|photography by Elizabeth Lavin|
What got me started cooking:
I had a hotrod that I wanted to fix up, so I got a part-time job in high school washing dishes, which turned into prep work, then a job as a line cook. After five years, I realized that I had fallen in love and wanted to go to culinary school.
Where I eat in Dallas on my night off:
Coal Vines, Fireside Pies (the Triple ‘Roni pizza), and Snuffers.
Produce you should be buying now:
Berries, stone fruits, asparagus, fava beans, fresh peas, strawberries, artichokes, rhubarb, mushrooms, micro greens, herbs, and potato varieties.
My guilty pleasure:
Chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, chocolate anything.
My favorite cookbook:
Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. It’s great for creativity and food matches when you need some inspiration for specials.
What I cook on my off-nights:
Pizzas—homemade dough, truffled cheese, wild mushrooms, balsamic reduction, roasted garlic, and a little mild Italian sausage.
Best secret preparation tip:
When sautéing fish, sear it in a heavy nonstick pan without oil. When it’s hot enough, place the fish in it. Let it sit and don’t shake it. A nice crust and texture will form.
One thing every kitchen needs:
Fresh herbs. They give restaurant food
more depth and dimension than most home cooking.
Dan’s Signature Dish:
Trout cakes. They are a play on the crab cake scene, however the trout is rubbed with a brown sugar, sage, and garlic paste, and baked on cedar planks in the oven, giving it a woody characteristic.
Area chefs I’m watching:
Tre Wilcox at Abacus, Nick Badovinus at Fireside Pies, Sharon Hage at York Street, Tracy Miller at Local.
Easy cleanup tip:
Distilled wine vinegar is great to wipe down appliances and tabletops. Lemon and kosher salt scrub carbon buildup off pots.
Best compliment to the chef:
The guests who return time and again and try new items each time. It is like they are saying they trust that whatever I make is going to be great.