salmonella. Then come the sugars, which are the major part of the solids.  The amount of sugar dictates how it melts. If it melts too quickly that’s because there’s too much sugar — sugar is not just a flavor, it’s an antifreeze.”

The kind of sugar you use — sucrose, dextrose, inverted sugar, corn syrup — also affects the consistency as well as the sweetness. And because fat molecules “grab” bubbles of air to make gelato fluffier, adding components like nuts (high in fat) alters the recipe … not that Duke is sharing any of his recipes.

Duke designed one of the most remarkable desserts I’ve ever tasted: A chocolate sorbet (made with water, mind you) at Cibus in NorthPark Center. How did he achieve such authentic richness? That’s for him to know…

“Most gelato stores try to keep their recipes secretive,” is all he’ll say. “We maintain a big hush-hush on the recipes.”

He has some favorites of his own creation, including a pistachio gelato that was salty and sweet. “I just got a machine that makes soft serve gelato or yogurt, so I made this mascarpone soft serve,” he says. “One I am most proud of was probably the Shiner Bock gelato: Red beans, goat cheese, basil, saffron and rosewater. I did a good job with a cucumber yogurt once. I just got a phone call for maple gelato. I’ve never done that before, but I’ll figure it out.”

If some of those concepts sound scary and unusual, that’s part of the fun of his job, Duke says — though sometime it leads to disasters.

“The worst one I ever tasted was in New Orleans: eggs and bacon. I’ve tasted good eggs and bacon in Michigan but there it was gross.”

He tries new things at home as well now, including one brand new recipe that will debut this weekend.

“For Pride, I am gonna make some pink grapefruit sorbet and a sangria dessert,” he says. “I’ve already tried it; it’s good.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.


—  Michael Stephens

PHOTOS: John Grissom captures AWOL title

John Grissom, shown above, took home the title of AWOL Leatherman 2012 on Saturday night during AWOL III, Third Strike (A Weekend of Leather) at the Crowne Plaza Dallas.

The AWOL competition feeds Mr. Texas Leather.

The Leather Knights, who put on AWOL, also announced the dates for next year’s event, “AWOL IV – FLEET WEEK,” which will run Oct. 12 through 14, 2012.

This year’s AWOL benefited the SSC Fund, a nonprofit that raises funds to provide hearing aids and sign interpreters for hearing-impaired and/or deaf individuals.

For a slideshow of photos from Saturday’s AWOL Leatherman contest, go here.

—  John Wright

2011 AWOL Leatherman Contest

Photos by Chuck Dube/Dallas Voice (MarceloMedia)


—  John Wright

Go A.W.O.L. with tonight’s Leatherman Contest

Call him ‘Mister’

By now you may already be partaking in A Weekend of Leather, but one of the weekend highlights will be the crowning at the A.W.O.L. Leatherman Contest. Err wait, they probably don’t give a crown there. Visit the website for a schedule of all the events happening.

DEETS: Crowne Plaza Dallas, 7050 N. Stemmons Freeway. 8 p.m. LeatherKnights.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 08.12.11

Friday 08.12

Goth queen for days
Save for Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 Say You Will, Stevie Nicks has been a bit off the radar until this spring. Now she’s on tour in support of her newest album In Your Dreams. The feathered and frocked queen of classic rock maintains her goth flair but still manages an air of relevance.

DEETS: With Michael Grimm. Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. 8 p.m. $35–$250. Ticketmaster.com.


Saturday 08.13

Call him ‘Mister’
By now you may already be partaking in A Weekend of Leather, but one of the weekend highlights will be the crowning at the A.W.O.L. Leatherman Contest. Err wait, they probably don’t give a crown there. Visit the website for a schedule of all the events happening.

DEETS: Crowne Plaza Dallas, 7050 N. Stemmons Freeway. 8 p.m. LeatherKnights.org.


Thursday 08.18

Rock star meets high art
Artist Michael Godard previews Pedaling Olives where olives and cocktails are the stars. Proceeds from the show benefit Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS which really rocks.

DEETS: Wisby-Smith Fine Art Gallery, 500 Crescent Court. 6 p.m. Wisby-Smith.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

And Mr. Texas Leather … NOT from Dallas

Roger Triche (via Facebook)

This week, we have a story about how Dallas leatherman and current Mr. Dallas Eagle Scott Moore hoped to threepeat as Mr. Texas Leather, which has been a gateway to IML glory in recent years. Well, Saturday night at the Rose Room came the results and the winner was … not Scott. Roger Triche, Mr. Houston Leather, took the top prize. Still, we’re hoping Roger represents the Lone Star State proudly in Chicago this May.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones


HELLBENT FOR LEATHER | Scott Moore has planned for a year to try and repeat the achievements of Dallas leathermen Jeffrey Payne and Jack Duke. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Dallas has become a player in the international leather scene, and Scott Moore hopes to keep streak alive

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Scott Moore has some big boots to fill — and we don’t just mean size 13 triple Ds.

In 2008, Dallas’ Jeffrey Payne parlayed his Mr. Dallas Eagle leatherman title into Mr. Texas Leather 2009, then went on to score the top international prize: International Mr. Leather. His service was seen as a benchmark for the entire community, and an award was even named after him.

The next year, Dallas’ Jack Duke pulled off almost the same feat, going from Mr. Dallas Eagle to Mr. Texas Leather and coming in an impressive third overall at IML.

The Texas leather scene — and more impressively, Dallas’ — was on the map for its depth and seriousness.

And that’s where Moore has to follow.

He’ll slide on his jackboots and strap on his harness this weekend to compete in the 16th annual Texas Leather Weekend, as leatherman from across the state gather in Dallas to celebrate their brotherhood and crown the new Mr. Texas Leather.

Whoever wins will go on to Chicago and IML in the spring, but Moore would like for North Texas to represent for a third year in a row … and, of course, work its way onto the winners’ podium.

“It hit home for me after I won Mr. Dallas Eagle and [the Voice] started listing [in Instant Tea] the history of the event, which I knew, but seeing it in print … well, as you say, I have big boots to fill. Jeffrey was phenomenal and Jack has also done a lot. But for now my goal is not to trip when coming up the stairs or fall off the edge of the stage. The rest will work itself out.”

Moore is being modest — this isn’t his first time on the runway. A few years ago, he was entered by a friend in the Bear of the Month contest at the Eagle, and eventually went on to be named Mr. TBRU 2007. Still, Mr. Dallas Eagle was the first leather contest he’d ever entered.

It was the culmination of a long journey for him. Moore, 43, started in the leather community 14 years ago when he still lived in San Antonio. That’s when his lover gave him a gift: His first piece of leather.

“It was a harness — I still wear it,” he says. “I have been increasingly active ever since.”

In fact, it was watching Payne and Duke win — as well as attending IML and other events — that gave him the impetus to seek out the title for himself.

“I really wanted to get more involved and be part of this brotherhood. It was on my mind for a year. So I read extensively, and have gone to a lot of events. There’s quite a bit of preparation. And it’s not a cheap hobby,” he says.
When it comes down to it, though, he knows the competition will really just be an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of the leather community.

“I have met all of my competitors and have a really good group of people but there is no history or drama. Everyone’s advice is to be yourself and have fun. As a contestant, the have fun part is harder. I tend to be a little uptight — it’s in my nature. Paranoia helps as an attorney.”

Might not be had for a leatherman, either.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011. 

—  John Wright