FT33 is Chef Matt McCallister’s first solo venture, opened on October 13, 2012 in Dallas and serving “season-inspired modern cuisine.” He showcases the highest-quality products and treats them with respect. “I don’t print my menu until I know which ingredients are best that day,” he explains. “That should be the natural progression, rather than do the reverse, creating a dish and forcing whatever ingredients are available into it.” McCallister also has a penchant for creating unorthodox pairings of ingredients. McCallister has received rave reviews based purely on his signature progressive technique, and modern farmers’ market-inspired fare.
Before becoming a thoughtfully progressive culinarian in the Dallas dining scene, McCallister was torn between the visual and culinary arts. “Art was a passion that always competed with food, but cooking gives me an opportunity to blend the two,” says the Scottsdale, AZ, native, whose artistic sensibilities were influenced by his designer mother and scientific curiosity can be attributed to his research engineer father.
In 2006, McCallister landed a job at Stephan Pyles Restaurant in Dallas. With no formal training the aspiring chef began working at the renowned temple of fine Southwestern cuisine. He rapidly ascended the kitchen hierarchy, becoming sous chef in just over a year and executive chef within three years. McCallister left to travel and work under some of the countries greatest chefs over the course of the next two years; José Andrés, Mark Vetri, Sean Brock, Grant Achatz, and Daniel Boulud. Upon returning to Dallas in 2011 he started putting his plans together to open FT33, his first solo venture with his wife.
Extending the reach of his food philosophy, the chef and his wife founded Chefs for Farmers, a grassroots organization supporting local farmers by introducing their products to chefs, and vice versa. He is also a member of Foodways Texas and Southern Foodways Alliance.