April 2013 Guest Chef | Dean Fearing
The creator of Fearing’s Restaurant and its “Elevated American Cuisine – Bold Flavors, No Borders,” chef/partner Dean Fearing has developed one of the hottest dining concepts in the country. Named “Restaurant of the Year” and “Table of the Year” by Esquire Magazine, No. 1 in Hotel Dining in the U.S. by the prestigious Zagat Survey, and nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Best New Restaurant, Fearing’s has received countless accolades from The New York Times, Newsweek, Food and Wine, Garden & Gun, Texas Monthly, and Modern Luxury, among others. Chef Fearing has been recognized as a “Pioneer of American Cuisine” by The Culinary Institute of America and presented with the Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance by Food Arts. His namesake restaurant has created an ongoing buzz with its seven distinct dining venues, acclaimed farm-to-table seasonal menu, and the personal presence of Fearing himself.
Long known as the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” and now the creator of a generation of highly-flavorful dishes, Chef Dean Fearing has spent his life cooking for people who love good food. After 20-plus years at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, he opened Fearing's in August 2007 at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. A reflection of his personal vision and design, the lively, comfortable restaurant features seven stylish dining settings, including the most distinctive alfresco experience in Dallas and a popular interactive display kitchen offering ringside seating for true foodies.
The son of a Kentucky innkeeper, Dean Fearing grew up with grandmothers who knew all about food and who appreciated the finer details of Southern cooking and barbecue. He still uses and treasures their recipes, and they remain one of the most important inspirations of his culinary life. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he can be spotted in Fearing’s wearing a signature crisp white chef’s coat with colorful boot embroidery, blue jeans and brightly-hued, custom-tooled Lucchese cowboy boots. When not in the kitchen, Fearing is often found strumming his vintage Fender Telecaster guitar, one of an impressive collection, playing songs from his all-chef alternative country band, The Barbwires. He is also known to spend his spare time searching the countryside for Texas culinary inspiration. The state’s rich variety of peppers, dried chilies, jicama, cilantro, tomatillos, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, Gulf seafood and Hill Country wild game play a major role in his ever-changing cuisine.
The exuberant, ever-friendly Dean Fearing was winner of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for “Best Chef in the Southwest,” and diners from across the country flock to Dallas to experience his signature dishes. Current menu highlights include flavorful Tortilla Soup, Barbecued Shrimp Tacos, Rib Eye Mopped over Live Mesquite, Maple-Black Peppercorn-Soaked Buffalo Tenderloin, and Pan-Roasted “BBQ-Spiced” Filet with Chicken-Fried Maine Lobster, which has been described as a genuine “taste of Texas.”
March 2013 Guest Chef | Matt McCallister
February 2012 Guest Chef | Abraham Salum
Chef Salum is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont; he expanded his skills in kitchens in France, Belgium, Mexico, and the United States. Realizing his dream by opening Salum in 2005, he has proven to be a legitimate fixture in the competitive Dallas restaurant market. Salum is also a sought-after catering resource for private parties in the Dallas area, and is a popular choice for celebrations and functions, including parties for the Dallas Opera. Chef Salum has made frequent appearances on the local morning show Good Morning Texas, and Salum is a featured “D Best” restaurant in the prestigious local D Magazine. Chef Salum was also invited to be a Celebrity chef for Super Bowl XLV at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. Dedicated to charity and community, Chef Salum is actively involved in events benefitting March of Dimes, The American Heart Association, AIDS Resources Center, and Lone Star Ride. Other contributions include the Crystal Charity Ball, Toast of Life and the DIFFA Style Council.
January 2013 Guest Chef | Omar Flores
Chef Omar Flores has been working in restaurants from a young age. Beginning with his father who is a chef, studying Restaurant Management at New Mexico State University, to attending the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Chef Omar has been cooking for as long as he can remember. Upon graduation, he staged in several restaurants around the country before finally settling in Dallas to work at Abacus. After five years at Abacus and three years as Executive Sous Chef, Omar knew it was time to set off on his own. Driftwood is the culinary culmination of his dreams.
December 2012 Guest Chef | Jason Maddy
Chef Jason Maddy discovered his passion for cooking in Austin, Texas after working with and being inspired by some of the city’s top chefs. He then attended and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduation and an externship in New Orleans, he spent several years working with world-renowned Chef David Bouley at the Eastern European inspired Danube restaurant in New York City. During this period, Chef Maddy became a rising star whose talents enabled him to quickly elevate to the position of Chef de Cuisine. He travelled around the world cooking with Chef Bouley in multiple regions, including Japan, where he incorporated Asian Pacific influences into his repertoire.
Chef Maddy returned to Austin as the Executive Sous Chef at the esteemed historic landmark Driskill Hotel. While working directly with Food & Wine Magazine’s Top 10 Best New Chef, David Bull for three years, Chef Maddy was an integral part of Chef Bull’s team that challenged Chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. In 2008, Chef Maddy was recruited to The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas by Chef John Tesar as the Chef de Cuisine and continued on once Michelin Star rated Chef Bruno Davaillon took over in 2009. He recently assisted Chef Davaillon in Graz, Austria in multiple events in the Gourmet Rieze Festival, and he was regularly involved in The Mansion’s charitable food events including ‘48 Nights’ for the Dallas Food Bank and many others.
Chef Maddy’s journeys have developed him into a culinary force. His innovative drive to create globally inspired cuisine with a contemporary edge that remains simple, elegant and stylish, positions Chef Maddy perfectly as the Executive Chef of Oak.
November 2012 Guest Chef | Nick Badovinus
Chef Badovinus is the tastemaker and Executive Chef behind some of Dallas’ most successful restaurants. Nick began his culinary career after graduating from the University of Washington and Western Culinary Institute. Arriving in Dallas in 1996 with all his possessions in the back of his pickup, he has worked with some of the best chefs and creative restaurateurs in Dallas, including Dean Fearing at The Mansion at Turtle Creek, Phil Romano of Romano Concepts and Consilient Restaurants.
In late 2008, Nick’s restaurant development company, FlavorHook, opened the highly acclaimed Neighborhood Services in the Park Cities section of Dallas. It was an immediate hit with customers from all over the city. The success of the original led to Neighborhood Services Tavern and Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill, and now Off Site Kitchen. Nick was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s 2012 Restaurateur of the Year Award.
October 2012 Guest Chefs | Jeana Johnson & Colleen O'Hare
With over 40 years of combined culinary experience, it is no wonder that the Dallas Morning News has listed Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare as two of the top chefs to watch out for in 2012. The two chefs opened Good 2 Go Taco in 2009, and quickly followed it up with Goodfriends next door.
The next step was to create a casual “come-as-you-are” fine dining restaurant that would finally allow whole animal allocation and complete the circle. Trying to pioneer the dining experience as "farmer friendly", in turn, providing food from a single source that you can trust and feel good about eating in more ways than the just the dining experience. In essence Acme F&B has been in the works for 5 years.
At Acme F&B, Johnson and O'Hare have created a menu of food that they would like to sit down and eat. They have accomplished this by going back to the basics and away from the experimental with honest seasonal dishes.
September 2012 Guest Chef | Michael Ehlert
Michael Ehlert's passion for food began in the fast-paced kitchen of The Airliner, a college hotspot in Iowa City, Iowa. After moving to Boulder, Colorado, to continue his college education, he worked at a series of restaurants, including Boulder Café and The Sink. Eventually he landed a job at the well-known Mediterranean Restaurant, where he quickly was promoted to sous chef.
Following his stint at Mediterranean, he worked at Jax Fish House, the restaurant of Top Chef Season 5 winner Hosea Rosenberg. During this time he worked closely with Rosenberg, who pushed him to further his culinary education.
Ehlert attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and, after only 15 months of school, graduated at the head of his class. After graduation, Ehlert began as poissonier at Brasserie in New York, working under executive chef Luc Dimnet. He rose to the position of sous chef after just one year.
Ehlert left Brasserie to become opening sous chef for world-renowned Chef Daniel Boulud's DBGB Kitchen & Bar. In October 2012, Ehlert moved to Dallas to re-join his longtime love, Jennifer Jaco. While Jaco made strides in her wine career, Ehlert opened The Chesterfield with barman Eddie Campbell, where Ehlert created a New American menu of snacks and full dinners to complement the hand-crafted cocktail program.
Ehlert is currently the executive chef at CampO Modern Country Bistro. The restaurant focuses intently on farm-fresh produce showcased in a modern cuisine style that reflects French, Spanish, and Mediterranean influences.
Graham Dodds of Central 214 | Graham Dodds of Central 214
Dallas is abuzz with praise for award-winning Chef Graham Dodds’ new culinary creations at Central 214 at Hotel Palomar Dallas. Known for his passion for farm-to-table cooking with locally sourced, organic ingredients, Dodds brings a lifetime of unique experience and cultural inspiration to every dish.
Formally trained at the Cordon Bleu Institutes in Portland, Oregon, and London, Dodds’ approach to cooking is equally influenced his family’s English heritage, his Texas upbringing, and his vast culinary experience spanning the globe from England, Switzerland, and Thailand. Stateside Dodds has graced kitchens in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Vermont, and locally at Star Canyon, The Grape, The Green Room, Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, and, most recently, as executive chef at Bolsa in Oak Cliff.
Adding dimension to Dodds’ culinary talent is his interest in beekeeping. As a child Dodds spent several summers in England with his grandparents, where he learned beekeeping from his grandfather. Dodds’ work with the bees continues today as he maintains several hives in Dallas and Waxahachie. His integration of locally produced honeys has become one of Dodds’ trademarks, in addition to use of other regional ingredients sourced through longtime partnerships with Texas farmers.
Over the years Dodds’s work has received rave reviews and has been featured in media ranging from local D Magazine, the Dallas Morning News, and the Dallas Observer to national Bon Appetit, American Way, and Grubstreet New York. Dodds has been recognized as one of Dallas’ top chefs by the Dallas Morning News as well as the Dallas Observer. An avid supporter of local charities such as the Texas Honeybee Guild, Dodds often donates his talents for benefit events and frequently appears on TV cooking segments and for cooking classes.
June 2012 Guest Chef | Jeffery Hobbs of Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar
As a young child, Jeffery was exposed to the benefits of a well-nourished body and soul. His mother and grandmothers were the "personal chefs" for their respective families. When not in the kitchen peeling carrots and potatoes, Jeffery could be found in his family garden, picking vegetables for his mother to prepare that night for dinner.
As an adult, he began his culinary career at the much-loved Celebration restaurant on Lovers Lane, where he learned how to operate a successful restaurant under the guidance of owner Ed Lowe. Jeffery's next stop was the legendary Riviera, where he worked side-by-side with two of the most respected restaurant personalities in Dallas: chef David Holben and the late host/owner Franco Bertolasi.
From the Riviera, Jeffery was pulled into David and Franco's next venture, Toscana. There he met Gilbert Garza and was promoted to sous chef. After Toscana ran its course, Jeffery and Gilbert moved on, separately, to exciting new projects. But the two maintained a friendship and would cross kitchens once again.
Jeffery's next destination was the Hotel St. Germain, where proprietor Claire Heymann inspired him to explore the mystery of New Orleans life and appreciate the ambiance of the French countryside. While there, Jeffery learned many classic French preparations, including some amazing pastries and desserts. After the hotel, Jeffery moved into his first executive chef role at Il Sole, where he received his first critical review of 4 stars for food.
Following Il Sole, Jeffery regrouped with Gilbert to form a partnership at Suze. For eight years, the two collaborated to create a divine dining experience not only at their warm and inviting dining room, but also in the homes of many thankful guests at privately catered events.
In early 2012, Jeffery joined forces with Food Network star Lisa Garza to open Sissy’s Southern Kitchen, which recently was awarded four stars by the Dallas Morning News. Jeffery was the first guest chef in the Cafe Momentum pop-up dinner series and returns to lead the young men in the kitchen for the one-year anniversary.
April 2012 Guest Chef | Tiffany Derry of Private|Social
Sure-handed chef Tiffany Derry is the culinary mastermind and creative talent behind Private|Social. A Texas native, she has hustled tirelessly throughout her career to prepare for her debut in a dual role as both co-owner and executive chef of one of Dallas’ chicest and unique dining destinations.
Derry began in the food industry when she was just 15 and eventually become the youngest person in IHOP’s history to be promoted to a management position. She continued to prove her determination to succeed by competing in American Culinary Federation competitions in order to pay her way through the Art Institute of Houston. While completing her studies at AIH, Derry began working at Pesce Restaurant, where she advanced from garde-manger to junior sous chef.
Shortly after graduating at the top of her class, Derry became the executive sous chef at Grotto Cucina Napolitano. Following a move to Dallas, she returned to the Art Institute as an instructor in the culinary school, inspiring a new generation of young chefs. In 2008, she became executive chef of Go Fish Ocean Club in Dallas.
Derry gained international notoriety when she appeared on season 7 of Bravo’s Top Chef , where she was voted “fan favorite” and achieved a place in the competition’s final four. Derry’s quiet confidence, warm Southern charm, and genuine natural ability in the kitchen made her a natural selection for season 8’s Top Chef All Stars, where she was again a finalist.
Derry’s diverse and fast-paced experiences have perfectly positioned her to become one of Dallas’s most beloved chefs, showcasing her confident style and culinary ingenuity at Private|Social.
March 2012 Guest Chef | Juliard Ishizuka of Dee Lincoln’s Tasting Room & Bubble Bar
Juliard Ishisuka’s parents moved from Japan to Los Angeles, where Ishisuka was born and raised. In 1996, the family moved to Dallas. While growing up, Ishisuka would see the long, hard hours his father worked as a sushi chef, and he desperately resisted following in his father’s footsteps. But he began cooking alongside his father as a teenager and soon realized his love for the culinary industry. He decided to prefect what he already learned from his father and went to school at Aims Culinary Academy.
In 2001, when he completed school, he was hired as assistant sushi chef by Chris Ward at Citizen Restaurant, an ultra-sleek restaurant inspired by the Orient. Ishisuka loved his heritage cooking but felt the need to broaden his horizons.
In 2002, he embarked on a career, first as a line cook. He then rapidly worked his way up to sous chef alongside celebrity chef Dean Fearing at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. After three years of working and training at the Mansion, he was ready to make a move, this time with the knowledge and experience of both American and Japanese cuisines.
In 2005, he was asked to join Aperture Concepts. Together with chef Blaine Staniford, he opened his first of two restaurants: Fuse, a Tex-Asian concept, where he polished his skills and prepared items such as beef brisket pot stickers and Hawaiian snapper with pecan jasmine rice, and Scene, a contemporary American concept. Both were located in the heart of downtown Dallas.
In 2007, Ishisuka received the Rising Star Chef award for his unique culinary vision. After parting ways with Aperture, he worked as executive chef for Omni Hotel in Fort Worth and Baileys Prime Steakhouse in Dallas.
In 2011, he was given the opportunity to expand his repertoire and became the executive chef at Dee Lincoln’s Restaurant & Bubble Bar, where he and prominent restaurateur Dee Lincoln (co-founder of Del Frisco’s) have created a unique and tantalizing cuisine. Current menu highlights include sushi pizza made with a tempura rice crust, ahi tuna, sriracha, and tobiko caviar and New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp with Worcestershire butter.
February 2012 Guest Chef | Jeff Harris of Bolsa and Bolsa Mercado
During his childhood in East Texas, Jeff Harris developed an early respect for quality ingredients while working on his grandparents’ farms. By helping raise livestock and tending to vegetable gardens, he was instilled with a reverence for honest, soulful cooking and has been in the kitchen ever since.
After graduating from the University of North Texas, Harris returned to East Texas to work for a bank. Three years later, he opted to turn his lifelong love of cooking into a career by enrolling in culinary school.
Harris moved to New York City in 2004 to attend the Institute of Culinary Education and immerse himself in the city’s world-renowned restaurant scene. Once finished with school, he moved back to Texas to extern at Hudson’s on the Bend, an American restaurant in Austin known for its game dishes. This was his first experience working in a professional kitchen, and Harris made the most of it by working at every station.
After he completed his externship, Harris returned to New York City to find work. On his second day in the city, Harris applied for a job at Craft and was offered a garde manger position. At Craft, Harris gained inspiration working under chefs Tom Colicchio and Damon Wise, while continuing to develop his culinary skills.
In 2006, Colicchio offered Harris the opportunity to move back to his home state to help open the new Craft Dallas as a sous chef. Three years later, Harris was promoted to chef de cuisine.
As executive chef at Bolsa and Bolsa Mercado, Harris takes pride in cooking with locally sourced ingredients with an ever-changing and evolving menu.
December 2011 Guest Chef | Brian C. Luscher of The Grape
A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York, Brian Luscher purchased the popular Greenville Avenue bistro The Grape in 2007, where he had previously served as executive chef from 2001-2004. Buying the restaurant fulfilled Luscher’s lifelong dream of becoming chef-owner of his own place. Brian’s wife Courtney operates the dining room as general manager and sommelier.
For nearly 40 years, The Grape has been one of Dallas’ most beloved restaurants, thanks to its charming, European-style atmosphere. The Grape was the first restaurant in Dallas to offer a blackboard menu, a tradition that stands today. Signature bistro items are featured alongside a rotating list of more contemporary creations. The restaurant is also known as the first in the city to offer wine by the glass, and it’s still a destination for an expansive and eclectic selection of wines.
November 2011 Guest Chef | Matt McCallister
Matt McCallister’s culinary career began at the age of 15, when he worked for a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. He planned to later attend the Culinary Institute of America.
In 2005, after enjoying a fine meal at Stephan Pyles’ namesake restaurant, Matt approached Stephan about the possibility of working for him. Following a brief trial period, Matt worked as a line cook and, during the course of 18 months, progressed rapidly through all line cook positions until he was promoted to sous chef in 2007. In 2008, he was promoted to executive sous chef.
In 2009, Matt became the executive chef at Stephan Pyles. Upon promoting Matt to executive chef, Stephan said, “Matt is a hardworking, exceptionally talented chef with laser-beam focus. In my 26 years in the restaurant business, I have seen only one other person with as much raw and natural ability.” The press took notice too. While executive chef, Matt received two back-to-back 4-star reviews in the Dallas Morning News.
Currently Matt is consulting on the soon-to-open Campo Modern Country Bistro in Oak Cliff, overseeing kitchen operations and the menu, which will focus on European influences such as French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, reminiscent of the Mendoza Province near Buenos Aires. Most recently, Matt spent time honing his skills and learning new techniques in the country’s top restaurants, including McCrady’s in South Carolina, Alinea in Chicago and Daniel in New York City.
October 2011 Guest Chef | Abraham Salum of Salum and Komali
Abraham Salum was born and raised in Mexico City and graduated from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. He expanded his kitchen skills in France, Belgium, Mexico, and the United States.
Abraham realized his dream by opening Salum in 2005, which has since become one of the city’s most praised restaurants. Salum is also a sought-after catering resource for private parties in the Dallas area, and it’s a popular choice for celebrations and functions, including parties for the Dallas Opera.
Abraham opened his new restaurant, Komali, in February 2011, next door to the one that bears his name. At Komali he distinguishes authentic Mexican flavors and preparations from popular Tex-Mex cuisine and aims to expand appreciation for Mexican gastronomical culture. Think delicate tomatillo sauces, unique moles, handmade tortillas, homemade queso fresco, and herbs and spices combined with dried chiles to complement a variety of meats and fresh seafood.
Abraham was invited to be a celebrity chef at Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium and the Beaver Creek Wine and Spirits Festival in August 2011. Dedicated to charity and community, he is actively involved in events benefitting March of Dimes, American Heart Association, AIDS Resources Center, Dallas Opera, and, now, Café Momentum.
August 2011 Guest Chef | Sharon Hage
Culinary Institute of America graduate Sharon Hage honed her skills by working her way up in New York City kitchens. She left New York for Dallas, where she had done a culinary externship. In Dallas she eventually became executive chef for Harvey Hotels and then the iconic Neiman Marcus.
In 2001, Sharon purchased the 42-seat York Street restaurant in East Dallas. During the next 10 years, the local favorite received local and national attention, thanks to its daily changing menu and seasonally focused cuisine. Among the accolades: five consecutive nominations for the James Beard Best Chef Southwest; Top 10 Restaurants for food, Zagat: Top 50 Restaurants in the U.S., Gourmet; Top 10 Best Chefs in Dallas, Dallas Morning News; and readers' choice for Best Chef in Dallas, D Magazine.
An active member of Les Dames d'Escoffier since 1994, Sharon is also passionate about supporting local farmers and producers. She brings the farm to the classroom through her involvement with the Days of Taste Program.
July 2011 Guest Chef | Randall Copeland of Restaurant Ava
East Dallas-born Randall Copeland was first introduced to a professional kitchen when he attended the culinary program at Skyline High School. Throughout his 20s, he waited tables and cooked in restaurants across Dallas. In 1999, Randall went back to school to study the culinary arts at El Centro and has never looked back.
Randall spent the early part of his career under the supervision of chef Billy Webb at the Park Cities Hilton, where he honed his knife skills and learned the basic principles of French and Creole cuisine. From the Hilton he moved to Eastern Hills Country Club in Garland. After three months as a line cook, he was promoted to sous chef. Thanks to chef Keith Champy, Randall began to understand the business side of running a restaurant. After two years at Eastern Hills, he got the urge to learn more refined techniques and get into fine dining.
Through a friend he was introduced to Colleen O'Hare, the executive chef of The Green Room, who offered him a sous chef position. At the Green Room, he was introduced to fresh, seasonal ingredients and a style of cooking that would change his view of food forever.
After a trip to Las Vegas in 2004, Randall was offered a position at Bradley Ogden inside Caesar's Palace, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant, where he stayed until late 2007. Once he returned to Texas, Randall and longtime friend and chef Nathan Tate began throwing around ideas for Restaurant Ava and looking for locations.
Meanwhile, Randall was introduced to Bolsa chef Graham Dodds, and the two discovered they had similar attitudes toward food. They worked side-by-side at Bolsa, creating local, seasonal menus nightly, until Restaurant Ava came to fruition.