March 31, 2015
The Culinary Loft's kitchen is a state-of-the-art space. Photo courtesy of the  Des Moines Social Club.    

We Were There: The Debut of the Culinary Loft  

By Wini Moranville   


The most exciting thing to happen on the Des Moines culinary scene this year isn't a restaurant. It's a ...


Well, in truth, I'm not sure exactly what we should call the Culinary Loft presented by Meredith Corp. and Cathy and Steve Lacy. Certainly, this new venue will host culinary classes; you can come here to learn everything from knife skills and mother sauces to healthy cooking and basic baking techniques.


Yet, to hear Zachary Mannheimer, executive director of the Des Moines Social Club, and Amanda Mae Phillips, the newly appointed culinary director of the loft, speak of this new space, it's much more than a cooking school.


I attended the preview of the loft last Friday, and while guests sipped and nibbled their way through the new space, admiring the gleaming new kitchen and the curved expanse of windows of the old fire station, Mannheimer and Phillips spoke of events to come.


Mannheimer noted that the classes are designed to put the "art" in the culinary arts. With offerings such as the Gastronome's Book Club, The Global Kitchen (featuring recipes from Iowa's newest residents, who hail from all over the world), and Dinner and a Movie (complete with a discussion of cinematography and a film-inspired meal), the act of sharing, preparing and eating food becomes an event where insights into the human condition are shared--which is to say, the Culinary Loft is slated to become a spot where art happens.


Find out more by clicking here.


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We Were There: Bubble Ball 2015

By Wini Moranville


The best charity fundraisers are a mixture of purpose, glamour and good fun. The ChildServe Bubble Ball 2015, held in the atrium of Capital Square, brought all three--with glamour to spare.


The space was transformed into a fantasy

world of children's movies, thanks to story-high

draperies of pirate ships and castles and an

enormous Bubble Wrap sculpture of sea creatures from the hit Disney movie "Finding Nemo." Music by The Brazilian 2wins--with their mesmerizing blend of electric ukulele and violin-driven, classic-infused pop--energized the evening.


Yet the event was, of course, all about the signature runway show. The models strutted across the stage dressed in colorful costumes created from Bubble Wrap. The magical parade included of all kinds of storybook characters, from Tinker Bell to The Little Mermaid, with plenty of princesses, monsters and wizards to go around. More than 60 volunteers put on the show, including our own Belle Du Chene, dsm magazine's senior editor, who designed a sultry "Jessica Rabbit" from the movie, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."


The near sellout event was expected to raise more than $150,000 for the 85-year-old nonprofit organization, which improves the health and well-being of children with special health care needs. To find out more about the charity, go to

fyi: Mark Your Calendar   

  • See Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and other favorite characters dance their way down the yellow brick road at Ballet Des Moines' performance of "The Wizard of Oz" at Des Moines Civic Center April 4 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. After appearing on the Fox reality dance series "So You Think You Can Dance," former Ballet Des Moines professional Jacque LeWarne will return to the local stage in the lead role of Dorothy. Live music will be performed by the Des Moines Community Orchestra. Tickets cost $15.50-$55 and can be purchased here.
  • The Des Moines Art Center will present Roberta Smith, co-chief art critic for The New York Times, at the 2015 Fingerman Lecture on April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Levitt Auditorium. Smith will discuss becoming and remaining a working art critic; the role, obligations, rituals and grind of the industry; and the changes the art world has experienced over he past 40 years. The event is free, but reservations here are required.
  • Want to refine your writing chops? New York Times No. 1 best-selling author, Steve Berry, will teach a writing workshop April 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church (4126 Ingersoll Ave.). Tickets cost $100 and include a copy of Berry's latest novel, "The Patriot Threat"; reserve your place here. Funds raised will go to the Des Moines Public Library Foundation. Read more about Berry at In other library news, Rebecca Skloot, author of the best-selling "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, kicks off the 2015 AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) Series April 1 at 7 p.m. at Hoyt Sherman Place. Free admission. For more information and for a schedule of other author visits, click here.
Kayaking Gray's Lake is a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. But kayaking in white water? That's taking it to the next level.   
P.S. dsm Wants YOU


Do you live and breathe for the adrenaline rush of an extreme sport or have a hobby that you're obsessed with? Or do you know someone who does? If so, we'd love to hear about it for consideration for a story in dsm magazine. Contact Belle Du Chene to share your story. 






Belle Du Chene is senior editor of dsm magazine.

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.
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