BREAKING: Uchi chef moves to FT33


Junior Borges

Just as I was naming Uchi the best new restaurant of 2015, its on-site chef, Junior Borges, was departing. For where, though? Well, now we have the answer: FT33. He’s moved from the Uptown’s hottest spot to take over the kitchen in the Design District’s hottest spot as its new executive chef. Founder Matt McCallister will continue to work his magic at his new place, Filament. Congrats all around.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Exclusive: Burgers & Burgundy chef lineup

Grace's Blaine StanifordBurgers & Burgundy, the chef-driven fundraiser for DIFFA, returns on Oct. 2 to the same Preston Hollow estate where it has been for the past two years. And once again, the lineup of local and national celebrichefs. In addition to organizing chef John Tesar (Knife, Oak, El Bolero), among those area chefs coming up with creative takes on the traditional sandwich will be:  Blaine Staniford (Fort Worth’s Grace, pictured at last year’s event); Matt McCallister (FT33); Tre Wilcox; Brian Luscher (The Grape, Luscher’s Red Hots); Jason Campbell (Whole Foods) and Kevin Williamson (Ranch 616). In addition, newcomers will be Joshua Smith (Maine’s Moody Delicatessen), Kris Morningstar (L.A.’s Terrine, who recently was part of another Knife fundraising dinner in Dallas), Justin Brunson (Denver’s Old Major).

Tickets range from $85 to $150, and benefit DIFFA.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chefs for Farmers kicks off with hoppin’ cocktail and food tasting

I was a judge Sunday night in the Design District along with three other food experts in town (Mark Ramirez with Dallas Morning News, food writer Bev Garvin and local guru Jimmy Contreras) at Mix-Off, the launch event for this year’s Chefs for Farmers fundraiser, which returns to Lee Park in October. We had to taste more than a dozen cocktails from top mixologists and bites from local chefs, and I’ll tell ya, it wasn’t easy! The judges selected the Chamomile Punch from The Standard Pour for our top drink, while the guests selected FT33’s Solar Eclipse as the best. But judges and guests were in agreement on the most delicious bite:  Brian Bell with The Blind Butcher prepared a chicken sausage that was to die for. Everything, though, soared. Here are some pix of the great event.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chefs for Farmers’ Big Oyster Bash tickets on sale

oysterThe charitable group Chefs for Farmers — just three years old, but already one of the best-attended and most acclaimed foodie events in Dallas, attracting some of the top culinary talent in town — will hold its inaugural Big Oyster Bash at the Dallas Farmers Market on Oct. 26. And what do I mean by top talent? Matt McCallister (FT33), Jack Perkins (The Slow Bone), Kyle McClelland (Proof and Pantry), John Tesar (Spoon and Knife), Jon Alexis (TJ’s Seafood Market), Jon Stevens (Stock & Barrel) and Stephen Rogers (Gemma). Tickets went on sale this morning, and you can get them here. And I hope you will. CFF, which recognizes those working to better Dallas’ culinary scene, has invited me to serve as one of the hosts of the event, which I gladly accepted. So come, eat good food, have a good time and say hello!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting notes: Foodie fun for a week!


It’s a good week for foodies in Dallas, with a different event almost every night (and some during the day!). Here’s a rundown on how you can feast for a week.

Tuesday: FT33 tasting menu. Matt McCallister’s buzzworthy restaurant in the Design District, FT33, pictured, celebrates a year of operation with the launch of a new tasting menu of local ingredients showcased in a minimalistic style. Each seven-course meal with include snacks, a savory element and a sweet element. Begins this Tuesday, and each Tuesday–Thursday hereafter, from 6–9 p.m. Limited availability. $95/person. 214-741-2629.

Thursday: Wine Poste dinner with Tiffany Derry and Uno Immanivong. Sticking close to the Design District, The Wine Poste, a new combination wine retailer and event/dining space, hosts its latest dinner with celebrichefs Tiffany Derry and Umo Immanivong cooking an Asian-themed menu (paired, natch, with wines). The five-course menu will include crispy duck confit, Chinese barbecue port and apple fritter churrro bites (can’t wait to see the wine they match with that one!). 7 p.m., $100/person.

Friday: 79 cent pork chops at Perry’s. You heard correctly: On Friday from 11 a.m.–4 p.m., the first 100 customers at Perry’s Steakhouse on McKinney Avenue get their chop for less than a buck, in honor of the first Perry’s opening in 1979.

Saturday: A Feathered Affair. A lineup of all-star chefs including Abraham Salum (Salum, Komali), Jeff Harris (Bolsa), Chad Houser (Cafe Momentum), Graham Dodds (Hibiscus) and Nathan Tate (Boulevardier) will cook for this fundraiser for the Trinity River Audubon Center at the locale in the beautiful Trinity River Forest, sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas. 7–11 p.m. $75/person.

Sunday: Texas Veggie Fest. The outdoor celebration of vegan cuisine returns to the gayborhood with a daylong event at Reverchon Park. Lots of vendors — food, but also cruelty-free products and services — will be on hand at the dog-friendly, free event. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Monday: Industry night at Belly & Trumpet. The uptown eatery gives back to those who work in food service with a recurring Monday night event that includes a different local bartender mixing it up each week.

Next Tuesday, Oct. 22: Five Sixty Japanese dinner. Patton Robertson, the exec chef at Wolfgang Puck’s lavish restaurant atop Reunion Tower, teams with other local chefs to host a Japanese-inspired meal. Among those preparing dishes will be  Matt Raso of Nobu, Hiroyuki Fujino (sushi cef at Five Sixty) and Teiichi Sakurai of Tei-An. All dishes will be paired with sake or wine. Reception at 6 p.m. $150/person. 214-741-5560.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

In time for TBRU, a fun, true story

Mr-TBRU-entrants-and-winners-at-RU-copyWith Texas Bear Round Up starting today, I was thinking about this online exchange from a few weeks ago.

Iris McCallister, the wife of FT33 chef Matt McCallister, is a frequent LIKEr of my Facebook posts, and vice versa. A few weeks ago, Iris posted something like this on her Facebook page: “Just came from a beer tasting and never have I seen so many bearded men in flannel!”

Being the jokester I am, I said, “You should attend TBRU!”

Ha. Good one, I thought.

But Iris, being a straight married lady, didn’t get it.

“What’s TBRU?” she asked back. “Texas Bear Round Up,” I replied, figuring she’d finally get the joke.

But oh, no.

Next thing I know, Iris is inviting her girlfriends to attend. “Arnold Wayne Jones suggested we might want to check out the Texas BEER Round Up! Let’s go, should be fun!” she enthusiastically posted. Apparently, she read my post only fleetingly. Fortunately, one of her girlfriends was savvier.

“Ummm, Iris, I think you might want to take a look at this,” she posted, linking to the TBRU home page.

I could practically hear Iris shriek from miles away.

Personally, I think it would hilarious if Iris McCallister and her girlfriends showed up at the Crowne Plaza, all ready to taste artisinal beers and being met by fuzzy meatmen in Speedos. But it’s probably best she didn’t.

You can, though. See ya there. And if you see Iris, give her a big bear hug.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

SPOILER ALERT: ‘Top Chef’ all-straight now, but Texan’s still in running

Top Chef: Seattle has toyed with us, both as gays and Texans. The first evictee was openly gay chef Jeffrey Jew. Since then, we’ve had just one queer chef to root for: returning competitor Josie Smith-Maleve, pictured. She wasn’t personally popular among the other cheftestants, and they’d been itching for her to go for a while. Last week, when she bested frontrunner Kristen Kish, the world seemed topsy-turvy. So last night, when Josie was finally let go, it felt, sadly, like justice had been served.

Still, that leaves a gay-free zone headed into the final weeks of the competition. Not, though, a Texan-free one. FT33‘s Joshua Valentine — who started as a line cook at Stephan Pyles — is still in the running. Hey, if we don’t have a gay to support, we always go for a Texan.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones