Earlier this week we introduced you to chef David Anthony Temple (DAT) who will be opening up the Mason Bar at the end of January. Temple will not be cooking alone and has brought in an inspiring chef that has cooked with both Kent Rathbun and Richard Blais. His demeanor is cool handed, and his cooking is inspirational. Dallas is most fortunate to have Cable Smith who will open as chef de cuisine at Mason Bar.
Please meet Cable Smith.
Tell us a bit about your childhood and cooking.
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Everything is so rustic there. They have the Hatch Chiles, blue corn, it’s just a great city for food. I grew up on a farm and we raised our own animals from goats to pigs. We had our own gardens and ate fresh food every day, but I didn’t really appreciate that. Now that I am older I wish I could go back and eat all the fresh veggies straight from the garden.
How did you end up in culinary school?
I decided to go to school for engineering. I made it through my senior year at the University of Oklahoma and started working on the side. I couldn’t stand it, it’s not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I always wanted to cook so I quit and went to Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. I did my research and wanted to be classically French trained.
What was your first real culinary job?
My first job was with Kent Rathbun at Jasper’s in Austin and worked with Robert Grady. I love Kent, he has a laid back style in the kitchen and does a lot with proteins. Later I went to Atlanta to work with Richard Blais and focus on molecular gastronomy. I was chef de tournant, and helped open HD-1 which has helped in opening Mason Bar. There are so many details when opening, you can’t imagine.
Tell us about some of your favorite techniques.
I like the idea of taking a recipe and making it better with molecular. I know you shouldn’t use it all the time; there’s a time and place for molecular. But something like a sous vide technique which you cook and hold to a perfect temperature every time is just fantastic. The brunch application is great, you cook an egg at 144.4 degree and when you crack it it is already poached. It’s perfect.
My favorite way to cook food is to braise, I love braising. I love the smell of it and wish I could make candles of braised meat. I love how it enhances flavor and color, not only meats but vegetables.
How did you end up in Dallas?
I got a call from David [Anthony Temple]. In the past I had helped cook some for his underground dinners. David has these crazy off-the-wall ideas and has a passion for it all. I am an executor and that’s why I have done well at my job. I execute and get it out. I am super detail oriented. So when he called and said he was opening this place and needed a chef de cuisine, I said that would be awesome.
How much of the Mason Bar menu is yours?
Not a ton, but I am creating the dishes David is giving me. I will be in charge of the entire brunch menu since that is really my thing. We will open doing brunch but we won’t have a brunch menu from the start. I will also be creating some daily blackboard specials to help with food costs since I am a stickler about that.
Tell us about those blackboard specials.
For the blackboard menu I want to have a little fun. I had this menu I did for chef Blais when I first went to Atlanta where I did a lot of play on dishes. Like I did a pork belly scallop where I confit a pork belly for 9 hours and cut out the fat,. When you sear the fat it caramelizes and looks just like a scallop. That with some peaches and a sauce is really nice. I want to braise pork cheeks. Also stay with local ingredients, the seasonal things. I am all about that.
What are some of your favorite brunch items?
For brunch I like to do play on chicken and waffle sliders with a maple aioli and a confit pork belly. It’s good, savory and sweet. I like to do a version of migas with a jalapeno pesto and a chipotle crème fraiche. I love cooking brunch. I like hashes with pulled pork, brisket. It’s a good way to utilize product and make people happy. And of course the perfect egg.