What Dallas Chefs Listen to While They Cook

Categories: Interviews

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via Danyele McPherson
Danyele McPherson, chef. Music snob.
Food and music have always been inexplicably linked. Maybe it's because cooks and musicians are generally the same sorts of surly, creative types, or because everyone regardless of profession loves great music. Either way, there's a huge overlap among music nerds and people who spend their days cooking in the city's best restaurants.

In the kitchen, which is generally a loud and tense kind of place, music is occasionally a necessity. We asked some of Dallas' finest to tell us what they've got playing back in the kitchen, and some of their answers are genuinely surprising.

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How Bisous Bisous Patisserie's Andrea Meyer Became Dallas' Ms. Macaron (Interview)

Categories: Interviews

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courtesy Bisous Bisous Patisserie
Andrea Meyer with her fancy macarons.
In the food world, trendiness can be a real kiss of death. One minute, there's a fancy gourmet cupcake shop on every corner, the next you can't find a cupcake outside of the supermarket bakery. Sometimes, though, you have to buy into a trend to introduce a clientele to a whole new world of food. Which is exactly what Andrea Meyer, chef and owner of Bisous Bisous Patisserie in West Village, did with macarons.

After ditching corporate America and developing a devoted following for her pillowy macarons and flaky croissants at White Rock Local Market, Meyer has moved into her very own storefront. In the six weeks that she's been open, Meyer has already made waves with her expertly-baked French pastry, a genre that is extremely difficult and attracts a discerning clientele. We sat down to talk with Meyer about how she landed on macarons, her experience in opening Bisous Bisous, and making classic French pastry work in Dallas.

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How Blind Butcher Sous Brian Bell Cranks 200 Pounds of Sausage a Day (Interview)

Categories: Interviews

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Amy McCarthy
Brian Bell, a man of many sausages.
In the restaurant industry, it is almost always the executive chefs who get all the glory. When the four-star reviews come in and the back-patting goes around, nobody thinks about the sous chef. But it is the hard-working sous chefs, backed by a hard-working army of line cooks, that are the real backbone of the industry. At The Blind Butcher, sous chef Brian Bell has experienced the best (and worst) of both worlds.

After stints in The Hamptons, Miami, and at Kent Rathbun's Abacus, Bell has settled into the role of Best Supporting Sausagemaker next to executive chef Oliver Sitrin. Since opening, Bell and Sitrin have been able to introduce Dallas to the occasionally weird, always delicious world of hand-cranked sausages. I sat down to talk with Bell about his culinary trajectory, how to tell when you're more than just a line cook, and what the hell it actually means to run one of the city's busiest kitchens.

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Start Owner Erin McKool Is Planning a Fast-Food Revolution (Interview)

Categories: Interviews

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Kevin Marple
Plotting her next Start outpost.
There is culinary innovation happening on all levels, especially in the world of fast-casual concepts that seek to serve a healthier product to a discerning clientele. That's why we've seen spots like LYFE Kitchen, SNAP Kitchen, and others offer chef-driven food without all the butter and cream of the fine-dining world.

At Start, Erin McKool took the idea of healthy, convenient food to the next level. With her two "slow food served fast" restaurants in Dallas, she's doing a lot to change the perception that fast food has to be unhealthy. I sat down to talk with McKool about how she went from working in law to owning a restaurant, her approach to cooking healthy food, and what the future looks like for this fledgling empire of drive-thru healthy joints.

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Dallas Restaurateur Brooks Anderson Is Obsessed with King's Noodle, So We Went with Him

Categories: Interviews

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Alexander Nahm
The wonton noodle at King's.
It was Day 2 of Dallas' #SLEETSHOW2015. I wore a hoodie; he wore athletic gear. We met in a storefront restaurant in Richardson, and we were, I think, the only people there without Asian heritage. Together, we slurped our way through fine Taiwanese fare while I pondered what the Year of the Goat might mean for my future.

I was with Brooks Anderson, co-owner and co-visionary behind Veritas Wine Room, Bishop Arts' Boulevardier, and the soon to be opened on May 15 Rapscallion on lower Greenville. He'd mentioned that he makes a point to make almost-weekly visits to King's Noodle, a place that could lovably be termed as a "hole in the wall." I wanted to know why, so I invited myself.

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What Dallas Chefs Cook At Home When It's This Cold Outside

Categories: Interviews

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courtesy the restaurant
Don't let this sweet face fool you -- Graham Dodds is mean in the kitchen, even when it's freezing.

It is, regrettably, still cold outside. The weather will soon be warmer, but thanks to the sleet and snow and general disgustingness of our outdoor climate, we've all been holed up in our apartments for way too long. And because people don't bother to brave the weather for even the finest of food, that means that your favorite chefs get to spend the snow day chilling at home, too.

While you're holed up in your apartment praying that there's one more packet of instant ramen in the cabinet, many chefs choose to spend the day cooking the things they like to eat when they're not being forced to turn out four hundred fancy dishes over the course of an evening.

We asked some of Dallas' best chefs what they were eating on these frosty days, and got a pretty wide range of responses. Maybe they'll inspire you to go all Chopped challenge on whatever is rolling around in the back of your own refrigerator.


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Veteran Bartender Alex Fletcher Knows Dallas Drinkers As Well as Anyone

Categories: Interviews

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Catherine Downes
Alex Fletcher
It isn't just chefs and restaurateurs who make the Dallas dining scene tick. For the last few years, local bartenders have been crafting drinks that are just as complicated as the dishes that come out of the city's best kitchens. Still, it seems as if Dallas' diners are still figuring out whether or not they'd rather spend their drinkin' money on a few expertly made cocktail or several shots of Fireball.

Helping guide them along the way is Henry's Majestic barman Alex Fletcher. If you've spent any time in Dallas' finer watering holes, like Victor Tangos and The People's Last Stand, you've probably consumed one of Fletcher's carefully made cocktails. Now that he's settling into his new role as bar manager at Henry's Majestic, I sat down with him to talk about his journey through Dallas' bar scene, the palate of the Dallas drinker, and the weirdest cocktail he ever made.

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TJ's Seafood Chef Nick Harrison Is Building Dallas' Fresh-Fish Empire (Interview)

Categories: Interviews

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Joey Stewart
Chef Nick Harrison, thinkin' about fish.
You don't usually think of a place with a take-out fish counter as a fine-dining restaurant, but that's exactly what TJ's Seafood Market & Grill in Preston Hollow is. When you walk through the doors, you almost don't even notice the case full of fresh fish, mussels and clams. Instead, you're too busy wondering what the hell smells so damn good and gazing longingly at that beautiful cocktail menu.

Executive Chef Nick Harrison is a relative newcomer to the Dallas food scene. Outside of stints with Stephan Pyles and Abraham Salum, you probably don't recognize Harrison from any of your other favorite haunts, because he's been jet-setting across South America as a private chef. Now he's settled down at TJs, and he's got his sights set on an empire. I sat down to talk with Harrison about his crazy-strong culinary resume, cooking in the shadows of TJ's 25-year seafood legacy, and working with Dallas' biggest fish nerd, Jon Alexis.

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How to Become a Better Coffee Homebrewer Through Cuppings and Classes in Dallas

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

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Mark Graham
After a few classes, your home-brewed cappuccino will look something like this.
Chances are, unless you are endlessly wealthy and/or the laziest person on the planet, you sometimes brew coffee at home. Maybe you have retired your plug-in coffee maker in exchange for a French press or Chemex. You even buy your beans from a local or specialty roaster and grind them fresh every day. But something is still missing. It's kinda meh, not like it is at your favorite coffee shop.

See also: The Independent Coffee Roasters Helping Dallas' Craft-Coffee Business Boom

There's hope. Coffee homebrew classes and cuppings have become regular staples at shops around Dallas. Classes give participants a chance to taste a variety of coffees and brewing methods to learn what they like and don't, as well as how to create those flavors at home. If you are remotely interested in learning how to get the most out of your coffee you should give one a try, because if you are paying for quality, you might as well be able to taste it. Here are some options for your homebrew and cupping pleasure:

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How Remedy's Guillermo "Gmo" Tristan Makes Dallas' Wildest Desserts (Interview)

Categories: Interviews

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Kevin Marple
Gmo Tristan, pie king.

It has been said many times before that pastry is very much a neglected part of the culinary world, at least in the United States. Pastry chefs are among the most revered culinarians in France, but folks in the States were perfectly happy to eat grocery store cake for decades. Now, as the country's culinary renaissance continues, our palates have changed. Pastry is in, and the chefs that so expertly and precisely bake it are finally getting the spotlight they deserve.

In the opening of Remedy, Pastry Chef Guillermo "Gmo" Tristan's decadent retro-themed desserts got top-billing alongside Chef Danyele McPherson's comfort food. And for good reason. Tristan is known as one of Dallas' best dessert makers, and the menu at Remedy shows off those skills. Now that Remedy has been open a few weeks, I sat down to talk with Tristan about his background in the pastry industry, how he built the menu at Remedy from family memories, and why he eschewed culinary school for real-world kitchen experience.


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