Top 10 Chefs Who Deserve More Attention
When we sat down and thought about this, so many names popped into mind that if they were diseases, we'd be riddled. There was a time when few people mentioned Joel Harloff (Dali Wine Bar) or Brian Luscher (The Grape), but those days are fading. Michael Zeve of Sevy's or Jeffery Hobbs at Suze are both highly accomplished second fiddles, so to speak. When's the last time you saw Randy Morgan of Dallas Fish Market mentioned anywhere. And who, for that matter, runs the kitchen at La Palapa Veracruza? We could bring up staff at Mia's, Mai's or...well, you see what we're dealing with. So we settled on chefs in the mid- to upscale market working in stand alone restaurants...with one exception we just couldn't resist.
10. Mansour Gorji, Canary Café
OK, so he promotes himself shamelessly--his name still rarely comes up in conversation, and he's doing all that marketing without professional assistance (at least that we know about). Gorji specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, but won the Texas Steak Cookoff in Hico on two occasions. And he has been known to offer "world tour" dinners, allowing the Addison chef to show even greater range.
9. Bartolino Cocuzza, Amici Signature Italian
Yeah, it's in Carrollton, so nobody goes...except his regulars. That he's hung on for so long (since the early '90s) in a hidden location says a lot about the chef and his cooking. Cocuzza opened his first restaurant at the age of 17--his parents helped--and then worked the stoves in some iconic destinations: Baby Routh and Cacharel, for example. He's so quiet, if the place shut down, how would anybody know?
8. Norma and Jose Vasconcelos, Soley!
You get the feeling this French-Mexican restaurant could shut down any day. Yet the husband-wife team (which, technically, makes this a list of 11) prepare some brilliant fusion dishes, including one of the city's better versions of escargot. Originally from Mexico, both chefs trained in Paris and worked in Michelin star restaurants in Lyon before returning to this side of the Atlantic.
7. Travis Henderson, The Place at Perry's
Still can't get used to Perry's new name. Oh, they got some publicity when forced to change the restaurant's identity, but that's about it. The place retains its sophistication, but chef-owner Henderson is the sort of person who doesn't mind downshifting to, oh, chicken fried steak or big ol' Texas onion rings.