Danyele McPherson, chef de cuisine at The Grape on Greenville, recently braved the tricky waters of reality TV by appearing on Bravo's Top Chef: Seattle alongside two other local chefs, John Tesar and Josh Valentine.
See Also: - Top Chef Seattle Recap
McPherson grew up in North Carolina and after a brief career in a cubicle, then a library, she traded in her library card for a set of kitchen knives. While attending the CIA, she came to Dallas to externship at Stephan Pyles' namesake restaurant and never left our fine city.
Here's our chat about life after reality TV and all that entails.
What did you ask for from Santa this year? Did he deliver? To get through my first New Year's Eve as chef de cuisine without having to 86 anything or have way too much left over. Santa delivered big time, my pars were right on the money. The bottle of Versace Crystal Noir was pretty nice too.
Got any resolutions? To stop leaving my dirty clothes all over the house. 2013 is the year of the hamper.
What do you look forward to this year, in culinary terms? I'm looking forward to even more restaurants using the great local products we have at our fingertips here in Texas. It seems like every time I pick up a menu I see more and more Texas farmers and ranchers listed.
What about hot dogs - over rated or overlooked? Depends on the dog. I had a few unimpressive hot dogs last year, but I think the hot dog trend in Dallas is awesome and here to stay. With chefs like Brian C. Luscher slinging dogs, what's not to look forward to?
Should we all be Tesaring? I don't wear glasses normally. Should I start wearing designer glasses anyway? My 14 year old self seems to think it's not good for your complexion... something about the T-Zone, but I also wore a Starter jacket with shorts then too, so maybe I shouldn't be commenting on fashion trends.
What was the best thing you ate last year? I inhaled so much food in 2012 it's hard to remember all the amazing meals and bites, but the first ones that come to mind are the salted caramel crème brulee and Tahitian milk (I can't remember the whole title) I had for dessert at Oak, the mussels with ham hock broth at Bolsa and the smoked brisket at Stampede 66.
If you opened a food truck, what would it be? What about a food truck that also checks out books? With your old library skills you could totally manage both, right? What food goes good with books? The real question here is Dewey decimal or library of congress?
As a viewer, how have your views on reality TV changed? I'm definitely not the one on the couch yelling, "You couldn't make a sandwich?!!!!" anymore. Now I see all the nuance and just how hard basic tasks can be with a bunch of cameras in your grill in an unfamiliar location with people you barely know.
What does Bravo stand for? Better with Ranch And V (roman numeral style so 5) Oreos
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If given the opportunity would you do it all over again? Of course. Even though it was difficult to take so much time away from my life, it gave me a greater appreciation of where I am both personally and professionally. I came back to Dallas and felt like I was home for the first time since moving here 5 years ago. It's been great to the have the support of such a great city.
It's a Sunday afternoon and perfect weather for a picnic. What do you pack? Some bubbles, nice crusty bread and some new cheese Ali Morgan at Scardello has turned me on to.
Do you still have to listen to Rush on a regular basis? Not at all! I did have to hear about the concert though. They were shooting for their live DVD when they were here in Dallas. Everyone keep a look out for Brian, I think he crowd surfed about 15 minutes in.
Any new restaurants or bars your excited about? Or old ones? I still haven't made it to Driftwood, but can't wait to check it out. I have reservations at Lucia for my birthday this month so I'm already salivating. The Londoner just opened up across the street from The Grape and is quite the cozy spot for some after work beers. Nora and Jack's Southern Comfort on Lowest Greenville are both cooking up some great food in the neighborhood. I can't wait to go back to Stampede 66, the food is amazing and the restaurant itself is absolutely gorgeous. Most of all I want to continue to support my little corner of the world over here in East Dallas. Whether I'm eating California clubs with lettuce instead of sprouts at Corner Market or drinking beers at Billiard Bar it's nice to live and work in such a great part of Dallas.