What is your name: My name is Betsy Walker
What field are you in: For a full time career, I am a regional sales representative for TobiiATI, and I am a speech pathologist by training. TobiiATI makes and manufacturers communication devices for people who are unable to communicate.
I am in the process of starting “Course of a Different Color”, an underground dining club that, at random dates throughout the year, will be throwing dinner parties for 25 to 30 of the closest strangers in secretive locations around Dallas. A cross between dining in a fine restaurant and a dinner party – where everyone invited shares a love of great food, fine wine and good company. Each “Course” is by invitation only, and will be held in unique locations – from private homes and lofts, to warehouses, commercial spaces and farms –undisclosed until the day of the dinner. Underground dining clubs have been called “culinary speakeasies” and “where chat room meets
restaurant”. The events will showcase different chefs at all stages of their career from emerging/beginning to established. Each chef will be selected depending on the event and theme.
What motivated you to get in the line of work you are in: I have been a practicing speech pathologist for years. During my practice I came to see the value of what technology could do for my clients. I specialized in the application of technology to people with disabilities when I moved to Canada and specialized there for nine years in this field. When I returned to the states, I began working for companies that provide this type of equipment.
With regards to “Course of a Different Color”, I read about underground dining clubs in an airline magazine on my way back from a business trip. The idea intrigued me. I travel a lot for work and have found meeting people here at home a difficult task. I am always looking for activities that would enable me to meet people who share my same leisure time interests. So many times social groups are set up around marital status, not shared cultural interests. This concept of “underground dining” felt like something I would be interesting in participating in since I’m a foodie at heart and I also enjoy wine tasting and pairing food with wine. I began to do some research to see if there were such groups in Dallas and to find out more information about them in general. The articles I read were fascinating. Guests who had attended these events commented that they were amongst the best evenings they had spent. I was not successful in finding such groups in Dallas so I decided to start my own. I really liked the thought of having alternative dinner options rather than traditional restaurants, and thought how cool it would be to take people to the many interesting spots that Dallas would have to offer. Also, how fun, to not know where you were going or what you were eating until the day of the event. I also enjoy art and thought it would be great to go beyond just the concept of dining and include an element of the arts at every event.
What’s the best thing about your job: The best thing about being a sales rep is that I get to travel and meet lots of people. It also lets me explore different cities and experience their culture. My day to day activities also vary and I like that as well.
As for “Course of a Different Color”, I like the element of networking, socializing and planning that all go into this concept. The idea of starting this club that allows me to explore my own interested is also very appealing to me.
You have a passion for the arts – when did that start: I first got interested in the arts many years ago when I was living in Boston. That has to have been over 20 years ago now. I was moving away from the Boston area and decided that I wanted to take a piece of art with me to remember my many years there. It is amazing for me to see the art that I first began collecting and to see how my tastes have evolved over time. My art pieces have become old friends – no matter where I move, they always go with me and I enjoy looking at the image in each new space! I also enjoy talking to artists about their work. I really enjoy hearing about how they visualize and conceptual each piece. I don’t find I have that skill myself, so it is always amazing to me to hear about that!
You feature artists, what prompted that: I believe that art is more than the visual arts and can be extended to food and wine as well. I want to incorporate all types of “art” into the dinners of “Course of a Different Color”.
What has the response been: We are just getting up and rolling. Our first event will be this fall.
What is your favorite genre of art: My tastes have changed over time, but I would say I am a fan of abstracts and art pieces composed of found materials.
What is the most moving piece of art you have seen in person: I actually attended an evening where the artist Rolando Diaz did a live painting while a musician played the piano. I was really impressed!
Are there any new exhibits you are interested planning on seeing: Yes, the “I am Woman” show on July 15th.