The Cedars Social Lures Veteran New York Chef Kyle McClelland to Dallas
Chef Kyle McClelland, a veteran of the Manhattan culinary scene, has moved to Dallas to take over the kitchen at The Cedars Social, the popular bar-restaurant near the Southside on Lamar complex, the restaurant announced today.
Chef Kyle McClelland
The French Culinary Institute graduate grew up in New England and was raised on fresh seafood and Mom's down-home cooking. His got his first job in a kitchen when he was 16 and has been in the industry for more than 15 years. He was most recently the executive chef at Cavier Russe in New York City. From the press release:
McClelland's reputable resume includes his work as Sous Chef at Ambrosia on Huntington. He spent three years as Sous Chef at The Federalist at the XV Beacon Hotel under the extraordinary talents of Chef David Daniels before his next position as Executive Sous Chef at Ten Tables. McClelland then moved his talents to the off-shore culinary destination of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts as the Chef d'Cuisine, and rejoined Chef Daniels at TOPPER'S at Relais & Chateaux - The Wauwinet. There he created luxury fare for diners around the globe and further developed his love for fresh local ingredients. Chef McClelland earned his Grand Diploma from the prestigious French Culinary Institute in New York City.
We spoke with McClelland about his background and the big move.
When did you first become interested in cooking?
My family has always loved to cook and when I got into high school I had to think about what I wanted to do. I loved art, but that just wasn't the best thing for me. So, at 16 I got a job at a place called the Bedford Village Inn. It's a beautiful restaurant in New Hampshire and I worked there all through high school. I started as a prep cook and graduated through every station and I knew then that cooking is what I wanted to do.
When you think of your childhood, what food comes to mind?
My mom was into comfort foods like shepherd's pie. Also, growing up in Cape Cod, we'd go out to the jetties and get mussels, clams and quahogs. I really love fresh seafood.
How do you know [Cedars Social Owner] Michael Martensen?
We both worked at Toppers at The Wauwinet in Nantucket.
And, he recruited you for The Cedars Social?
What were your first thoughts on coming down to Texas?
I'm not going to lie, I was very iffy about it. But, after I got down here, I saw the potential of the Dallas restaurant scene -- Dallas has something to offer. It's one of the largest markets in the country and I like what Michael's done here with the cocktail side.
Did you visit before you moved?
Yes, they brought me down for a week.
When was that first visit? Was it hotter then hell?
No, they made sure of that. They told me that if I would have come down two weeks before I would have said no way. They had it planned out like that. I was calling them, "Hey, what's going on?" because there were opportunities that I passed up in New York. But, they eventually got me down here and I liked it.
What was the actual experience like on that first visit?
I came down here and just sat in Cedars Social and watched the hustle and bustle of the place. It's a place where people want to be seen. And I really think we can offer something together (with Michael Martensen) that's fun and different. Something that people aren't doing down here. I'm not saying I'm bringing New York to Dallas or anything like that.
How long have you been here?
It's been 21 days.
How do you like it so far?
I like it.
Last week you celebrated your 31st birthday. What did you do?
I worked and then went to the Palladium for the Halloween show.
Where did you go for your birthday dinner?
You didn't have a birthday dinner?
This is my first time to Dallas ...
What are some of the places you've been to eat at so far?
The Mansion, Marquee, Tei An, which is my favorite place so far. It reminds me of New York. I'm very in to Asian cuisine.
How does Tei An compare to New York City Asian cuisine?
It's great. It definitely compares.
What are looking forward to about being in Dallas?
I look it as something new, like a new adventure since I've never really spent any time in the South. And with the restaurant, I look forward to what Michael and Brian have already created and I really feel like the food can complement the cocktails.
It's a really cool place and we have a lot of really cool ideas that are going to happen in the future.
Have you tried Tex-Mex yet?
I just had it for the first time at Manny's.
How was it?
Heavy. I had to go home and take a nap.