dsm Exclusive: Proudfoot & Bird's New Executive Chef
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September 7, 2022

Kitchens are so often the heart of the home. Our kitchen designs and kitchen remodels have created hundreds of happy clients. Whether building new or remodeling in Des Moines or central Iowa, Silent Rivers offers timeless design and durability that add value to your home. Read more.
This tomato salad debuted during dsm Restaurant Week and is one of many new items chef James Richards plans to bring to the Proudfoot & Bird menu.

dsm Exclusive
Meet Proudfoot & Bird’s New Executive Chef

Writer: Karla Walsh

From washing dishes at Leaning Tower of Pizza in Ankeny at age 14 to being selected by Emeril Lagasse to helm his popular Las Vegas restaurant Table 10 at the Palazzo from 2015 to 2018, James Richards is glad he took a bet on dipping his toe into the hospitality industry, starting in the Des Moines metro area.

“I’ve found comfort in kitchens for as long as I can remember,” says Richards, who is the new executive chef at Proudfoot & Bird in the Hotel Fort Des Moines. “Some of my favorite memories are cooking with my great aunt Portia. She taught me by taste, touch and feel—there were no recipes.”

While studying culinary arts at DMACC from 2007 to 2010, Richards met his wife, Lindsey, “who was crazy enough to move halfway across the country and chase daydreams. I am thankful for her every single day,” he adds.

As part of his final weeks as a DMACC student, Richards spent three months in France for the program’s exclusive French Chef Exchange scholarship. The experience “opened my eyes to what my world could be,” Richards says. “When I got back to Iowa in the summer of 2010, I knew I had to go elsewhere to continue learning and growing. … I wanted to risk it all, so I rolled the dice on Vegas.”

Richards’ rise in Vegas was rapid. He was promoted from vegetable cook at the Venetian’s Delmonico Steakhouse to sous chef at Emeril’s Fish House in the MGM Grand to chef de cuisine (the top of the top) at Lagasse’s Table 10 at the Palazzo. Richards’ work garnered so much media attention and accolades that he was chosen to compete on Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2018.

“As hard as I worked, I could not combat the hotel’s plan for remodels and renovations,” he says. “Table 10 shut its doors [in late 2017] and I helped carry the tables out of the hotel. That was a surreal moment.”

Lindsey and James decided to return to Iowa. She landed at Glen Oaks Country Club as pastry chef, and he added to his diverse resume at the Cafe and Provisions Lot F in Ames as well as at the River Center and Wakonda Club in Des Moines. On Aug. 15, he stepped into the role of executive chef at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, which includes running their chic restaurant, Proudfoot & Bird.

“I have always had this silly little dream of making Iowa a culinary destination and winning accolades like a James Beard award, or even a Michelin Star one day,” Richards tells dsm. Although he adored Wakonda Club and the team he was able to build there, he realized that he needed to work at a public, rather than private, venue to really make a splash.

Using as many local ingredients as possible and “treating them with love,” Richards says, “I believe the sky's the limit. Once we get a rhythm, Proudfoot & Bird will blossom.”

Richards' menu changes debuted as part of his Restaurant Week lineup—including a seasonal tomato salad, a show-stopping Arctic Char entree and a light and lovely poached pear dessert—and will continue on the regular menus soon. Keep up to date with the latest on the Hotel Fort Des Moines website, via and on Open Table.

Whatever colors you'll be donning come game day, grab your cheering squad and head to Cowles Commons to enjoy food, drink and entertainment. Photo courtesy of Des Moines Performing Arts.


Touchdowns in Town

It’s time again for the annual football showdown between the Iowa State University Cyclones and University of Iowa Hawkeyes this Saturday. Des Moines Performing Arts will host its Touchdown Tailgate event from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Cowles Commons where fans from both sides can watch the game live on two Jumbotron TVs.

The outdoor tailgate will feature food trucks serving up city favorites like Big Mama's Bistro and What the Fries, alongside Ricochet Bar selling craft beers. Other live entertainment and music will round out the pregame party. Buy a T-shirt sporting your favorite team, or engage in a friendly bags competition.

Kickoff is at 3 p.m. After the big game, stick around to watch the Kentucky Wildcats take on the Florida Gators until doors close. Find more details about the event here.

Custom Upholstery Sale

Our most popular custom sofas, sectionals, recliners and chairs are on sale. Thousands of leathers and fabrics. Thru Sep 11th.
Read more.

2022 Renaissance Faire (all weekend, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.): Transport back to a time of knights, ladies, pirates and fantasy creatures at the Sleepy Hollow Fall Renaissance Faire. On the 18 acres of the Sleepy Hollow Sports Park (4051 Dean Ave.), find jugglers and jesters, craft vendors, and taverns selling mead and pub food. More information plus tickets for weekend admission can be found here.

Des Moines Concours d'Elegance (Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.): See more than 150 classic and luxury cars on display around the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Garden. The event is free, although optional donations can be made to support Children’s Cancer Connection. There will also be food, merchandise and service vendors throughout. See the schedule here.

Ax and the Hatchetmen (Saturday, 7 p.m.): See the Chicago-based group of seven perform at xBk Live on Saturday night. The indie rock group takes inspiration from alternative and jazz music. Many of the members studied conservatory-style jazz in high school and have incorporated the style and techniques to create their sound. Tickets are available here.
Art over dinner: The Des Moines Arts Festival is hosting a MicroGrant Dinner Sept. 29 at West End Architectural Salvage. Guests can purchase tickets to dine in the space while hearing presentations from five local artists about their upcoming projects. Then, attendees will vote on their favorite, where the winner will be awarded ticket proceeds as a micro grant to complete their project. Ticket purchase includes dinner, and beer and wine will be available at extra cost. Purchase here.
Golf for good: The fourth annual “Go Gold and Golf” fundraiser for Children’s Cancer Connection will take place Sept. 16 at Toad Valley Golf Course (237 N.E. 80th St., Pleasant Hill). The afternoon includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, lunch and a cocktail hour. Each player also gets two drink tickets. Registration for the event closes Sept. 15. Secure tickets for your team here.
New season: Des Moines Performing Arts has announced its new season of the Live at the Temple concert series at Temple Theater. Highlights include Latin Grammy nominee Gina Chavez and former Broadway vocalist Shayna Steele. Find the full list of performers, schedules and purchase season tickets on the DMPA website.
dsm event: There’s still time to register to attend our unveiling event tomorrow at Ramsey Subaru and Ramsey Mazda (9625 Hickman Road, Urbandale). Join us as we celebrate the release of the September/October issue of dsm magazine. Enjoy snacks and drinks, mingle with community members, and take home a copy of the magazine. Register to attend here.
Think tank series: Envision Iowa is an economic development initiative created by dsm’s parent company, Business Publications Corp., to help Iowa’s businesses and communities thrive through strategic connections and storytelling. The initiative is designed to foster visionary ideas to propel our state’s growth and enable our communities to thrive. The third and final think tank virtual event will be Sept. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will focus on workforce infrastructure, child care and housing. Register here.
Free docuseries showings: The Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation is introducing a series of documentaries that focus on the importance of water, land stewardship, health and wellness. The first film in the lineup, "Livestock on the Land," will show tomorrow (9/8) at 8 p.m. at the Killinger Family Stage on the Hubbell Celebration lawn. The film is a story by Practical Farmers of Iowa about ways farmers are rebuilding regenerative agriculture by centering their operations on the animals they care for. Additional information about the film and the full series schedule can be found at Water Works Park's Facebook page.
See what's new and explore some old favorites in the state's original capital city. We've got options to entertain every type of traveler. Photo courtesy of

Plan Your Trip to Iowa City

By Beth Eslinger

If you’re a Hawkeye fan—and even if you’re not—Iowa City has a lot going on. Hosting the big Cy-Hawk football game Sept. 10 and an additional five home games this season, the city is not only a magnet for fans of the gridiron and other sports but also for those who love food and dining, arts and entertainment, and boutique stays and shops. Here’s our guide for an action-packed weekend.

With over 100 locally owned restaurants, including numerous ethnic options, Iowa City offers flavors for every type of diner. Pullman Bar & Diner downtown is a favorite, with an open kitchen that creates shareables such as marrow bones and kitchen fries with bacon jam, and mains including smoked salmon and steak frites. They host happy hour weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. with deals on snacks and adult beverages.

Elsewhere downtown, order quick bites of pizza, tacos or burgers at Bread Garden Market—it’s also a great place to grab upscale tailgating snacks and drinks. St. Burch Tavern is known for seafood, specifically oysters and their seafood towers, but it also has salads, steaks and gourmet mac and cheese. And for a bite before the game, order a breakfast pizza, frittata or polenta from Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fired Pizza. It’s less than a mile from the stadium.

Find places to stay, fall experiences and more activities to try in this article from the new issue of dsm.

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