Special Events & Contests - A Tasteful Place

Special Events & Contests at A Tasteful Place let you prove your cooking skills, and experience garden-to-table wonders.

Let’s Brunch! (21+)

Saturday, January 20, 2018, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Test Pavilion

$75 ($70 for members)

Weekends are everyone's favorite part of the week, so take advantage and unwind with a sweet and savory homemade brunch. Bring friends, come hungry and celebrate the weekend in culinary style! BYOB.

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Masquerade Murder Mystery Dinner

Saturday, January 27, 2018, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.Test Pavilion

$125 ($100 for members

Get ready for a glamorous evening of mystery, intrigue and murder. The rustle of silk and feathers under muted conversation was probably the last thing heard by the tragically and unexpectedly deceased. With a mystery under each feathery facade, unmasking the killer may be quite a challenge. It’s up to you and the other guests to determine which partygoer is guilty, bring this criminal to justice and save the party. Trade clues with guests, gather information and solve the crime before the masked menace gets away. All while eating an unbelievable meal in a most beautiful setting. Masks and evening wear recommended.

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Chocolate Lovers Unite

Sunday, February 11, 2017, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Test Pavilion

$65 ($60 members)

Crazy about chocolate? Join us as we make chocolate recipes from A to Z in this tasty class where we’ll put your culinary creativity to the test. A nice mix of sweet and savory recipes such as mole chili and chocolate croissants provide a well-rounded repertoire to impress your friends.

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Valentine's Day Steakhouse

Wednesday, February 14, 2017, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m , Test Pavillion

$75 ($70 for members)

Surprise your Valentine with a romantic date where you recreate a delicious steakhouse menu. No one creates a culinary work-of-art like a steakhouse, and perfecting these recipes at home comes down to technique. Learn easy recipes to complement mouth-watering 8 ounce steaks with a red wine reduction--traditional blue cheese wedge salad and truffle mashed potatoes. Bring your favorite bottle of wine or other drink of choice to complete the meal.

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Heritage Recipe Swap

Every Thursday, beginning October 5, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Information Booth

Discover new recipes. Guests are encouraged to drop off a recipe using the weekly topic by 10 a.m. and return at noon to pick-up copies of all recipes shared that day:

  • November 30 – Candy as Gifts
  • December 7 - Okra Dishes
  • December 14 - Chicken
  • December 21 - Ham Dish
  • December 28 - Corn Casserole
  • January 4 - Baked Squash

Cooking Competition

Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., The Test Pavilion

Bragging rights are up for grabs at a friendly competition aimed at amateur chefs ages 15+ visiting the garden that day. See competition rules below.


  • November 18 - Herb and Spice Dressing/Stuffing
  • November 25 - Christmas Cookies
  • December 2 - Potato Side Dish
  • December 9 - Beet Salad
  • December 16 - Pumpkin Soup
  • December 23 - Corn Soup
  • December 30 - Turkey Sandwich
  • January 6 - Ham and Bean Soup

Dallas Arboretum Cooking Competition Rules

How to Enter

  • Participation is open to all visitors to the Dallas Arboretum ages 16 and above.
  • No more than 1 entry per person accepted.
  • Each dish must serve up to five (5) judges.
  • Present your dish at Ruthie’s Tasting Plaza( or the Test Pavilion if open) no later than 11:15 the morning of the competition. Judging begins at 11:30 and the results will be announced by approximately 12:15. Judging can be quietly viewed by any guest of The Dallas Arboretum in the Test Pavilion.

Fee to Enter

  • There is no separate fee to enter the Cooking Competition, however normal entrance to the Arboretum and parking fees apply. Members, of course, pay no fees.


  • Participants must enter completely cooked and ready-to-serve items.
  • Entries cannot require special handling such as refrigeration or heating elements. Small, individual heated or chilled bags are allowed to be used in storing the item until tasting however The Dallas Arboretum does not supply those items.
  • Items entered must contain the main ingredient called for in that week’s competition.
  • Items should be delivered in either disposable containers or those with your name on the bottom of dish. All of the latter must be picked up by 12:30. Disposable containers will be tossed at that time. Other types of containers will be admitted however their return cannot be guaranteed after 12:30.
  • Items may not contain uncooked ingredients such as raw egg or raw milk products.
  • Items can be rejected if deemed inappropriate, uncooked or not safely transported. Rejections are at the discretion of the judges.
  • Items will be judged by between three (3) to five judges (5). No judge may be related to or visiting the Arboretum with any contestant.
  • Items must be accompanied by a typed or hand printed recipe appropriate for reproduction with the chef’s name, address, city, phone and email on the reverse side. Winning recipe must be freely shared with The Dallas Arboretum for possible posting on our website, listed in a newsletter or used in any way deemed appropriate by The Dallas Arboretum, such as a future cookbook. There is no compensation to the chef or the listing of his name if space does not allow. The winning recipe will be available at no charge to guests of the Dallas Arboretum on the day of the competition.
  • The Judge’s decision is final.
  • There may be taping for You Tube of aspects of the contest or the winner if present. All entrants must agree to this before submission of their food item.
  • The winner will be supplied with acknowledgement of their success however no monetary award is provided.
  • Let’s be friendly, taste some great family recipes and have some fun.


  • Overall Taste – 70%
  • Appearance – 30%

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