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Chef Ryan Barnett’s Second Pop-Up Dinner Focuses on Air

The young chef Ryan Barnett (photo by Carol Shih)

I didn’t have time to post this on Friday, so allow me to excite your Monday lunchtime with these mouth-watering plates prepared by chef Ryan Barnett on Thursday evening at his Pop-Up Dinner at My Private Chef in Deep Ellum. This 27-year-old chef served a four-course French dinner to a small, intimate gathering of 12 people where I was invited as a guest. Barnett came from the kitchens of Neighborhood ServicesBistro 31, and Ormsby Catering before he decided to fly the rest of his journey solo. He’s hoping in several months or so, he’ll have a place where there’s a set menu he can cook. For now, this chef is hosting four pop-up dinners, each with a different theme. On Thursday night, Barnett focused his theme on air, using duck and quail as several key ingredients in three of his dishes. As our dinner party reached the second course of Texas pea cassoulet with tender duck confit and soft lima beans, all the dinner guests held their bowls closely to their chest and couldn’t stop their spoons from moving. The woman to my left aptly described the dish as a warm “bowl of hugs,” which it most certainly was.

Jump for the four courses.

First course: bordeaux picnic plate with watercress, carrots, and pâté (photos by Carol Shih)
Second course: Texas pea cassoulet with duck confit, lima beans, Texas cream peas, caramelized Navarro shallots
Third course: slow-roasted Lockhart quail stuffed with oyster and shiitake mushrooms
Dessert: toasted pecan creme brûlée

The third of Barnett’s pop-up dinners will focus on land animals (he’s considering kangaroo), and then the fourth is still up in the air. It might be completely vegetarian. This means all you vegetable people should get your forks ready.