Radio show host Jim White found a career in the world of fine wine and dining. Vicki Briley-White found purpose there by managing a black-tie wine auction and dinner for charity.
They found each other in that same world. The couple met at Ms. Briley-White’s charity event.
And now, after nearly 11 years of marriage, they have blended career, charity, food and wine into a single experience.
The Lakewood residents founded Savor Dallas, a two-day festival celebrating wine, food and art.
The third annual event takes place next Friday and Saturday in Victory Park, the Arts District and the Hilton Anatole hotel.
“This labor of love has turned into a year-round project, and I need two more months,” Mr. White said.
Mr. White has held numerous media jobs, including a nine-year run hosting The KRLD Restaurant Show with Jim White. Ms. Briley-White is a former teacher and has worked for 33 years as a flight attendant.
Mr. White manages Savor Dallas full time while doing freelance voice-over work and hosting KRLD-AM’s (1080) Spotlight on Fine Dining . The event’s growth might soon require Ms. Briley-White’s full-time attention as well, she said.
“It’s gotten to be bigger than us,” she said.
After the Whites met, their shared interests led to professional collaborations and recreational trips.
Ms. Briley-White worked on her husband’s radio program and co-produced the Jim White Celebrity Kitchen at the State Fair of Texas. The couple traveled to food and wine festivals worldwide.
“We’d go to wine events all over the United States, and there were always so many people from Texas,” Ms. Briley-White said. “We were tired of people asking us why Dallas didn’t have one of these.”
So the Whites – banking on Mr. White’s professional contacts and Ms. Briley-White’s three years chairing the American Heart Association’s Côtes du Coeur wine auction and dinner – decided to launch an event that would showcase Dallas’ restaurants, chefs, art and culture.
Support came immediately from the city’s hotels, restaurants, wine distributors and Phillip Jones, then newly appointed president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mr. Jones, Mayor Laura Miller, Glazer’s Distributors chief executive Bennett Glazer and chef Stephan Pyles sit on the Savor Dallas advisory board.
Mr. Jones said Savor Dallas has attracted national attention, and he plans to take 25 of the country’s top meeting planners to the event when they visit the city next week.
The two-day event includes an evening wine stroll, tasting seminars, chef demonstrations and two large-scale wine tastings. Celebrity chefs include Johanne Killeen, George Germon, Rocco DiSpirito and Darren McGrady.
Victory Park is a new venue this year, and Savor Dallas has partnered with the AFI Dallas International Film Festival, which starts March 22, for a free showing of Babette’s Feast on the park’s large video screens.
A portion of Savor Dallas’ proceeds benefits the North Texas Food Bank, a culinary scholarship awarded through the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association and the building campaign for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts’ new campus.
Mr. White likes to say Savor Dallas “trains the chefs of tomorrow, nurtures the artists of the future and feeds the hungry families of today.”
Though planning Savor Dallas is laborious, the Whites say it perfectly balances their professional, personal and civic interests.
“We’ve met wonderful people, people with so much passion about what they do,” Ms. Briley-White said. “It’s always uplifting.”
•4 to 7 p.m.: Wine stroll at Victory Park and the Arts District
•11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.: Tasting seminars in Victory Park restaurants and celebrity kitchen in Victory Park Plaza
•Noon: Free screening of Babette’s Feast, Victory Park
•5 to 6:30 p.m.: Reserve Tasting, Hilton Anatole Wedgewood Room
•7 to 10 p.m.: International Grand Tasting, Hilton Anatole Trinity Ballroom II
•10 p.m. to midnight: Texas Outlaws Party, Hilton Anatole Trinity Ballroom I
Tickets: Individual events $40 to $135, weekend pass $350
Information: http://www.savordallas.com/ or 866-277-7920