Patrick Stark is Dallas' Most Rock and Roll Chef
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He's played music in front of 25,000 people, opening for Styx, and cooked for folks like Johnny Winter, Butthole Surfers (we don't even wanna know what they ordered), ZZ Top and more recently, as part of his sweet new gig as the head cuisine honcho at Sundown at Granada, actor Will Ferrell. He also rocks his services not only for catering high-end dinner parties, but even offers to roll the evening's entertainment into the package. Chef (and local rock musician) Patrick Stark is about as exciting an individual as you could stumble across.
Our sister blog, City of Ate, caught up with him last year, but here's a different angle of a pretty unique local music scene supporter.
So, you've working on a book. Recipes and adventures in rock?
I am writing a book at the moment called A Recipe for Disaster: Book 1. It's coming out here in June, and I really go in depth. Sorry to leave a teaser like this. Ha ha!
I know you're on hiatus from it at the moment, but fill us in a little more on your musician side. It seems to have become a little overshadowed by your success as a cuisinartiste ... especially at Sundown, yeah?
Yes, Sundown has taken all of my free time at the moment. However, I am half of the project Backseat Continental with Ms. Autumn Barr. I write all the guitar and piano for the tracks and Autumn writes and sings all the lyrics. We wanted to keep control of our project so we hire when need be drummers and bass players. You really don't have to deal with drama at that point. Its a paid job just like any other job but it made a huge difference in our band and band demeanor! If you close your eyes, imagine black gospel singers, Etta James sounding lead vocal with Judas Priest behind her!
Are musicians in the kitchen a pretty common thing? I know there are lots of them working side jobs in there, but going full-on as a cuisine professional like you have done?
I really have not met many. I know a lot of my line cooks know how to play an acoustic or a bit of guitar, but rarely do I find a "rock star" working in a kitchen. I would like to be the first commercial chef with a commercial band!
What are some of the parallels between musical instruments and kitchen weaponry? Is there a common approach to the tools? Do they require a similar level of finesse or aggressive attack?
In the kitchen I play with knives and in the studio I play with axes. I would say they are similar on the fact that you have to respect them both and learn how to really use them in order to be successful. I definetley see more finesse then aggression!
What about school experiences? Did you kick ass at both band and cooking in school?
Believe it or not, I took shop class and never played in the school band!
I hated high school and that is where I quit playing sports and started my first punk band. I loved music because it let my rebellious side shine and I needed an outlet in my teens. As for food, I started washing dishes and worked my way up to a line cook in high school. I wanted to leave school early and graduate and the only way I could do so is if I chose a profession. I played Wheel of Fortune with my career and landed on going to chef school at the CIA, or Culinary Institute of America.
What local artists inspire you?
I loved Darby, Strangleweed, Hollow, Tripping Daisy, One Up, Early Pearl, Down Lo to name a few for the local scene! As far as faves, I really like motown, CCR, Elton John, blues, classical and heavy metal. I listen to a lot of Slipknot at the moment and really old Megadeth for metal.
If you were granted some sort of political authority over the decisions of the of local arts community, what kind of ideas would you implement?
Funny you ask: I am uniting all musicians and chefs to join my Mohawk Militia. I am trying to create awareness of our healthy food. We seek to educate consumers by creating awareness about the dangers of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), and to persuade the U.S. government to enact legislation that requires labeling of all products containing GMOs. Teaming up with the North Texas Food Bank, all proceeds generated from sales of Mohawk Militia patches and stickers will go to purchasing fresh food from local farmers in feeding inner-city folks who don't have access to supermarkets.