Helen Corbitt, Dallas resident and chef extraordinaire was the food name in Dallas before Anne, Dean, Stephan, Kevin, Kent, and Casey. Shoot, she was even pre-Julia, and sold almost as many cook books worldwide. It took Stanley Marcus eight years to convince her to head up the Zodiac Room restaurant at Neiman Marcus, which she did in 1955. He even wrote a miniature book in her honor, Helen Corbitt-The Balenciaga of Food (Somesuch Press, 1992).
So strong-willed, she turned down overtures from LBJ and Lady Bird to become the White House chef. University of Dallas awards two students each year the "Helen Corbitt Award for Excellence" in recognition of seniors who have produced an outstanding body of work. Over 50 years have passed since she made her footprint and they still serve some of her specialties at Neiman's (hungry for a popover with strawberry butter?).
She passed away in 1978, 30 years ago, of stomach cancer of all things. I've contacted my councilwoman to see if this great lady has ever been honored by the City of Dallas for her contributions to Dallas culinary arts. Because if she doesn't deserve it, nobody in the food world of Dallas does.
So Helen, tonights glass of wine is a salute to you.