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The Most Underrated Chef in Dallas: Fill in the Blank

We all know Stephan, Dean, Avner, Kent, and Sharon on a first name basis. But what about the other guys and gals—the ones without reality TV or PR hype. I’m talking about the line chefs and talented mom and pop shops yearning to break free and get their chance at the spotlight. It’s a rainy day, let’s stay inside and play. (Execuchefs? Name your top line cooks.) I pick Alex Yao from Yao Fuzi. Your turn.

34 comments on “The Most Underrated Chef in Dallas: Fill in the Blank

  1. WAY Underrated – Tracy Miller at Local and Stefano Secchi at Ferrari’s in Grapevine. Not underrated necessarily but who deserve to be on your 1 name short list of Dallas’ elite – Richard (Chamberlain), Gilbert (Garza), Chris (Ward), Tony (Bombaci), and Scott (Gottlich).

  2. Kelly HIghtower at Kavala. He did great things at Hattie’s before opening his own delicious restaurant. And how about Gilbert Garza at Suze?

  3. Travis Henderson III at the Place at Perry’s – you simply can’t find better food in town, everyone knows – he is as humble as they come only to be out down by his talent

  4. Mike Owens at Trader Vic’s should also be on that list. Great chef and great food.

  5. I second Mr. Uyger… Also, let’s hear it for Ms. Tracy Miller at Local….Perhaps, as well, Mr. Salum, who puts out consistently good food season after season.

  6. Yes, Mr. Salum and staff do a great job in the kitchen. He is a gracious host, too.

  7. Kenny “Lefty” Bowers at Kenny’s Wood burning Grill, Sharif at Rise, Valentino “Nino” at Chamberlains Fish Market along with Jorge.
    Miguel working the grill at Capital and Hector at Hibicus all ROCK.

  8. Chef/owner, Bartolino Cocuzza of Amici Signature in Carrollton.
    He’s a fabulous chef. His romantic restaurant is a real “sleeper”.
    And, without a doubt, the very best BYOB in the Dallas metroplex.

  9. Make no mistake about it, Dallas is replete with first rate chefs who labor in relative obscurity, especially outside our market. Often times in Dallas their only true recognition comes from the name of the restaurants they give a good reputation to. While there are others who haven’t been listed here, congratulations to those who have at least achieved this level of recognition. To those of you coming up, the recognition is nice, but in the end it is all about the food and your ability to consistently deliver plates which, were they oils on canvas would be recognized as art. Do it for love and be happy in your work, because if you do it for noteriety you’ll be miserable most of the time.

  10. Forgotten in the pantheon Marc Cassel and David McWilliams, somewhere in this discussion is Garreth Dickey, incredibly creative when in the right environment. Finally, Keep your eyes on Sous Chef Adam West at Dragonfly.

  11. Kelly Hightower owns this thread.

    His seafood dishes at Kavala are some of the best I have had anywhere. Too bad it’s in an old Dairy Queen with HVAC problems, because the food is extraordinary.

  12. Mike Marusak at the the Tasting Room at Lola. Most original dishes in Dallas and named a “Rising Star” by Dallas Food and Wine Festival.

  13. Rino Brigliadori at Bene Bene in North Dallas/Plano. His cooking is the closest I’ve found to the food we ate in Tuscany, and his sons do a great job running the front of the restaurant.

  14. It always amazes me how the one Chef that never gets mentioned in the same breath as Kent, Dean, and the others. I believe D Magazine named him there Chef of the Year.
    What does Chris Ward have to do?

  15. Chef Mike @ Trader Vic’s has really raised the level of their food in a short amount of time. Chef Brian @ The Grape is probably the most underrated chef in town.

  16. Mike Owens??? REALLY???? IT seems Trader Vics has not only hired a new chef but a new publicist as well.


  18. I vote for MIKE OWENS at TRADER VIC’S. He has done an amazing job in the short time he’s been there, and has a following from the Oceanaire and Mortons.

  19. Alex Yao and his son, Chris have an amazing restaurant. Wonderful food and a great wine list.

  20. Dena Pederson at Cafe Modern in the Fort Worth art museum is as good as they get.

    She ought to be the next showbiz chef from Cowtown.

  21. Trader Vics? Shouldn’t a requirement for the list be a “chef” from a scratch kitchen?

  22. Mike Owens from Morton’s? He was there for a blink of an eye, and I certainly wouldn’t say he has a “following” from there. I give him less than a year at Trader Vics before they can him too.