10 Questions: Jeff Moschetti

Before he came to Dallas from San Francisco, Moschetti had never worked in a hotel restaurant.

But he handled duties in the Crescent Court, opened Hotel ZaZa's Dragonfly--and built it into an institution--and now keeps the Warwick Melrose's Landmark Restaurant running at five star level. His resume also includes a stint with Stephan Pyles.

So the guy knows his way around a kitchen. He also loves to hunt and cook wild game. But can he track down an animal? Well, not with his time in the 40...

1. Is there one dish you can't get right?
Me personally or my cooks? [Laughs]. If I can't get it right, I just move on--although some people might tell you differently. When I was coming up with my foie gras parfait, I struggled for awhile. I couldn't get the consistency I wanted. Thank God I finally got it right.

2. Can a chef really be creative these days, show people something new and different?
Everything's been done, you're right. I'm not one of those guys who goes way out there with chemicals and foam. I'm a traditional chef. I give it my own twist--it's not new, but in my mind...

3. Elmer Fudd was always trying to make rabbit stew. But nobody eats that stuff, do they?
I'm obsessed with hunting. I have wild boar, pheasant--I absolutely adore rabbit. But we struggle with wild game on the menu. Venison does pretty well. The servers push it--that may get people over the hump.

4. So you work in a hotel. Ever just go upstairs and crash after work?
Oh, brother--there are times when I think 'why go home?' But when I get to that point, just shoot me.

5. What's the difference between a hotel kitchen and other kitchens?
Everything in the hotel is attached to one kitchen. We can have a banquet for 100, a banquet for 200, room service, food going to the bar...And there is different china for all of that. Coordinating everything is mind bending at times.

6. Do you have to be insane to be a professional chef?

7. Why do it?
I ask myself that question all the time. And these you kids--'I wanna be a chef.' No you don't. But this is what I've been doing all my life. You fall into it. But it's brutal on the family, brutal on the body, brutal on the mind. We all have the chef's hunchback. And, yes, you have to be insane.

8. What's your time in the 40 yard dash?
Oh, about 10 minutes.

9. Hotel chefs deal with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which is your favorite meal to cook?
I'm particular to two things. Breakfast is fun. I guess it's breakfast-brunch I'm talking about, but there's so much you can do. But I love dinner. I'm an old chef.

10. What's your favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Samoa's. Those and the peanut butter ones. Samoa's are goooood.

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