by Steven Doyle
Let me first begin with the fact I truly enjoy my work. I get to eat and drink and make merry most days, often with some of the most tremendous chefs that I respect. I get to hear stories, many that will never be repeated as dictated by an unwritten sacred trust. When chef Brian Luscher of The Grape called me and invited me to lunch with a few of the great chefs of Dallas I didn’t miss a beat and merely said, “hell yes.”
Allow me also to preface this by saying that I have been invited to chef summits in the past. One such event took place late at night extremely extemporaneously at the kitchen of the Fairmont Hotel. On that evening about a dozen chefs gathered in an odd spirit of culinary excitement and started calling out ingredients and grabbed a station to make their special dish for that evening. Luscher was there that night. Certainly Andre Natera was there to host, Matt McCallister, the pope of cuisine Ferdinand Metz who is a Certified Master Chef and past president of the Culinary Institute of America, Patrick Mitchell, Scotty Romano from Charlie Palmers and Mike Hiller (who was previously a chef before doing all the wonderful things he does now).
We all sat and enjoyed the spoils of the evening family-style. Everything was wine paired, and we all pitched in to keep servers after hours. To be called out in the middle of the night to join these chefs was huge for me and not anything I will soon forget.
Today was similar. I slipped in the back door, joined Luscher behind the bar and basically was a fly on his wall as I was regaled with rich stories, mostly about charcuterie from some truly incredible chefs.
At the little luncheon sat retired legendary chef Ewald Scholz (Ewald’s at The Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas), owner of Kuby’s, Karl Kuby, Milestone’s Andre Bedouret, J.D. Werle, Patrick Mitchell, Michael Scott from Northwood Country Club, Luscher and myself.
Before us at the bar of The Grape sat plates of various charcuterie brought in by the chefs. Charcuterie is one of my greatest weaknesses and Luscher knows this to be true. I have a feeling this is why I was invited.
Among the group Kuby seemed to hold court, going through each morsel to take a tiny nibble and immediately analyzing ingredients and curing methods. The discussions ran deep, some of the chefs making notes on tiny note pads.
Luscher presented his platters of various meats and shared with the group how each were made. The most luscious was his chicken liver pate with Armagnac soaked currents and his chicken and caramelized mushroom terrine. Both are on his menu most days.
As the afternoon drew to a close you could see the admiration Luscher holds for this group of fine chefs. I am right there with him. We all had a great day.