This week for Sunday Brunch, Chef Josh Black joins us from CampO Modern Country Bistro where we talk about the importance of ingredients, nature and Cash, Johnny Cash to be exact.
Born in Midland Texas, Chef Black has spent most of time bouncing back and forth from Arizona and Texas. He first discovered his passion for cooking through his father, who was a manager at Luby’s Cafeteria for over 25 years. “He’d go in at 6 in the morning and be gone most of the day so I never got to see him often. On the weekends I’d go with him at 6 in the morning and I’d show up in a chefs tie and just work with all the crew in the back. It was a lot of fun working with the ingredients and making all of the dishes.”
Chef Black finds inspiration through nature when it comes to creating in the kitchen “The nature aspect of food really drives me. I love plates that look like nature, I love plates that are nature. I want to bring out the unexpected and unique ingredients that people don’t usually know about. “The most important thing to me is flavor – does it taste right? Does it taste good? Is it seasoned properly, is it the right sweetness, right acidity, right bitterness? It’s finding the perfect balance of it all. Also presentation. It’s beautiful art work that we do; we spend so much time making these things. Why just slop it on a plate? Why not make something beautiful and get an “OHMYGOD this is amazing!” reaction from the diners and to have them be even more blown away by the flavors.”
“Here, CampO is about new, fun and creative food. Things that you don’t typically see in Dallas, things you typically don’t eat. There are so many parts of the animals that are discarded, and so much is wasted. There are fun things that you can make out of the livers that taste amazing, or the kidneys, the heart, even the head. I mean why not use the whole animal? And that’s kind of our philosophy – we like to use everything, we don’t like to waste anything. We like to make everything in house. Very rarely we’ll ever bring anything made outside – like English muffins. They are really really hard to make! Really, they’re hard! But 95% of everything on our menu we make – anything we can make ourselves, we will do it.”
The vibe is fun and exciting at CampO – take time to notice the unique modern wood pieces, from the eclectic bar stools down to beautiful floors of weathered wood. The décor of this intimate space is as avant-garde and eye capturing as the culinary magic that spills out of the kitchen.
“One of my fondest food memories has to be the first time I had chicken liver mousse at my Grandfather’s house in El Paso, our neighbor raised chickens. He’d usually bring over eggs for us but this time he brought over some chicken liver and it just blew me away. It was awesome, I couldn’t believe it was liver. That was really the starting point of what I wanted to do now – there’s just so many things that you can do with food, the possibilities are endless.”
Chef Black keeps things fresh and new and always executes each dish with precision and perfect technique. To help him stay in the zone, he enjoys rocking out surprisingly to country — “In the kitchen you’ll probably find me rockin to some Johnny Cash. When I’m here alone, I love jamming to country like George Jones, Merle Haggard – you know the old-school stuff, none of that Rascal Flatts country.” What can I say, Chef Black likes to keep it real.
Some must try brunch items include Torta Rustica – a Spanish version of a quiche layered with Chervil egg, puff pastry, kale, mushrooms and onions (vegetarian friendly) and the modern Lox, a fun twist on the classic lox and the buttermilk biscuit with a fried eggs served alongside fresh preserves.
Be sure to join Chef Black for brunch at CampO every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-2:45pm.CampO Modern Country Bistro 1115 North Beckley, Dallas 214.946.1308