Chef Fearing takes “no borders” eclectic approach

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – Dean Fearing takes an eclectic approach with his American cuisine, but don’t call it fusion.

His namesake restaurant, which showcases his Southwestern roots, at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Dallas has garnered wide acclaim since it opened last August.

The 53-year-old is also a musician, who founded the country music band, The Barbwires, with fellow chef Robert Del Grande.

Fearing spoke to Reuters recently about his passion for cooking and music.

Q: How do you describe your cuisine?

A: “I call it ‘no borders’ cuisine. I think that’s the way people like to eat. Sashimi starter, then a chicken-fried lobster, barbecue filet over corned-whipped potatoes. If we do Texas-style cuisine, there isn’t a sushi twist to it. I don’t mix and match cultures, ethnic boundaries and all of that.”

Q: Who inspires your cooking right now?

A: “My sous-chefs. They are adding their own little say to the plates they are doing. In my younger days, it was the Wolfgang Pucks and Alice Waters of the world.”

Q: What was the origin of The Barbwires?

A: “Robert Del Grande and I have been playing together since we first met in 1983. We’re old frustrated musicians. When we were traveling together, we decided we would just bring out guitars and we would just play in our hotel rooms. We are call it the ‘Room Service’ tour.”

Q: Does your music reflect your cooking?

A; “When I think up a new dish or a new song, it fits in the same format. It’s what I love about life. It’s creating.”

Q: What do you cook for yourself when you have to eat alone?

A: “I could literally eat pasta everyday. That would be number one. I’m a tomato gravy kind of a guy; I love all the variations of tomato sauce. Number two would be curry. Number three would be anything on the grill”


Comache Buffalo Tenderloin with Maple and Black Pepper on Jalapeno Grits (Serves 4)

Comache Buffalo Tenderloin

1 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons fresh cracked black pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

4-6 ounce center-cut buffalo filets trimmed of all fat and silver skin

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Jalapeno Grits (Recipe to follow)

4 sprigs fresh cilantro

1. In a small bowl, combine maple, black pepper, garlic, shallot, sage, thyme and pepper flakes. Stir to combine and add filets. Let the buffalo filets marinate in the maple mixture for 6-8 hours. Remove the filets from the mixture and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, lay buffalo in skillet and brown for 4 minutes. Turn and brown for an additional 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness is reached.

Jalapeno Grits

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

4 oz onion, diced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

6 cups chicken stock

2 cup Anson Mills white grits

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 oz Tabasco sauce

1. In a large saucepan (grits will expand in volume during the cooking), bring to medium high heat add oil and onions, saut for 2 minutes or until translucent.

2. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and thyme. Add 6 cups of chicken stock, bring to a boil.

3. Sprinkle in the grits a handful at a time, stir constantly. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the grits about 25 minutes, until they are thickened and soft in texture. Stir the grits occasionally as they cook.

4. Add the smoked paprika, Tabasco, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)


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