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Savor the Flavor with Jim White, “The Wining and Dining Guy” July 6, 2010

Posted by jwdineline in Home, Savor The Flavor with Jim White.
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Follow the bouncing ball (or musical chef chairs)

Whew!  Whadda weekend!  There were fireworks galore–both inside and outside. Especially in Dallas restaurant kitchens.   While you were off having a grand Fourth of July celebration (I certainly hope so), here’s what was happening with the fates and fortunes of some of our favorite culinary types (chefs).

In the interest of time, let’s see if I can condense all this for you:  Dali is gone.  Aurora soon will be.  Paul and Avner are tired.  Dallas Chop House is sans executive chef.  Kenny is tired of John.  New chefs for The Green Room and Villa-O; Joel and Kenny have new gigs (yea!).  Whoa! This is too condensed. Even for the attention-span challenged (and you know who you are).  Here’s what we know today:

There is good news, in the wake of the sad news over the weekend that Paul Pinnell is closing Dali in One Arts Plaza.  Dali executive chef Joel Harloff is going to The Green Room as executive chef!  This is doubly good news, because the CIA trained chef, who has worked in some of the top kitchens in Dallas (Melrose Landmark, Nana, Mi Piaci), will help speed up the renaissance of the cool Deep Ellum restaurant.   The restaurant is located at 2715 Elm Street, Dallas, Texas 75226. For more information, please call 214.744.ROOM.

Now, as for Dali proprietor Paul Pinnell.  The press release sent out to announce the closing of Dali was a very positive spin, but short on specifics.  He noted that after taking a break he would return “to work in Dallas’ vibrant restaurant scene with plans of future innovation.”  According to Nancy Nichols on her D Magazine blog, she spoke with David McMillan (from Screen Door across the Plaza) who says Dali is closing “temporarily”.  We’ll keep you posted on this one.

As we continue making lemonade and chicken salad out of the restaurant news.  Word came just before the holiday that Dallas Chop House chef Kenny Mills had left the restaurant.  It turns out there was friction in the kitchen with John Tesar (culinary director for Dallas Restaurant Group).  See details below.  Kenny is bouncing to Villa-O as of today to start his new job as Executive Chef!  His and John’s comments on the situation (again courtesy of Nancy):

“I put in my notice two weeks ago,” says Mills. “They [DRG] fired my sous chef and put in one of Tesar’s guys. I came in on June 1 and there was a whole new crew in my kitchen.”

“Tesar wouldn’t let me run my kitchen. He told me I was an over-the-hill no talent cook. Life is just too short to work with people I don’t like.”

John Tesar commented, “This is just as big a shock to me as it is to you. I had no idea.”

We’ll be getting more news on future concepts from DRG and hearing about Kenny’s plans at Villa-O, but don’t expect too many more details on the breakup.  Sometimes best to just move on.

We reported last week that Avner Samuel has decided to close Aurora at the end of July.  The stress of the economy and the rigors of running a small, upscale restaurant have caused him to rethink his priorities.  Avner says he is emotionally and physically drained and needs time off to recharge.  Look for the lion of the kitchen to come roaring back with another concept after his respite. Again, we wish God speed to Chef Samuel and his wife Celeste who have poured their heart and soul into the fine dining concept.

We also have good news that Chef Jeff Moschetti (formerly with the Warwick Melrose Landmark, Stephan Pyles, and Beau Nash at the Crescent Court) is the executive chef of a new restaurant opening in Frisco called One2One.  It’s at Legacy and Highway 121, so geographic inspiration is at work here for the name.  Check out their website for more information.  1339 Legacy Drive, Frisco; 214-618-2221.

Stay tuned!

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