10 Questions: Nick Badovinus

He's loquacious, that much is certain. And he's known for thick, floppy hair.

But Badovinus can cook--something he's proven over and over again as he helped build Consilient Restaurants into a Dallas powerhouse...you know, Cuba Libre, Hibiscus, Fireside Pies. Those guys.

A year ago he broke from the corporate mold to plan his own space: Neighborhood Services, a small spot on Lovers Lane which opened in the late fall with modest aspirations and a guest list including the likes of T. Boone Pickens.

The secret to his success? Only his stylist knows...

1. So how do you keep all your hair?
That's a good question. Good genetics and a gay stylist. That combination is hard to beat.

2. Have you ever answered a question in five words or less?
Nah, I don't think I've ever done that before. Except on a questionnaire.

3. Some people have fawned over you, others seem turned off by the attention. How do you keep a balance between the two?
We don't have a publicist, we don't send out press releases--it's just me talking about the business, and I don't know how to balance that. We don't do anything to call attention to ourselves other than go to work every day. But, you know, everybody's got an opinion. Some people will root for you and some will root against you and you gotta be comfortable with that.

4. Can there be too much press?
I haven't tested positive for performance enhancing drugs--of course there can be. Fortunately we're not in that camp. Really, it depends. When people are talking, that's pretty much always good. When people make it about me--that part there's too much of.

5. So you're a real working chef these days? Do some cooking every day?
You bet. I've always been happiest and most productive with one hand on the stove. I've always cooked and tried to maintain an active role in some of the production. It's nice to be able to cook, to think 'that needs more salt' and add just a pinch more--instant gratification.

6. Now that you have just the one small restaurant to worry about, how is your life different?
My life is so much better today than at any point in time in my career. I'm doing what I want to do. When you're working for the bigger operations, earning your stripes, those are valuable lessons--and some come hard. But what's nice about this is I'm not pulled in different directions. And if I want to have my kid with me on a Saturday night, I have him here. There have been moments my stylist and I have to talk about, yes. There are those unexpected pockets of joy. If you're in this business for the money, you're an idiot.

7. When's the last time you watched TV?
Are we hi-def yet? I have no idea what's going on. I make some time to watch football with the little man, but that's it.

8. Is there a dish you can't stand?
The only one I can think of is menudo. But I should love it. I love every other bit of Mexican cuisine.

9. If Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson came into the restaurant at the same time--but separately--who would you serve first?
Oh, Jesus. That's hard. A lot would have to do with attire--that's always the tie-breaker, right? But boy do I want that problem.

10. Same question, but Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh...
That's another tough one. Are we talking the 'luded up Limbaugh? OK, because of his deep Texas roots, we'd get to Rove first.