10 Questions: Brian Leonard of Villa-O

Categories: Ten Questions
Patrick Michels
Leonard is inside. The manager (gray suit, third window from left) was either too scared, too bound by rules or slides too easily into Speedos to allow a photo. The interview he was so afraid of after the jump.
The transition from waiter to bartender isn't always easy. Neither is the discipline necessary to handle service industry responsibilities and a college class schedule.

Leonard waited tables at Ferre. He started in the same role at Villa-O before shifting behind the bar.

So far, everything is going smoothly for the student/bartender how expects to graduate from UTD in a year and a half with a degree in marketing. But what happens when his fellow students drop by hoping for a freebie...?

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10 Questions: Dan Landsberg of Tillman's Roadhouse

Categories: Ten Questions

Landsberg (left) and the folks behind Tillman's Roadhouse.
After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Landsberg cooked at restaurants in Sacramento and San Francisco. However, he became a star after moving to Dallas in 1996.

Working alongside David Holben and Gilbert Garza, he helped open Toscana. From there, he worked high end places like Seventeen Seventeen, the Atruim Cafe and hosting events for the Dallas Museum of Art. He even assisted Stephan Pyles' nationally recognized kitchen.

Pretty fancy digs and pretty big names, all of them. So why does he like hanging out in a roadhouse with a Shiner in hand...?

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10 Questions: Travis Rachal of Trader Vic's

Categories: Ten Questions
Patrick Michels
How many service industry careers begin in college? Hard to say, really--but one assumes the number is significant. After all, the income is good and you can work through the summer.

Rachal intends to graduate from SMU next year with a degree in finance. In the meantime, the Chicago native has been paying bills through bartending. He began in more formal environments, but now calls Trader Vic's home.

Yep, the tiki place on Mockingbird. That means cocktails with groan-inducing names blossoming silk shirts and other such--stuff frowned upon in the world of high finance. But for some reason, he likes that sort of thing...
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10 Questions: Melissa D'Arabian, Food Network Contestant

Categories: Ten Questions

When contestants for the upcoming series of The Next Food Network Star were announced, she was labeled the 'stay at home mom.'

Indeed, the Keller resident tends to four young children--which, of course, means cooking three meals a day, just about every day of the week. Producers for the show apparently found something in her approach to balancing dishes for kids and adults, budgeting and making a good dinner.

D'Arabian has traveled quite a bit, too. And she knows how to tweak standard family recipes. She's also not afraid to prepare her kids' favorite dish for, oh, the likes of Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Alton Brown...

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10 Questions: James Tidwell Of Four Seasons

Categories: Ten Questions
He was the 100th American wine professional to earn the title of Master Sommelier, but that's not the only thing Tidwell can be proud of.

After graduating from LSU with a degree in international trade and finance, this son of a small town preacher set off for culinary school at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. He and Barbara Werley of Pappas Bros. are, in fact, the only CIA grads to earn Master Sommelier designation. Tidwell also founded the Texas Sommelier Conference with Werley's colleague, Drew Hendricks.

Before joining Cafe on the Green at the Four Seasons, Tidwell worked at restaurants in New Jersey and California--all pretty good for a guy who started out on a bottle of white zin...

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10 Questions: Will Shuler of Gingerman

Categories: Ten Questions
Patrick Michels

How long has Gingerman been around? Judging by the crowds assembling there on a daily basis, the beer joint has become somewhat of a fixture.

Shuler, however, has been working for the Quadrangle area bar for just a few weeks--although that doesn't mean he's a newcomer. The Baltimore native graduated with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, then settled into his duties, in New York and at several places in Addison.

That covers nine years and includes a stint at The Flying Saucer. So he knows beer. But what does he have against Tom Jones songs...? 

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10 Questions: Gabriel DeLeon of Masaryk

Categories: Ten Questions
Cutting the ribbon with support from the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The chef and owner of both Irving's La Margarita and the new Masaryk in Addison counts as influences such great chefs as Patricia Quintana, Rick Bayless...and his father, Juan.

Juan DeLeon started the Irving restaurant in 1990, after time at Zodiac Room and Esparza's. His death five years later left Gabriel in charge--and he's been drawing word of mouth raves ever since.

His new location gives him the opportunity to play with recipes developed by his father--and to adopt some of the things he's learned on travels throughout Europe.

But he'll never mess around with the ratio of tequila to orange liqueur...

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10 Questions: Jeff Harris of Craft

Categories: Ten Questions
Harris is so new, the restaurant website still lists Zappola as chef. So here's the interior, instead.
When chef Anthony Zappola left for Craft in Los Angeles, the restaurant promoted Harris to the top spot.

Formerly sous chef in Tom Colicchio's Dallas outpost, Harris arrived from Craft New York, where he had been working since graduating from culinary school--also in the Big Apple. Yet oddly enough, he's an east Texas native. After finishing up at UNT, he took a job at a Longview bank.

But that's before culinary school beckoned. Now Harris is 32 and in charge of Craft and the W Hotel's kitchen--two fashionable names. Speaking of appearance, just what does he think of Colicchio's bald head...?

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chefs, Craft

10 Questions: David Holben of Del Frisco's

Categories: Ten Questions
Believe it or not, the executive chef for Del Frisco's trained as a saucier in France, where he worked for Michelin three-star restaurants.

When he came to Dallas in the mid-80s, he opened The Riviera, for almost a decade one of the city's premier restaurants. After that, he ran the kitchen at Mediterraneo and Toscana. Five years ago, this classically trained French chef walked into the world of big Dallas steakhouses--and the praise followed.

Really, few chefs in Dallas can match Holben's reputation, both with diners and amongst other chefs. Maybe that's because he's never tempted to put McCormick's seasoning on a piece of prime beef...

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10 Questions: Scott Gottlich of Bijoux

Categories: Ten Questions

He and his wife, Gina, have raked in much deserved stars and awards and verbal fanfare since they opened Bijoux.

The Dallas native began his career in California, however. Gottlich headed west after graduating from Johnson and Wales to work in a French restaurant. From there, it was off to New York, then back to the left coast. Finally, in 2003, he returned to Dallas to run the kitchen at Lola--also a pretty good place.

He did a stint with Alberto Lombardi at Toulouse and Taverna before opening Bijoux a couple years ago. Since then, Gottlich and his wife added 2nd Floor to their names. So why did it take him 31 years to come up with the concept...?

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Bijoux, chefs

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