Philosopher Chef David Uygur Dishes on the Secrets of his Success
If you’ve been lucky enough to score a reservation at Lucia in the Bishop Arts District, you probably already know what a gem this place is. For those who haven’t already experienced it, Lucia is small (only 36 seats) and reservations are booked out months in advance because the food is so simple and lovely that it will transport you to a land far, far away. However, if you don’t have a reservation and you’re dying to check it out, you can try your luck at the four open seats inside at a counter (available on a first come basis) and there are a few non-reservation tables outside on the sidewalk that are used when the weather is nice.
I spoke with David Uygur to discuss his unique approach to Italian cuisine and his recent James Beard nomination. I asked chef Uygur to describe the food at Lucia and what they do that makes it so special. “I want to feel good about the food we prepare and where it comes from. Style wise, I really do like Italian food, it’s what I’m most interested in. But since we’re in North-East Texas, we work with ingredients that are local. The cuisine is completely influenced by what we have around us and what we have to work with. In that way, the food at Lucia is very Italian-American as far as processes and techniques. What we do here is our version of Italian food. It’s influenced by the food of Italy, in that it’s all about the raw product and respect for the ingredients. I get inspired by traveling and the changing of the seasons. I love when it starts getting warm out after a long winter and you get the first peas of the season, ramps and green garlic, it’s a celebration of the ingredients. We make everything from scratch in-house as much as possible. I taught myself how to make charcuterie, we make that in house, too. We make all of our own bread and pastas, we butcher a whole hog every two weeks. I take a lot of pride in doing things like that, it’s neat.”
I asked, now that people are becoming more educated about food, how do you think that has that changed the dining experience? Uygur – “I think it’s making things better, it always drove me nuts to see big restaurants with closed kitchens. It creates a disconnect between the kitchen and the dining room. People would look at the menu and talk to the waiter, order the food, they’d take the menus away and then the food just comes out like auto-mat. Ding! There it is, you know? The disconnect always drove me nuts. Back in the kitchen you could tell diners had no idea what it took to make that food be what it is. Today, I think people appreciate the fact that they can see the people who are preparing and actually tasting the food that’s being served. I stress to all of my cooks, they must taste the food. It’s good for people to see them eating it (not chowing down). But, people need to know that not only are you cooking it, you care about quality control. That’s crucial, it’s the only way it works. I like having that connection and for people to see how we do interesting things in the kitchen.”
David Uygur is no stranger to the James Beard House. He has been invited to cook there in the past, but this year was David’s first nomination for an award. I asked, it must feel really good to be recognized by JBF for your efforts. What a nice reflection of the attention to detail you place on every dish in your restaurant. What would it mean to you to earn such a prestigious award? Uygur was very modest and humble in his response and replied simply, “I don’t know. I mean, I think that all chefs are competitive, you know? It’s great to see new names from Dallas on the list too, I think it is a sign of how the Dallas food scene is evolving. But yeah. I would love to win a James Beard award, that would be a-w-e-s-o-m-e.”
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408 West Eighth St., Suite 101
Dallas, TX 75208
Now for Something Totally NEW & Different…
We’re pleased to announce Urban Epicurious has formed a collaborative partnership with Rebecca Combs TV. Together we’ve formed a food media production company and are launching a new video article series, “Behind the Scenes” with B&B Food Media.
Here’s a sneak peek at our Sizzle Reel to give you a little taste of what’s to come:
NOTE: If you receive an error code on the video, click to view: http://youtu.be/r8vliLNLnMo
About B&B Food Media:
Bev Garvin and Becca Combs are two native Dallasites who are passionate about the culinary arts. It’s great to see how the growth of our city is attracting restaurant opportunities that are shaping Dallas into a culinary destination that shines on the national and global radar.
Our mission is simple, to tell the impressive and sometimes unbelievable stories about the fascinating people who bring fantastic foodstuff to our fine city and who are doing remarkable things in the Dallas food scene. In the interest of transparency, it is important to note that while we are available to hire for outside creative marketing and video work, we do not receive any monetary compensation from the restaurants, companies, businesses or people we highlight in our films. Our work is truly a labor of food love.
We have many more appetizing adventures in store and hope you are entertained along the way. If you like what you see, please be sure to comment and share our content with your friends or on your social networks to let us know that we’re doing good a good job. We sincerely appreciate your support.
Up Close and Personal with Matt McCallister
Some people are obsessed with sports. But if you’re like me, it’s all about food and for this food fanatic, the James Beard Foundation Awards are the “Super Bowl of Everything Food.” When it was announced that none of the JBF Semifinalist Chefs and other category nominees from “Team Dallas” made it to the final round, I was bummed to say the least. I reached out to Matt McCallister, David Ugyur and John Tesar recently to hear their thoughts on the Dallas shut out. What they had to say may surprise you.
I’ll never forget the first time I met Matt McCallister. He was packing up at the end of an event (not related to a restaurant). We had never met and I did not know who he was. I heard him say “I gotta hurry up and get home to butcher a goat.” I turned to him and implored, “Please tell me you’re a chef, and you are not involved some sort of satanic cult ritual or something.” He replied, waiving his hands emphatically, “Oh no, no, I’m a chef, I’m a chef!” – true story.
Matt has come a long way since he burst on to the Dallas dining scene a little more than four years ago during his first solo gig at Campo (formerly in Bishop Arts). He stands out because of his passion and eccentric creativity, starting with the seasonal ingredients he meticulously selects, sometimes foraging or even growing himself, peculiar protein choices, using cuts of meat often overlooked, right down to drawing out precisely how a dish should appear when plated.
I asked McCallister about his recent JBF nod and the Dallas snub. Here’s what he had to say, “Its’ been a crazy year since opening FT33. I don’t know, its nice to get recognition, especially when you work 90-100 hours every week and you’re just trying to put out the best food you know how to. I’m blown away by all the accolades we’ve received. We’ve got a great team. I think Ugyer and Tesar are both doing really great things and it’s also nice to see so many friends I know across the country being nominated as well.”
Chef McCallister hosts Guest Chef Dinners at FT33 on the third Monday of each month, he recently hosted a dinner with JBF Finalist – Best Chef Southwest, Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine (Austin). But never fear, coming up on June 16th he will host another with JBF Finalist – Best Chef Northeast, Matt Jennings of Farmstead (Rhode Island). Later this year on August 18th, you can also catch JBF Semifinalist – Best Chef Southwest, Seth Siegel-Gardner of Pass and Provisions (Houston).
Matt’s not too sad about the JBF shut out though, last week he was named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2014, he went on to say, “Even though Dallas is out of JBF this year, it’s still great to see so many Texas and especially Dallas restaurants progressing really fast in the dining scene. I’d like to see less quantity of restaurants openings but an even higher caliber restaurants opening in Dallas to keep that going and evolving from here.”
NOTE: The video plays in Firefox and Internet Explorer, but if you use Chrome or Safari and receive an error code on the video, click here to view on YouTube: http://youtu.be/qCM0cT2-i58
1617 Hi Line Drive, Suite 250
Dallas, TX 75207
Twitter: @FT33Dallas @ChefMattMcCallister
Win a $50 Gift Basket for Your Valentine from Empire Bakery!
Dear Empire Bakery,
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, Linzer cookies, shortbread cookies, chocolate brownies, cranberry scones and cranberry walnut bread and so many reasons more.
If you’ve eaten at any of the best restaurants in Dallas, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, to Bolsa Mercado, or Lee Harvey’s, just to name a few, you’re already familiar with Empire Bakery Company’s delicious baked goods. What you may not know is they also have a retail store where they sell to the public.
Owners Robert and Meaders Ozarow have been honoring the tradition of bread making in their Dallas, Texas, bakery for over 20 years. This family-owned and operated artisan bakery sells wholesale to many local restaurants and bakes European style natural breads, pastries, cookies, sandwiches and salads at it’s retail location (on West Lovers between the North Dallas Tollway and Inwood).
With goods this fresh, you can order your choice of bread today (download menu Empire Baking Menu), it will be baked from scratch in the morning and can be delivered tomorrow while still warm straight from the oven!
Roses are Red, Gluten is GREAT!
Sugar is Sweet & OMG are Those Brownies!?!?
Starting today through Friday February 14th, 2014 comment below, post on Facebook or Tweet your Valentines using #UrbanValentines and you’ll be automatically entered to win a $50 Gift Card from Empire Baking Company!
One lucky winner will be chosen. The more you post, tweet and share, the better your chances to win. Must be over age 21 to win. Winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day at 3:00 pm on social media. Winner must pick up Gift Certificate from Empire Bakery no later than 30 days after announcement, and my decision is final. So, bring on your most clever, funniest Valentines!
Phone: (214) 350-0007
Hours: Mon-Sat 8 a – 6 p | Sun 9:30 a – 4 p
Address: 5450 West Lovers Lane (at Inwood Lane), Dallas, Texas 75209
Click the map for Google Maps directions.
Win an Invite to the Friends & Family Preview of Kitchen LTO
The highly anticipated permanent pop-up restaurant, Kitchen LTO makes its’ debut this week. The construction dust has settled, the staff has been trained, chef Norman Grimm has developed the menu (below) and Coveal Studios has designed a stellar space for the launch of Kitchen LTO’s first concept. As though that wasn’t exciting enough news, owner, Casie Caldwell, announced today they will be giving away preview invitations through social media to a few lucky people to attend the Friends & Family Preview this Monday September 9th, and Tuesday 10th, where guests can nibble, nosh and savor to their heart’s content.
Here’s what you need to do for a chance to win:
- Like “Kitchen LTO” on Facebook
- Follow @KitchenLTO on Twitter
- Comment or Tweet “I can’t wait for ________. #KLTOImHungry”
The winners will be selected from the categories above, you’ll automatically be entered, (one chance for each new Like or Follow). If you’ve already done that, just tweet or comment about what you can’t wait to see from Kitchen LTO using #KLTOImHungry. You may tweet and comment as many times as you like, each counts for EVEN MORE chances for you to win. Kitchen LTO will announce each winners via social media. Stay tuned to see if you win.
This is a promotional post, written by Bev Garvin for on behalf of my client, Kitchen LTO, photo credit: Claire McCormack.
Get Free Produce at Dallas Farmers Market this Weekend
Chipotle Mexican Grill is celebrating National Farmers Market Week by giving away $10 currency tokens at the Dallas Farmers Market! Get yours this weekend (August 10th – 11th) when you stop by the Chipotle tent at the Dallas Farmers Market. Redeem your $10 currency token that day from farmers at the market for free produce of your choice. Tokens will be given away to the first 250 market-goers who stop by the Chipotle tent until noon each day, while supplies last. Once redeemed, Farmers will receive back the full cash value of their collected tokens from Chipotle. This local farmers market initiative is part of Chipotle restaurants’ national campaign to donate $110,000 to 55 farmers markets across the country. The Chipotle tent won’t be serving food, but in addition to the $10 produce tokens, they will also be giving away recipe cards for classic menu items like its’ famous salsa and guacamole, “Grow Your Own” cilantro seed packets and a Chipotle coupon for a buy-one, get-one free (burrito, bowl, taco or salad entrée) menu items that can be redeemed at any area Chipotle location. What a great way support buying local, eating healthy and giving back to the community in a healthy way.
About Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity”
“For nearly two decades, Chipotle has been committed to bringing customers better food from more sustainable ingredients, and we believe that supporting local, family owned farms is an important part of this,” said Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle. “Local food not only tastes better, but is better for the environment and contributes to vibrant communities throughout rural America.” Through its’ vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are sustainably grown and naturally raised with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food.
Mexican Grill is the largest national restaurant company to commit to organic, green earth-friendly practices. Today, Chipotle restaurants source 100% of their meat (pork, beef and chicken) from naturally raised animals that are raised humanely, in open environments, fed vegetarian diets and are never given hormones or antibiotics. Chipotle will soon offer Tofu to its menu, and its’ produce is from locally sourced (within 350 miles of the restaurant) certified organic farmers, whenever possible, and Chipotle has vowed to limit use of genetically modified ingredients “GMOs” or eliminate them wherever possible. Chipotle is also uses green practices in their operations like recycled napkins, and burrito bowls, aluminum and other eco-friendly initiatives. This video describes their culinary philosophy and how it supports these initiatives.
An Urban Farmstead is Coming to Oak Cliff
Urban Acres Market is wrapping up its’ Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 by August 5th to build a one of a kind Farmstead only five minutes from Downtown Dallas in historic Oak Cliff that will bring the farm into the city.On July 28th, they announced that they had reached the goal and were now going for the next mark of $45,000 by Monday, August 5th. To incent people to help them reach their goal, they have lots of cool prizes for donations of all amounts.
Urban Acres started between a few good friends who had an idea to connect farms with people who want locally grown organic food. Today, Urban Acres Market has become a wonderful source of local, organic food for about 2,300 people in the Dallas metroplex. At Urban Acres, their goal was to provide the public with access to the very best local and organic foods while supporting Texas farm families and artisans. So they created a co-op-style produce system with pick-up locations all over Dallas that make shopping easy and trying new veggies fun. The Kickstarter funding will allow Urban Acres to expand its’ scope and even better serve the community. Here’s the inside scoop:
The Urban Acres Vision
To create a small oasis, (approximately 1300 sq ft) in the historic neighborhood of Oak Cliff right in the heart of Dallas, that will bring together the best of Texas farms and local artisans all under one roof. Imagine a place where patrons can enjoy deliciously prepared local food, learn about aquaponic gardening, the importance of bees, feed the chickens and enjoy a cup of locally roasted coffee while relaxing in a rocking chair on the front porch. A place for our community to interact over food, and the idea that local food matters while sipping ice tea. It might just be the craziest thing, but so was bringing organic fruits and veggies from Texas farmers into the city and because of the Urban Acres family, this is a reality today.
The Urban Acres Farmstead Construction Check List:
- City Permits, Demo, Construction, & Plans
- 4 Foot Cheese Case
- Open Kitchen to slice and dice veggies and fruit
- 300 Sq Ft Aquaponics Garden
- Bee & Butterfly Garden
- Front Porch Patio with Communal Table & Rocking Chairs
- Nice Beautiful Sign for Front of Store
- Lights and Signs for Inside of Store
- Big New Front Door
How Can You Help?
Urban Acres is here because of YOU – and they can’t do this without you. With your help, Urban Acres will create a unique gathering place for our community and help Dallas see that local food matters. In return, they are offering fantastic gifts featuring many of Dallas’ best artisans at each donation level.
Your Gift to Dallas:
- An aquaponics farmstead for growing produce and education
- A chicken run to supply the freshest eggs in town
- An artisan cheese case crafting the best-in-Texas cheeses
- A fun and funky community space for classes and events
- A bee and butterfly garden
- Farmstead-to-table events
- Access to farmstead-to-table gourmet goods
Urban Acres Gift to You:
- Exclusive farm tours
- Special edition Urban Acres apparel and accessories
- Aquaponics classes
- Cooking classes with notable chefs
- Fresh organic locally grown produce
- A party with a chef
- In-store exclusives
- High-fives and immense gratitude
More Information: www.UrbanAcresMarket.com/Kickstarter
Gourmet Cupcakes Invade Dallas
If you’re like me, you appreciate gourmet delights of all kinds, especially those of a sweet persuasion. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Sprinkles 24-hour Cupcake ATM in Preston Center (CRAZY idea – huh)? Well, this is kinda like that, only minus the 24-hour part. You see, there’s a new gourmet cupcake baker in town, and they have high aspirations of world domination or “The Best Cupcake on the Planet,” although they’re quick to point out there isn’t documentation to support this claim.
Fluellen Cupcakes (the owners of Dimples Cupcakes in Frisco, TX) announced the soft-opening of their new Downtown Dallas digs at the corner of Akard & Elm. You may wonder about the name, Fluellen “flew-el-en” which is the owner, Keith Fluellen’s, last name.
This hip confectioner offers a warm and inviting neighborhood cafe that will feature a coffee bar (coming soon) with coffee, espresso, lattes, tea, hot chocolate, frappuccino, smoothies and other cold beverages in addition to its’ sweet treats. Fluellen offers an array of options from large cupcakes ($4/ea $24/6 $48/dozen), mini-cupcakes (2 dozen $48), cake pops ($2/ea), 10″ & 12″ cakes, bridal cakes (call for quotes on cakes), and corporate deliveries.
Best selling flavors are Wedding Cake, Red Velvet, Banana Pudding, Strawberry, Lemon Delight and Cookies ‘N’ Cream. You’ll want to check their website for the cupcake flavor schedule so you won’t miss your favorites. I’ve tried several, and so far, my favorites have been Banana Pudding and Snickerdoodle.
Phone: (469) 248-0856
Hours: Mon-Thu 7 a – 9 p | Fri-Sat 7 a – 11 p | Sun 10:00 a – 7 p
The Trinity Groves Fork Fight Competition is Heating Up
If you haven’t ventured over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge yet, you now have a really good reason to do it! In September, about a dozen new shops and restaurants will begin opening as they make their debut in Phil Romano and company’s commercial real estate/restaurant incubator venture project.
Between now and then, to give the hungry public a taste of what’s to come, Trinity Groves has cooked up a bracket-style competition where eight new restaurants will compete against each other and the guests get to decide who wins by voting with their forks! The winning restaurant will face-off in Round 8 against culinary godmother, Chef Sharon Van Meter, owner of 3015 at Trinity Groves event space (where the events are being held) for the finale on August 29th.
This is your opportunity to be the first to see what each new restaurant will soon have to offer early this Fall. The first round was held on July 10th and ended with, Souk narrowly beating rival Casa Rubio.
On Thursday, July 18th, the 3015 at Trinity Groves event space will heat up again as Round 2 of Fork Fight kicks off. This time, Kitchen LTO’s first chef, Norman Grimm, will compete against Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown. You may recognize Uno from ABC’s chef/reality competition The Taste, where she was mentored by Anthony Bourdain. It should be an interesting battle, given Norman Grimm has worked under and was mentored by another famous chef, Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, a French influenced California fine-dining restaurant and the highly regarded chef, Sharon Hage, formerly of York Street in Dallas, TX.
Casie Caldwell, Owner of Kitchen LTO, is so excited about the competition next week that she even wrote a song called “Goin’ Down to the Fork Fight” that is featured in this smack talk video:
In response to Kitchen LTO’s video, Uno Imannivong of Chino Chinatown released this video from her “publicist,” a.k.a. her adorable daughter, Emma:
Here’s how each Fork Fight will go down:
Each fight is $75 which includes cocktails, two appetizers, two salads, two entrees, and two desserts, one from each competitor. You will not leave hungry!
Each Fork Fight will be is a seated dinner with four courses from each chef (eight courses total), an open bar (cocktails and wine) and all service and gratuities are included for just $75/person or $500 for table that seats eight people!
Doors open at 7:00 p.m., when cocktails are served. The seated dinner begins promptly at 7:45 p.m.
Each week, the restaurants compete, a winner is chosen by the public and that restaurant moves on to the next round to face-off a different restaurant each week.
The Fork Fight full line-up is scheduled as follows:
Wednesday, July 10: Round 1 with SOUK vs. Casa Rubia Winner SOUK!
Thursday, July 18: Round 2 with Kitchen LTO vs. Chino Chinatown
Thursday, July 25: Round 3 with Amber Jax vs. Saint Rocco
Thursday, August 1: Round 4 with LUCK vs. Resto Gastro Bistro
Thursday, August 8: Round 5 with winners of Round 1 – SOUK and Round 2
Thursday, August 15: Round 6 with winners of Round 3 and Round 4
Thursday, August 22: Round 7 with winners of Round 5 and Round 6
Thursday, August 29: Final round with Sharon Van Meter vs. winner of Round 7
You can purchase tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com “Fork Fight” or just click the image above and it will take you to the ticket page.
Honey Bee School is now in Session
I don’t normally write about deals I find on the internet, but this offer from Amazon Local is WAY too cool to not share!
Round Rock Honey, in Round Rock, Texas is offering a bee keeping classes in a few cities including “Dallas,” (actually in Copper Canyon, TX just North/West of Lewisville).
Did you know that, Round Rock Honey company operates one of the largest bee keeping schools in the U.S.? For those interested in learning about bees and the art of harvesting honey, Round Rock Honey offers classes via its Beekeeping Academy. Led by Round Rock Honey owner Konrad Bouffard and his team of expert beekeepers, each students is given an opportunity to “suit up” and learn the finer points of organic beekeeping. Classes are available year-round in Texas (Round Rock, Dallas, Houston and Waco), as well as California (San Francisco, Redwood City and San Diego), and Madison, WI.
Below is a link for you to purchase your tickets to bee keeping school. Whether you’re just curious to learn more about these fascinating creatures or, perhaps, if you’re so inclined to think you may want to build a honey bee feeder of your own, this is a great place to go for information. Tickets are normal $125/per person but are only $45 with the promotion below with options for two or three people as well. This deal will be offered by Amazon Local through tomorrow, June 11th, so get it now if you’re interested!
The bee keepers at Round Rock Honey (just outside Austin, TX), are obsessed with the engineering prowess of honeybees. They do their best to mimic the bees’ magnificent process as they strive to produce a superior honey. Their honeybees collect nectar from over 90 different sites in order to capture the vast array of pollens in all of the Central Texas “microclimates”. Before bottling Round Rock Honey they don’t heat or filter the honey, instead they harvest the hives then separate the honey by centrifuge at room temperature to preserve all the natural enzymes, pollen and floral essences the honeybees put into it, creating the highest quality flavor. They test their honey with three different independent labs several times each year to ensure pollutants never find their way into your favorite natural sweetener. In layman’s terms, Round Rock honey is 100% pure and raw Texas honey.
You may be busy as a bee, but we hope you slow down and enjoy this sweet deal from Round Rock Honey. Whether you think donning a full bee suit or coming face to face with 60,000 bees is cooler, this class introduces you to both, along with a plethora of beekeeping-related information.
- $45 ($125 value) for a three-hour beekeeping class for one
- $79 ($250 value) for a three-hour beekeeping class for two
- $129 ($375 value) for a three-hour beekeeping class for three
- Gain hands-on experience at an apiary, including honey extraction and honey tasting
- Instructors are known for their commitment to teaching organic beekeeping and safety
- Limit 10 vouchers per purchaser; additional 10 vouchers may be sent as gifts
- Single option: limit 1 per person per visit
- 2-person option: limit 1 per pair per visit
- 3-person option: limit 1 per group per visit
- Entire value per voucher must be used in a single visit
- Appointments are required and subject to availability
- Merchant cancellation/re-scheduling policy of 24 hours applies; voucher subject to forfeiture
- Must be 7+ to redeem
- Signed waiver required prior to redemption
- Location, date, and time of class will be sent upon redemption of voucher; email merchant at email@example.com for details
- Available for use beginning the day after purchase
- PROMOTIONAL VALUE EXPIRES FOLLOWING DECEMBER 13, 2013
- PAID VALUE EXPIRES 5 YEARS FROM THE PURCHASE DATE