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The People’s Best New Chef – food and wine magazine

Matt McCallister
RESTAURANT FT33 (Read a review)
WHY HE’S AMAZING Because he’s attracting crowds to his first solo venture with his modern locavore dishes.
BACKGROUND Stephan Pyles (Dallas)
QUINTESSENTIAL DISH Smoked potatoes with maitake mushrooms and chile-spiked Kewpie mayonnaise
FIRST JOB “I started out cooking at a family-run restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, called Guido’s when I was 15, but I never really took it seriously. [My parents were] like, ‘You need to go get a job.’ So I was like, ‘OK, I’ll go get a job.’”
ON WORKING AT STEPHAN PYLES “I was 25 when I started at Stephan Pyles as a pantry cook. I didn’t have formal training and always felt behind, so I stayed up late nights reading, studying and trying new recipes to try to catch up.”
FT33’S DESIGN “Barnyard industrial.” A lot of the wood inside the restaurant came from a 19th century stable at Sterling Lamb at Hodges Ranch, in West Texas, where McCallister also gets his lamb.
FAVORITE ODDBALL INGREDIENTS Shiro kikurage, a white fungus that grows on trees. He rehydrates the dried fungus and infuses it with black truffle when making a “really rich lamb broth.”

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Ask a Bartender: ‘I Shouldn’t Have Given Them That Last Drink’ – serious eats

Stabbing someone with a salad fork, falling onto a candle, throwing a shot back right into your eye… all probably signs you’ve had a drink too many. We asked 16 bartenders about a time they realized that they really shouldn’t have given someone one last drink. Here’s what they had to say.

Where’s My Food?
“The time I had a guest dining who enjoyed her entire dining experience, then after clearing her plate she proceeded to tell me how hungry she was and inquired if she was ever going to get her food… This continued until she enjoyed her cab ride home.” — Lauren Festa (FT33)

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Chefs find creativity, economy in preserves – nation’s restaurant news

The inventive flavor mash-ups help restaurants make the most of seasonal berries

Chef Kym Delost wasn’t really interested in making jams or preserves — until about eight years ago when she over-reduced a sorbet she was making. “That’s when I started to appreciate [them],” said Delost.

Now, “I really like jam [and preserves]… It gives the ability to present different flavors in different ways,” she said.

Delost’s dessert menu at Storefront Company in Chicago features traditional preserves, such as apricot preserves with a chocolate, almond and rosemary crepe, as well as more unusual variations. Those include a crumble with grapefruit pate de fruit; a white chocolate cheesecake with basil cream, blood orange jelly, blood orange gel, meringue and basil blossoms; and poached rhubarb and rhubarb sherbet with angelica jelly.

Across the country, chefs are finding pleasure in using seasonal berries and other ingredients to create interesting flavor mash-ups of traditional jams, jellies and preserves.

Michelle Lee, the new pastry chef at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey, Calif., takes advantage of the region’s abundant produce to reduce flats of berries and then combine them with herbs and other ingredients for her work-in-progress dessert menu. For example, Lee recently added to the menu a raspberry lemonade sorbet with strawberry meringue, olive oil cake, candied lemon, vanilla cream and an elderflower blackberry jam.

“I love, love, love rustic desserts,” said Lee. “[Jams] are unique to have. It’s familiar, but it’s something you can play with as well.”

The cheese board with house-made bread and jams from FT33

Lee, who keeps a “big idea book” filled with flavor combinations waiting to be realized, plans to add one or two more desserts to the menu in the coming months, perhaps including a pate de fruit made from blueberries.

Other chefs are finding that adding jams and preserves is not only creative, but also economical. They can buy fruits and berries in bulk when they’re in peak season and the cost is low, and then turn them into something else to be served well beyond the season.

“It’s a good way to control costs,” said chef Trevor Higgins. “Besides just having a berry as it is, you can add flavors … cinnamon, star anise, garlic. You still have these products in a different form, a little more unique.”

This winter Higgins made a lot of blackberry preserves that are now starting to appear on the menu at Roost, a local, organic, seasonal Southern-food restaurant in Greenville, S.C. Currently, Shoo Fly Pie topped with blackberry preserves and chipotle, cayenne, bourbon gelato is on the menu. A four-layer chocolate mousse cake with blackberry preserves was a recent special, and Higgins plans to take advantage of the upcoming peach season next.

“Growing up in Tennessee, we always had preserves,” said Higgins. “I used to help my grandma can. [It’s] part of the up-bringing of Southern food.”

For chef Matt McCallister of FT33 in Dallas, playing with preserves is an extension of his nose-to-tail philosophy of cooking. Preserved items in all forms appear in every section of his seasonally driven menu — from pickled kumquats to Moroccan preserved lemons.

“I don’t like to waste anything. If I have a part of a fruit or a vegetable I’m not using, I’ll always try to preserve it,” said McCallister. “I love the flavor of preserved stuff.”

His dessert menu features a classic strawberry shortcake with strawberry preserves, as well as a variety of jams, including rhubarb, carrot, beer and red currant, served as part of a cheese board.

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Smoked Potatoes Pair Well with Rioja – Wine-Enthusiast

Try pairing a smoky Tempranillo with the hearty heat of this easy-to-make vegetable dish.

While the humble potato gets a gourmet upgrade in this recipe, the centerpiece is the Kewpie mayonnaise, a silky Japanese rice vinegar-based spread that has fast become the darling of new-school Western chefs. “We use Kewpie for its velvety, smooth texture,” says Matt McCallister, executive chef and owner of FT33 in Dallas’s Design District. “The creaminess, heat from the Sriracha and acidity of the mayo balance the smoke and heartiness of the vegetables. This is one side dish that can really stand on its own.”

To Make the Potatoes and Mushrooms:
2 cups mixed fingerling potatoes
Salt, to taste
¼ cup cherry-wood chips, for smoker
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
4 heads of maitake mushrooms, each broken into 3 pieces
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, for garnish

Place the fingerling potatoes in a 6-quart pot. Fill with water and season aggressively with salt. Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes, or until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork without resistance. Remove the potatoes from the water and set aside. Add the cherry-wood chips to a smoker and ignite the chips. Next, place the potatoes in the smoker and smoke heavily for 8 minutes.

Heat the grapeseed oil in a saucepan over high heat until lightly smoking. Sear the maitake mushroom pieces in the pan until they’re nicely caramelized. Add the potatoes to the pan and season with salt to taste, and then pour in the lemon juice. To finish, add the butter and minced chives to the pan. Remove the mixture from the heat and toss for a few turns. Pat down with a paper towel to remove excess oil before serving.

To make the Chili-Kewpie Mayo:
¼ cup Kewpie mayonnaise (available at most Asian supermarkets)
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons sweet pimentón
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

Combine the mayonnaise, Sriracha and sweet pimentón in a bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste, and reserve for plating.

To finish:
Serve as shown, or space out dollops of the mayonnaise on each plate and arrange the mushrooms and potatoes around each dollop. Garnish with the oregano leaves. Serves 4.

Wine Pairing
“We like to pair smoky, hearty Tempranillos with this dish,” says Ryan Tedder, sommelier and general manager at FT33. “For a local option, we really enjoy the Pedernales Cellars 2009 Tempranillo from Stonewall, Texas. [It] sings with this dish because it has big flavors without big tannins. For a Spanish option, we enjoy the Bodegas LAN 2005 Viña Lanciano Reserva Rioja for its brightness paired with its power.”

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10 Must-Try Green Dishes From Around the U.S. – zagat

It’s not just the Irish bars and restaurants that get into the green theme around this time of year. With spring’s bounty of fresh produce, it’s easy to create something beautiful and verdant. Click through to see how chefs across the country have gone green just in time for St. Patrick’s Day and beyond with dishes that herald the arrival of a new season.

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Texas Tipples: The Hottest 6 Drinks From the Lone Star State – the daily meal

An ode to the cocktail scene in Texas (just in time for SXSW)

The SXSW festival is almost all grown up, celebrating 20 years of music, art, and tech innovations this week in the funkiest town in Texas. So with all eyes on Austin from March 8 to 17, we wondered what tipples they’re drinking deep in the heart of Texas these days… and discovered it’s so much more than margaritas. “Out-of-towners seem to think that when they are in Texas, they should order a margarita, because of our close proximity and historical ties to Mexico,” says Trevor Landry of Dish in Dallas. “There is nothing wrong with the classic margarita, but we have a few variations on our menu.”

Indeed, clever twists on classic cocktails is trending in Texas — like everywhere else on the mixology map — and Landry’s strawberry-basil margarita is a good example of a potation punched up, Texas style: It features a tasty balance of sweet and sour notes with a hit of bright, herbaceous basil, making the drink perfectly refreshingfor a hot Texas night. Or, of course, there’s the Texas Cosmo. One of the most anticipated restaurant openings in Dallas last fall, FT33, has hit the mark with the fresh, artisanal, and often surprising dishes by chef Matt McCallister — so it’s hardly a surprise the libations created there,like the Texas Cosmo, are equally notable. The Texas Cosmo gets an update with Tito’s handmade vodka (an Austin-made vodka), Spruce Goose Pinot Noir Juice, and lime.Other tipples, like The Oracle from Bar Congress in downtown Austin, pay homage to some of the biggest trends in mixology this year, highlighting ingredients like amaro, vermouth, and mezcal, resulting in a seductive, serious sip.

If you can’t make it to Austin for the SXSW festival, bring a taste of Texas home with six of the Lone Star State’s hottest cocktails.

The Strawberry Basil Margarita

The Champagne Supernova Cocktail

The Oracle Cocktail

The Champs-Élysées Cocktail

The Spiced Pear Cocktail

The Jallarita

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Restaurant Review: FT33 in Dallas Design District

Matt McCallister likes to eat at Mission Chinese Food when he’s in New York City, and he once found a baby snake while foraging for spring onions. He runs 6 miles on a treadmill to take the edge off when he’s had a rough day. His wife, Iris, owns a small brownie-making concern. She is picky about the soaps she uses in her bathroom, and she got an awesome new computer for Christmas. I know these things about the McCallisters because I read Facebook and pay attention to Twitter.

I find it fascinating that so much of McCallister’s success—or, at the very least, his name recognition—has been generated through social media. Certainly his bio doesn’t suggest that he has done as much “gutter time” as other local talents. I’m not saying the man isn’t talented. But I do think he is the first prestigious Dallas chef to earn his celebrity status with food blogs and social media, before he opened his first restaurant. After just seven years in the business, he stands in the kitchen of the most talked-about restaurant in Dallas, FT33.

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