Stephan Pyles

12th Stephan Pyles Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner – Dallas

Time again for Stephan Pyles' Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine
Auction benefitting the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship Cook-off
Competition, now in its 12th year.


Always a good festive evening. This years scholarship winner was
austin's Renée Morgan, who not only banked a $15,000.00 scholarship
for her school, she also received a $500.00 stipend to travel with
Chef Pyles to a celebrity chef fundraising event and the opportunity
to present a the amuse at this evening's dinner – a lovely Bone Marrow
Brulée Tartlett with Cranberry and Red Onion Relish, as well as
Country Ham and Gouda Goat Fritters; and Tomato Martini Shooters with
Mozzarella & Basil Oil – paired with NV Nicolas Feuillatte Brut


^ Guests cocktail as the chef's prep.




^L: David Garrido – Garrido's, Austin:
Scallop with Bacon-Potato ball, red Jalapeno Crema and Pumpkin Seed
Chardonnay Jello
2010 Evening Land Vineyards Bourgogne Blanc, Burgundy

^R: Stephan Pyles & Joel Harrington – Stephan Pyles & Samar by Stephan
, Dallas:
Bay of Fundy Salmon Confit with Horseradish Panna Cotta, Honeycrisps
and Manchego Chicharron
2008 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon


^ Nick Badovinus – Neighborhood Services, Dallas:
Cider Roasted Texas Quail, Butternut Squash Grits, Luxardo-Walnut Compote
2008 Pedernales Cellars Family Reserve Red Wine, Texas


^L: Stephan Pyles.
^R: Joel Harrington. 


^ Jason Dady – The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, San Antonio:
Pan Seared Lamb Loin with Root Vegetable Spoonbread, Fennel, Wild
Mushroom and Smoked Huckleberry Bordelaise
2007 Fontanafredda Barolo “Serralunga”


^L: Rebecca Rather – Rather Sweet Cafe & Bakery, Fredericksburg
Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Garrison Brothers Bourbon, Bacon Caramel
Sauce and Caramel Ice Cream
2007 Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve, Alsace, France

^R: Some auction items of interest to me!

Taste of the Nation Dallas coming to Stephan Pyles



I ran over to Stephan Pyles‘ the other day to see what was up – and do the photo-op thing. Here is Crawford Brock, the owner of Stanley Korshak, presenting a $20,000 check to Stephan Pyles for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Dallas. The national organization raises funds for anti-childhood hunger campaigns at the local level through culinary events. This year’s Taste of the Nation Dallas event takes place this Sunday at Stephan Pyles. It’s nearly sold out now, but there may be a few tickets left. Check them out here.

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After the promotional festivities, Stephan decided to whip me up some grub.

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^ Licorice Root skewered Beef Tenderloin with Curried Sweet Potatoes, a Humita (Corn Tamale with Chorizo), Coffee-Cocoa Glaze. The Tenderloin is wrapped in Hoja Santa Leaves and cooked sous-vide before hitting the grill.


^ Quail – stuffed with Blue Corn and Dates, wrapped in Serrano Ham. With Date Fluid Gel, Paula’s Marscapone, Texas Honey Comb.

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^ L: The Quail; ^ R: Crispy Pork Confit Cake with seared Sea Scallop, Celery Root Purée, and Blood Orange Celery Leaf Salad.

Good Stuff!

11th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner, Dallas


Time again for Stephan Pyles’ Celebrity Chef Dinner benefitting the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship at The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. Always a great event.


It seems like this happens every year, but I was once again chatting up Pyles’ Private Dining Director Lisa Moore over a few glasses of Champagne – and missed taking pics of the hors d’ ourvres by this year’s scholarship recipient, Keith Hildebrandt… sorry dude!

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^ Pyles getting his tweet on; ^ Nobu-Dallas exec chef Matt Raso, and exec sushi chef Mitsuhiro Eguchi.

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^ The Nobu boys put together Hirame Dry Miso and Tuna Tataki with Cilantro Dressing.

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^ Ft. Worth’s Grace exec chef Blaine Staniford prepares Maine Diver Scallop with Sea Urchin, Celery Root and Beech Mushroom.

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^ Craft-Dallas exec chef Jeff Harris tending to his cavatelli as the frozen foie torchon awaits…

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^ The dish: Duck Cavatelli, Swiss Chard & Shaved Foie Gras.


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^ Chef Tim Byres (L) of Smoke plates his sensational Pork Jowl Bacon & Half Sour Cucumber Salad with Sweet Chile, Mustard & Molasses.

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Stephan Pyles exec chef Matt McCallister and the Portuguese Grilled Cap of Ribeye, Kale-Bacon Fried Cornmeal with Caramelized Pearl Onions and Fall Spiced Apple Chutney.


^ One of my favorite dining rooms.

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^ Persimmon Pudding, Brown Butter Chestnut, Membrillo and Citrus-Butternut Squash Spoom by Katherine Clapner, Dude Sweet Chocolate; ^ and a cool shot of Stephan with his former exec chef Tim Byres (L) and outgoing exec Matt McCallister (R).


^Stephan Pyles, Tim Byres, Katherine Clapner, Matt Raso, Jeff Harris, and Blaine Staniford – being auctioned off. The lot was to have them ALL cook at YOUR house – the winners got a steal on this one. There was a good turnout for the event and is was a great night.


Matt McCallister will be in the kitchen at Stephan Pyles for about another month – then new adventures await. We look forward to his next venture, and the next chapter at Stephan Pyles!

‘Fuego’ Heating Up at Stephan Pyles, Dallas.


^ Stephan Pyles and his Exec. Chef Matt McCallister at the four seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant “Fuego” at Stephan Pyles in Dallas.

The guys put this concept on the front burner after they returned from the Madrid Fusion conference in Spain earlier this year. The idea is reminiscent of José Andrés minibar at his Café Atlántico in D.C. You will hear the buzzterm “molecular gastronomy” associated with this concept – but there’s more to it than that. Perceived practitioners of this style of cooking including Ferran Adrià of elBulli and Grant Achatz of Alinea distance themselves from the term, with Adria even stating: “Well, for starters, [molecular gastronomy] doesn’t exist. That’s the biggest lie out there in terms of cooking. What is molecular cooking?”


^ Stephan Pyles Exec. Chef Matt McCallister and his book of tricks.

To be sure, there will be spherification, reverse spherification, agar agar, sodium alginate, methylcellulose, liquid nitrogen and all that, but more importantly – whimsy.

Matt says, “So ‘Fuego’ for me is a creative outlet for food I can’t pull off in a busy high cover count setting – it’s complex plating and long or difficult and precise prep.  I am calling it cuisine of the moment ’cause it can change whenever, I don’t want to be tied to a specific style.  We will use some avant garde techniques but not just that. I want to entertain our guests and give more of an experience than your normal dinner.  Dinner and a show…. “

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^ Salmorejo (Gazpacho encased in Cocoa Butter).

I’ve had the occasion to be a Guinea pig over the last few months, to the delight of my dinner guests. Here are some dishes we had fun with here and there – don’t look for them on the menu necessarily, but this gives a slight clue as to what we might see starting August 5th at Fuego.

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^Kampachi Tiradito (Spanish style) with Pil Pil and Crushed Tomato.

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^Uni with Potato and Gambas; ^Carrot, Mint and Tarragon Gel, White Beet, and Olive Oil Pudding.

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^ Sous vide Farm Egg with Migas, Truffle, Chervil and Asiago.

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^Beef Tartare.

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^Coconut Rice Crispy and Sticky Rice with Mango, Vanilla Raspberry Ice Cream, White Chocolate Foam and Black Olive; ^Study in Beets – Salad.

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^Foie Gras microplaned into liquid nitrogen, creating ‘Snow.”

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^Lobster Carpaccio with Foie Gras, Apple and Mexican Chocolate.

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^Matt ‘splaining a theory; ^Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Samphire.

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^Short Rib Pot au Feu “Southwestern” – Boracho Beans (w/ Estrella Damm), Short Rib, Foie Gras, and Quail Egg.

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^ The design and the dish (Matt’s pic): Sous vide Foie stuffed with a Fig, Maple, Sherry Vinegar and Citrus Glaze, toasted Brioche Shavings, toasted and shaved Pecans (powder) with Juniper Skins, Seaweed and good evoo emulsion, Malted Milk Crisps, Fig (Rocks, Fennel, Thyme, Rosemary, Bradford Pear Flowers, and last but not least, Maldon Sea Salt.

So there.

See you there.

Fuego: Two seatings (6:30 and 9:00) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. $125pp – wine pairings for an additional $75.

Stephan Pyles on Urbanspoon

Exec. Chef Matt McCallister is Rockin’ it OUT at Stephan Pyles, Dallas.



This Matt McCallister guy is a cool dude – and seriously bad-ass in the kitchen. Stephan Pyles and Matt McCallister (Exec. Chef of Pyles’ eponymous restaurant) attended the envy inducing Madrid Fusion summit this past January. As is often the case after returning from Spain, they were itching to shake things up. Here is a look at some of the new stuff on the Tapas Bar and Hot Apps menus:

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^All ten of the new Ceviches – (My guests couldn’t wait – shaky pics!) I no particular order: Aji Tuna with Jicama and Grilled Orange; Bronzini with Fennel and Vanilla; Laughing Bird Shrimp with Passion Fruit and Coconut; Lenguado with Smoked Corn and Sweet Potato; Sea Scallops with Creamy Garlic, Aji Amarillo and Cucumber;  Mixto with Spicy Tomato, Celery, and Tarragon; Ceviche de Hongos with Black Bean and Lemon; Merluza with Saffron pil-pil and Garlic Croutons; Salmon Veracruzano with Capers, Green Olives and Jalapeños; Lobster with Guayaba and Avocado.

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^The new Tiraditos: Hiramasa with Lime and Toasted Coconut; Halibut Cheeks with Spicy Orange and Ginger; Loch Duart Salmon with Dill Lemonette and Mustard-Coriander Oil. ^And the Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions and Balsamico Flatbread.

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^Matt is having some fun pickling anything he can get his hands on; ^An inspiration from this night: Hearts of Palm, Corn, and Black Garlic – wonderful.

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^A little Delarche for me, thank you. ^Matt ‘splaining the goods.

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^Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras Tacu Tacu with Brûléed Banana; ^Sea Scallop Migas with English Pea Emulsion, Spanish Chorizo and Parmesan “Snow.”

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^Pressed Pork Shoulder with Grilled Pineapple Empanada and Caramelized Texas 1015s. ^And my favorite gift of Spring, Shad Roe – here with Scamorza-Risotto Croquette, House Bacon and Sorrel. Happy.


^I love this room! I’m also all about this new menu – very nice work, guys. Matt and Stephan have some other stuff up their sleeves (tatted or not). Stay tuned for more culinary adventures at Stephan Pyles.

Stephan Pyles on Urbanspoon

Samar by Stephan Pyles, Dallas: The Menu in Pics

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I’ve been trying to write this post for over two months. Holidays and weekly major accolades for Samar by Stephan Pyles have conspired to steal my thunder. No matter. Here then, finally, is a look at many of Samar’s delicious small plates “inspired” by the cuisines of Spain, the Eastern Mediterranean and India. 


^Stephan Pyles (L) and Exec. Chef Vijay Sadhu (R).

From Spain:

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^L – Fabes con Almejas – Asturian Beans and Clam Stew w/ Chorizo Foam. ^R – Arroz Negro con Calamares Fritos – Black Rice w/ Fried Squid and Preserved Lemon Aioli.

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^ Patatas Y Chorizo con Huevo Organico – Potatoes and Chorizo w/ Fried Motley Farm Organic Egg and Hudson Valley Foie Gras. (Shown here before and after.)


^ The now famous Tres Vasos, the de-facto Samar signature dish. It is a stunner. Very complex in texture and execution – an exceptional offering. (L) Spiced Shrimp w/ Pumpkin Flan and Orange. (C) Foie Gras Brûlée w/ Pedro Ximenez Figs and Crispy Jamon Serrano. (R) Ruby Red Grapefruit w/ Feta Foam and Lemongrass-Ginger Gelée.

Stephan explains, “Tres Vasos was inspired by a visit to a down and dirty but forward thinking tapas bar in San Sebastion last summer called A Fuego Negro. They served a variety of crazy multi-layered vasos with such ingredients as mussels in basil jelly with apple crema and pork cracklings. My combinations are tame by comparison yet have been construed by some in the local media as “over-wrought” and a “jumble of weird tastes and textures”.” 

Well, I dig it – I’m trying to get him to make me that mussels/apple/cracklins version one of these days.

From the Eastern Mediterranean:

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^L – Haloumi bil Zahrat Laateen – Haloumi Stuffed Squash Blossoms w/ Green Olive-Pomegranate Salad. ^R – Kofte Addas Ahmar – Minted Crunchy Red Lentil Kofte w/ Rose Vinegar Pickled Pearl Onions.

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^ Caramelizing oranges for Salata Hundba maa Shumar – Endive-Orange Salad w/ Fennel Pecan Labne and Sumac.

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^L – Djaj Maklee bil Bahrat al Farisyieh – Persian Spiced Fried Chicken w/ Fenugreek Mashed Potatoes. ^R – Ajill Tagine maa Couscous – Veal Tagine w/ Medjool Dates and tri-color Almond Couscous.

From India:

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^ L – Lentils in Chapati Cones. ^ R – the gorgeous Tandorri Gobi ka Phool – Saffron and Cumin infused tri-colored Cauliflower w/ crunchy Amchur Salad.

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^ L – Murgh Makhani – Tandoori Chicken Butter Masala w/ Tomatoes and Fenugreek. ^ R – Meen Avail – South Indian Coconut Fish Curry w/ Jasmine Rice.

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^ Vijay Sadhu and Stephan Pyles in their vibrant, energetic, popular space.

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“Design-wise, I wanted to take advantage of the open spaces and views of the arts district while incorporating the exotic colors and textures of India and the Middle East. Most of the chandeliers and artifacts were purchased in the bazaar in Damascus,” notes Pyles.

Sweets from All Over:

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^ A selection of the killer desserts, including the Labine Pudding w/ Apricot Glaze and Candied Marcona Almonds; and the Turkish Coffee Pots de Crème.

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^ L – Saffron-Coconut Rice Pudding and Cardamom. ^ R – Chocolate Samosa w/ Candied Rose Petal Sauce.

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^ L – Caramelized Apple Empanada w/ Cinnamon Ice Cream. ^ R – Pistachio, Rose and Gum Mastic Ice Cream Cone (yumm).

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^ Stephan finishes the beautiful and decadent Crema Catalana w/ Candied Motley Farm Ground Cherries.


We’ve been back a few times, and there have been additions to the menu since these photos were taken… I’ll have to do an update – and post it this time!


^ The Hooka Patio during warmer days.

Saha wa’afiab!

Samar by Stephan Pyles on Urbanspoon

In the Kitchen: 10th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner

It’s nice when in the course of helping a friend in need, you get to run around the kitchen at Stephan Pyles.


I’ve been damn-near fooded out this past 10 days (and just wait for this week) and was not planning to attend Pyles’ 10th Celebrity Chef Dinner benefitting the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship at The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. But one call from a sick friend later – I was wandering over from The Winspear to check out the festivities.

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^Stars and Bubbles: Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Sparkling Wine. I like this stuff just fine.


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^ The chefs: Exec. Chef Matt McCallister – Stephan Pyles; Stephan Pyles; Coner Seargeant; Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach; Exec. Chef Vijay Sadhu – Samar by Stephan Pyles; Exec. Chef Tracy Miller – Local; and Exec. Chef Jason Dady – Chef/Owner The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, San Antonio (et alii). Pic at right: Ninth Annual Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship Cook-off winner, Thomas “Coner” Seargeant of the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. (Photo: Aimee Olson)


^ Vijay Sadhu’s South Indian Crab Soup with Garam Masala, Coconut Curry and Mustard Seeds – paired with Montinore Estate, “Borealis” White Blend, Willamette Valley 2008.

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^ Local’s Tracy Miller prepares Pan-seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Scratch Texas Toast with Vanilla Bean steeped Eden Creek Gala Apple, Currant Sauternes Compote. Paired with Planeta, “Cometa,” Fiano, Sicily 2006.


^ (L) Jason Dady, (C) Stephan Pyles Exec. Sous Chef Bradford Hodgkins (R) Managing Director George Majdalani.

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^ Jason Dady and his Sous Vide of Main Lobster Tail with Deconstructed “Chowder.” Paired with Mer Soleil, “Silver,” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands 2007.

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^ Preparing Pyles’ & Matt McCallister’s Juniper-Scented Venison with Vanilla Compressed Honeycrisp Apples, Celeriac Tart Tatin, Cranberry “Air,” Cranberry Fruit Roll-Up. Paired with Justin, “Savant,” Cabernet Blend, Paso Robles 2006.

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^ More action; and the Flourless Chocolate “Intense” Torte with Citron Joconde, featuring Valrhona Taïnori Pure Origin Grand Cru Dark Chocolate (Dominican Republic) by Executive Chef/Chocolatier/Owner Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach. aired with Jam Jar, Shiraz, Western Cape 2009.


I love this room, particularly in the fall and winter. This was a great way to miss a Cowboys game. I thought the chefs and wine guys rocked this one out… and I’ll be back to sample more of Matt’s food.

Sneak Peek: Samar by Stephan Pyles, Dallas

UPDATE Jan 2010: See my post Samar: The Menu in Pics for a recent look at the food!

Saturday evening we ran over to check out Samar, Stephan Pyles' new "international small plates" concept at 2100 Ross, featuring cuisine by executive chef Vijay Sadhu.


This "Grand Preview" event was a benefit for the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship of the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. It was WELL attended. We heard their were over 900 milling about the 70 seat restaurant space… and the patio… and into the lobby of the building. Wine was flowing and small bites were passed, hinting at what Chef Sadhu has in store. I was a fan of his from his stint at Bukhara Grille a couple years ago.


Bowls of well crafted and delicious spreads, dips, and condiments ringed the counter of the open kitchen. I will be perched here soon enough – Samar officially opens Oct. 17th (there is no official opening date at this time) , coinciding with the kick-off of the AT&T Performing Arts Center.



^ Stephan Pyles assists Vijay Sadhu with this intriguing dessert "shot," the Chai Bubble Tea - then has a sample.


The space is warm and full of color and texture – a pleasant setting to enjoy the mix of Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, Spanish, and South American small plates.



A welcome addition, and so close to the Arts District and my pals at One Arts Plaza. I'll be back with more on the food in future!


(Oh, and there's Hooka on the patio…)