(Featured photo: Joseph Rivers from Jay Sonata Photography, Nikki G of Nikki G Productions; Chipo Size, @dfwfarmtotable; Emma Ndebele of Atukio; Buke Dube @dfwfarmtotable.)*
Buke Dube and Chipo Size came together to curate A Farm-To-Table Soirée, an event spotlighting some of Dallas’ Black-owned event industry vendors at Bonton Farms, a hidden oasis in South Dallas.
The evening was beautiful and clear as a soft breeze drifted through the gardens. Everyone felt very much at home and enjoyed the warm and inviting atmosphere created by Emma Ndebele, who planned and designed the entire event. Ndebele’s company Atukio “A Bold Event Design Experience” set a welcoming ambience, placing tables spaced with social distancing in mind, draped with earth-toned neutral tablecloths and topped with creative floral centerpieces supplemented with produce from the Bonton Farms garden. There was warm lighting strung above, and the sound of cicadas stirred in the background.
As a special treat, the Bonton Farms gardens were open to wander through. The scent of fresh rosemary stirred the senses and handfuls of hummingbirds were easily spotted. The lush gardens not only provide meals but bring healing to a community in great need.
Zimbabwe native chef Linda Mainja, owner of Tinaye Catering, orchestrated a three-course meal that featured fresh garden-to kitchen-cooking. A jumbo lump crab cake over a bed of zesty arugula salad delighted all as the first course, followed by a second course of garlic mashed potatoes topped with chicken thigh in a creamy white sauce and sautéed asparagus. A sweet finish of custard-filled crepes topped with berry sauce brought out the smiles.
Adding to the lively and upbeat tone of the evening, Private Property Band jammed out classic soul and R&B hits, everything from Stevie Wonder to Roberta Flack. Their “Killing Me Softly with His Song” cover had the vocal integrity and spunk of Lauryn Hill so much so that anyone would be tempted to shout, “One Time, One Time.”
This evening’s combination of artful entertaining, farm-to-table dining and camaraderie truly embraced the vendors talents and commitment to an excellent experience without being distracting to the feeling of the entire night.
Buke made the message clear saying, “It is really important for us to come into the community and do this at Bonton Farms, specifically, because of what Bonton represents. I just want to start off by saying we are very honored today to welcome our VIPs who are Bonton residents. It is important to host an event that is inclusive of the community. One of the biggest reasons why we are here is to showcase Black businesses. I know a lot of you have been asking who they are. Just so you know, today everything that you see has been done by Black vendors.”
Shining the spotlight on this evening’s contributors, Buke said that whether someone is hosting a small event or large event, contact Chef Linda. Complimenting the decor and perfection in overall planning and execution, she thanked Emma Ndebele of Atukio “A Bold Event Design Experience.” She thanked the amazing Private Property Band, which is growing to be a favorite choice for all occasions and praised the excellence of tonight’s photographer, Joseph Rivers from Jay Sonata Photography and videographer Nikki G of Nikki G Productions. She ended saying, “Our events empower the community. All the services here today are from the Black community, so I hope you join us at our next event!”
The event benefited awareness for Miles of Freedom, a prison re-entry program designed to equip, empower, and employ individuals returning home from prison and provide support and assistance for families and communities impacted by incarceration. www.milesoffreedom.org
* Buke Dube and Chipo Size on Instagram: @dfwfarmtotable
* Atukio – A Bold Event Design Experience: @atukio.atelier https://www.atukio.com/
* Bonton Farms: https://bontonfarms.org/
* Chef Linda Mainja: @tinayecatering https://www.instagram.com/tinayecatering/?hl=en
* Jay Sonata Photography @jaysonata https://jaysonataphotography.com/
* Nikki G Productions/Videographer: @nikki_g_productions
* Private Property Band @privatepropertyband2018 https://www.facebook.com/privatepropertyband/
*Photos by Joseph Rivers, Jay Sonata Photography.)
(Note: Katelin Siamro contributed to this article. Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, represented this Soirée.)