by Steven Doyle
Not long ago we ran into chef Jill Bates, the recently former pastry chef at Dean Fearings eponymous restaurant located in the beautiful Dallas Ritz-Carlton. We asked about her departure and she made it very clear the move was bitter-sweet, not too unlike the chocolate she uses with some of her marvelous pastries.
“We are still family, great friends. In fact we will see each other next week”, Bates told us during a phone conversation.
Fun examples of pastries at Fearings created by Bates
It makes sense considering the duo have been together for so many years, first at the Mansion on Turtle Creek where Fearings was executive chef and Bates was first hired.
“Moving back to Texas [from San Francisco] in 1998 I landed a job at the Mansion in the pastry department. They hired me as a “cook level one” in pastry which shocked me. I was pretty happy. I had the greatest boss ever, pastry chef James Wagner. He really helped develop me”.
There was a brief stint at Hotel ZaZa where she worked with Stephan Pyles (who was ZaZa’s opening consulting chef) and chef Jeff Moschetti, and made a trip to New York’s James Beard House with them.
Pies at Beverley’s
“I remember it being crazy. The refrigerator malfunctioned and the kitchen caught fire just before the guests arrived, and we had to salvage the food. It turned out very nice but I ended up doing a lot of straight shots of Tuaca afterwards.”
Following ZaZa she spent time at Tom Colicchio’s Craft at the W in Dallas before designing her kitchen at Fearings restaurant and clocking many more hours in management and as executive pastry chef.
Throughout these years she has regaled Dallas diners with plenty of peach fried pies, fleur de sel chocolate cookies and simply beautiful constructed plates large enough to feed a family of five.
“It is really nice after all these years of working so many hours to be able to leave work at five and just relax a bit”.
When we last saw Bates she was wowing the crowds at the new Beverley’s on Fitzhugh with even more sweet treats to wow and amaze. You will be able to catch her there for now while she consults with the menu, and in the very close future at other Dallas area restaurants where she will continue her consulting services making people young and old smile with her sweet delights.