Not many chefs can say that their dishes profoundly impact the lives of other people, except for Chad Houser. The veteran chef, who once helmed Dallas institution Parigi, is currently head of one of the country's most interesting culinary concepts, Cafe Momentum. In his kitchen, you'll find 37 interns, all of whom spent time incarcerated for non-violent offenses.
|Chad Houser in his natural habitat. |
After four years of pop-up dinners scattered across the city, Cafe Momentum finally has a permanent home in an old Downtown building. Here, Houser and his staff are deeply devoted to ensuring that the young men who participate in their culinary internship know that they have a future, that their lives matter. Through teaching skills like manning a fry station and proper plating technique, Houser is helping some of Dallas' most at-risk youth build a handsome resume of skills while also putting out fine dining-quality food.
It's a difficult task, but Houser is relentlessly optimistic in his pursuit. In the midst of the always-crazy opening week, I sat down with Houser to talk about the process of opening Cafe Momentum, how he has tweaked the cooking process to work best for his employees, and the primary driving force behind his cooking: saving lives.More »