Eugene Jabbour, owner of the Competitive Cameras retail store in Dallas, is passionate about cooking. An aficionado of great local restaurants—and friends with some of the area’s top chefs, who also are his customers—Jabbour found himself asking, “I wonder if I can make my own recipes at home?”
So, about 10 years ago, he set out to teach himself to cook. He read cookbooks (Gordon Ramsay’s among them), watched TV’s Food Network, and garnered hints from chef-pals like Richard Chamberlain, Kent Rathbun, and David Holbein.
After gaining a measure of proficiency and confidence, Jabbour and his wife, Melanie, who cooks with him, began outfitting the family kitchen with “every utensil [and cooking appliance] known to man.” Today it sports the likes of two fancy Miele ovens, a Jenn-Air gas range, several deep fryers, a pasta maker, an ice-cream maker, a dough mixer, three food processors, and “every kind of knife.” Jabbour also has a DCS gas grill and a Big Green Egg, for smoking everything from prime rib to brisket.
But Jabbour’s favorite things to cook are desserts—eclairs, red velvet cakes, pumpkin pies—and “anything with lamb.” Why lamb? “It’s just something fun to cook,” he says. “You can go to a lot of places around here and get steak. Lamb pairs up nicely with good wine, too.” His preference on such occasions: a bottle of Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon.
Besides cooking for family gatherings, Jabbour, 35, often hosts dinner parties for clients and vendors of Competitive Cameras, the $13 million (annual sales) store that was founded in 1982 by Eugene’s parents, Mary and Ramsey Jabbour. “It’s a fun way to spend time with family and friends,” Eugene says of cooking. “We really enjoy it—and we’re darn good at it. … Yesterday I taught myself to make pickles.”