For the next few days we will be running short holiday vignettes that include some of our favorite food people, not all necessarily chefs. Yesterday we sent out a list of questions with a holiday bent, some silly, some more serious, and asked the group to pick just a few to answer. The answers so far have been fun, and we are happy to share these with you.
The next person to respond was chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House and his namesake Fish Market Grill, both bright spots in Addison. I have had the opportunity to interview Chamberlain more than a few times over the years and find him to be one of the most genuine and talented chefs in Dallas.
Chamberlain’s history in the industry goes back to the early Mansion days when he worked with a very young Dean Fearing, but he also has worked in famed restaurants in Los Angeles and Aspen before striking out on his own in Dallas. He is also one of the many talented chefs to graduate locally from the El Centro culinary program.
Here are a few questions he chose to answer.
Tell us about some of your favorite holiday memories.
One of our favorite holiday memories was when my son Stephen and I were ask to do an NBC Today show segment a few years back between Christmas and New Years. Stephen was 11 and a really good cook so I thought it would be fun to do a father vs son chef challenge.
As we were getting ready to go live in the studio, Stephen looks up and says, “Dad, I’m a little nervous, I think my whole class is watching.” Of course I was very nervous and thought to myself, “Let’s see, his whole class plus 8 million people.” Anyway, he and Hoda cooked seared Ahi Tuna and Meredith and I cooked Kobe beef pot stickers. Although it was declared a tie, I think he out did me. In the end, the best part was the four of us, Lisa, Tori, Stephen and I, sharing a great holiday week together in NYC.
He had another fun memory to share with us.
We moved to Aspen, Colorado, in the fall of 1989. Me as executive chef of the new Little Nell Hotel, Lisa as my newlywed stay at home wife. One of the hotel’s owners, Marvin Davis, also owned 20th Century Fox. He arrived with a whole host of celebrities including Sidney Poitier, Billy Idol, Gregory Peck, Sean Connery, Burt Bacharach, Silvester Stallone.
Mr. Davis and I sat down for breakfast one morning to review the menu I had prepared for their star studded holiday party. As I read thru the menu, blue prawns from Hawaii, foie gras, truffles, he sat and shook his head. He said take out your pen and write this menu down. I remember shrinking in my chair as I wrote down what he wanted. Turkey and dressing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, mashed potatoes and gravy.
I went to my chefs office and wanted to cry. The night of the party, Lisa was hired for the incredible job of celebrity check in. She was surrounded by stars, paparazzi and security guards. I served sweet potatoes out of a chafing dish. It was a humbling night for a young chef to the stars.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
A giant yellow Tonka dump truck.
Your favorite holiday song?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.