Graham Dodds, Bolsa

The chef’s gig at Oak Cliff eatery Bolsa has him perfecting a dish he never thought he’d do: pizza. The flatbread variety is one of many upscale casual dishes available to eat in or take out at the 13-table space that once housed a gas station.

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Two must-have kitchen tools: A chef’s knife (I use the Japanese brand Suisin) and a gnocchi paddle.

On cooking at home: I cook chicken and rice for the kids, and my wife and I usually eat the same thing. Or we get takeout.

Guilty pleasure: French fries, hand-cut, handmade. I love the fries at Steak ’n Shake.

Favorite cookbook: Sally Clarke’s Book. She’s a London chef, and her cookbook has recipes broken down by season.

Favorite compliment: A diner once said that mine was the best risotto he’d ever had. We had porcini mushrooms growing out back of the restaurant, and that provided inspiration for the dish.

Worst cooking disaster: Milk-poached halibut for my mom’s birthday. It was terrible.

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Education: Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon; Le Cordon Bleu pastry class in London; cooking courses in Thailand.

My restaurant experience: Higgins Restaurant and Bar in Portland, Oregon; The Grape Restaurant; Star Canyon; Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa.

My favorite job: Shelburne Farms in Vermont. It was a self-sustaining, nonprofit farm with an inn, 2-acre garden, and a farmyard, where we raised our own lamb.

Produce you should buy in October: Matsutake mushrooms. I get mine from Tom Spicer.

Where I like to go to eat in Dallas on my night off: Bangkok City and Ali Baba Cafe.

Quick cleanup tips: White vinegar. It has no bleach smell but still disinfects.

Do you entertain at home? No, I just hang out and play guitar. I don’t even have a refrigerator right now. We’re using an ice chest to chill the kids’ milk. My oven is broken, so I use the toaster oven. I’ll take donations.

Just say no: No broccoli and no dried figs—I think they’re grainy and taste like sand.

One spice everyone needs in the kitchen: Smoked paprika (the sweet and hot varieties).

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Ingredient I use most: Honey. I have my own bees in Blooming Grove, Texas. I’ll even take bees out of people’s houses to add to my hives. The honey has to be raw, unfiltered, farm-style honey. I use it in fig chutneys, roast duck, and dressings.

My signature dish is: Lemon-honey cake, using my own honey, served with peaches, ginger simple syrup, and mascarpone cream.

What’s your dining pet peeve? Places with dress codes.


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