Nick Badovinus, Cuba Libre, Fireside Pies, Hibiscus

Nick Badovinus got his start in some of the toniest kitchens in town, but his love affair with cooking started in college with a girl.

Nick Badovinus


Photo courtesy of Consilient Restaurants

This bacon-cheeseburger-Miller-High-Life-loving chef got his start inside some of the toniest kitchens in town, including the Mansion on Turtle Creek. It all started in college with a girl…

Ingredient I use most often:
Hawaiian Red Sea Salt. It started on our fries at Hibiscus and found its way into almost everything I eat. The balance of salinity, mineral, and earth is killer on anything.

Must-have spices:
High-quality cracked black pepper and dried herbes de Provence.

Best secret preparation tip:
More butter, dude.


Photography from Newscom

Favorite cookbook:
Anything by Michael Chiarello.

I got into chef’dom because of:
My love of food, friends, family, and especially being the life of the party.

I first realized I wanted to be a chef:
In my junior year in college…the first time I cooked for a girl. (And yes, it worked.) I made grilled artichoke salad with orange and garlic dressing, and grilled Hawaiian swordfish with roasted mango salsa. My technique was flawless, and the food was great, too. Let’s leave it at that.

Two kitchen tools everyone should have:
Dishwasher and sous chef, in that order.

Comfort food: Big, fat bacon cheeseburger and an icy cold Miller High Life.

Food photo from Jupiter Images

Cooking on your nights off?
No! (Well, only for my son.) Nights off are for dates, research and development, and, if there’s time, sleep.

Favorite Dallas restaurants:
Tei Tei Robata Bar and Coquitas. At Tei Tei, I get lobster, sea bass, popcorn crab, kobe on the rock, and baby yellowtail sashimi because in my opinion that is the best combination of surf, turf, texture, and flavor. At Coquitas, my standing Saturday night order is pasole, guacamole, chili relleño with queso and green sauce, guiso de puerco gordito, and always with corn tortillas, because I just don’t like making hard choices.

What area cooks I’m watching:
Chris Ward for technique, Sharon Hage for sourcing, and Teiichi Sakurai for passion.

Best compliment to the chef:
Every time guests smile when they pay their bill.


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