Matt McCallister of FT33 Wins Food & Wine’s The People’s Best New Chef Award in the Southwest

Matt McCallister (photo by Kevin Marple)
Matt McCallister (photo by Kevin Marple)

A biiiiig congratulations to the hard-working Matt McCallister and his team of cheerleaders, led by captain/wife Iris McCallister! Today Food & Wine announced that Matt won the most votes in the Southwest category, even beating out fellow Dallas chef, Omar Flores of Driftwood, who was also nominated.

Anyways, this is huge for McCallister, who opened his first restaurant, FT33, late last year. Nancy was pretty impressed with it. But voting season isn’t over yet. There is no rest for the weary. No, Iris McCallister, you are not done promoting your husband. He’s still in the running for the “Best Chef” in 2013′s Best of Big D. Voting started yesterday, and if all you McCallister fans want Matt to win the biggest prize of all – well, vote daily until March 31. He’s up against some tough competition.

From the People’s Best Chef page:

Matt McCallister

RESTAURANT FT33 (Read a review)

LOCATION Dallas, TX

WHY HE’S AMAZING Because he’s attracting crowds to his first solo venture with his modern locavore dishes.

CULINARY SCHOOL Self-taught

BACKGROUND Stephan Pyles (Dallas)

QUINTESSENTIAL DISH Smoked potatoes with maitake mushrooms and chile-spiked Kewpie mayonnaise

FIRST JOB “I started out cooking at a family-run restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, called Guido’s when I was 15, but I never really took it seriously. [My parents were] like, ‘You need to go get a job.’ So I was like, ‘OK, I’ll go get a job.’”

ON WORKING AT STEPHAN PYLES “I was 25 when I started at Stephan Pyles as a pantry cook. I didn’t have formal training and always felt behind, so I stayed up late nights reading, studying and trying new recipes to try to catch up.”

FT33’S DESIGN “Barnyard industrial.” A lot of the wood inside the restaurant came from a 19th century stable at Sterling Lamb at Hodges Ranch, in West Texas, where McCallister also gets his lamb.

FAVORITE ODDBALL INGREDIENTS Shiro kikurage, a white fungus that grows on trees. He rehydrates the dried fungus and infuses it with black truffle when making a “really rich lamb broth.”