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Ask a Chef: Kyle McClelland

Hilary Deutsch

June 24, 2015

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Dallas hot spot Proof + Pantry draws crowds with its eclectic cocktails and whimsical take on American cuisine, serving up inspired bites like bone marrow with onion marshmallows. Join us at the Beard House on Wednesday, July 22 as chef Kyle McClelland brings diners to the edge of our national culinary frontier through seasonal fare and innovative techniques. Read on to learn how this creative-minded chef began his career and why Chinese food is his guilty pleasure.

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What is your inspiration behind the menu for this Beard House event?

I designed this menu based on my years of cooking. There are pieces from all the restaurant and places I have worked at, and my menu is a reflection of these experiences.

What's a dish on your Beard House event menu that you're especially excited about or proud of, and why?

I'm really excited to prepare my oyster dish. Seafood is one of my favorite ingredients to work with. This dish reminds of my time at Caviar Russe, so there's a nostalgic aspect here for me.

What’s your guilty-pleasure food?

Chinese food, definitely. One of my favorite places in the world is New York City's Chinatown. The cuisine is simple and straightforward, and I really appreciate that particular aspect. Whenever I have it, it's a time for me to relax.

Tell us about the last great meal you ate.

The last great meal I had was at Cosme in New York City. I went with some colleagues and ordered the entire menu. The whole thing was awesome.

What was your first job in the industry? Who gave you your first big break?

My first job in the industry was as a prep cook at Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, New Hampshire. The irony was that I had just received an executive chef position at Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain, near Boston. Months later, David Daniels contacted me about working with him again. The catch was that I would have to take a step down in my position, but I accepted the job anyway. So I started at Toppers at the Wauwinet as a line cook. At the time, it was a hard decision, but it started me on my path towards working at Caviar Russe and thus advancing my career.