For a chef now dedicated to "upscaled" Southern cooking, Dodd trained in some unusual settings.
Before opening the acclaimed Screen Door in One Arts Plaza, he learned the gumbo trade at Brennan's in Houston, worked alongside Southwestern pioneer Stephan Pyles, played with all the toys money--and Voltaire--could buy, and so on. His resume includes time at Hotel ZaZa and running his own catering company.
This is one hard-working chef, who would love to make you eat hogshead cheese...
1. If you changed the word "polenta" to "grits," would sales increase?
Here in Dallas, probably. We're a southern city. Elsewhere, definitely not. But it's the same thing.
2. Why isn't there more respect for southern cooking?
Because classically, it's peasant food, made with scraps and humble ingredients. Typically it doesn't have foie gras and truffles--although we have those here. Southern cooking is often based on one pot meals.
3. Catfish--farm raised or line caught?
Nowadays, farm raised. But if you'd asked me that 15 years ago, I'd say line caught. The gulf, the rivers, the lakes--they're just too polluted these days.
4. Would it be too much to ask you to put up a screen door at your restaurant?
You know, we tried. We wanted to, but the building wouldn't let us.
5. One dish everyone should try is...?
Hogshead cheese. I'm showing my roots now, but people should try it. It's good for them. Cause arteries to clog, but it's good.
6. Being a southerner, which do you prefer: New England or Manhattan clam chowder?
Tomato, to-mah-to. How about catfish stew?
7. Who will win the Super Bowl?
Can I say 'Cowboys' and not sound like a mad man? Hopefully the Cardinals. I don't want the Steelers to have more rings than us. I've never been a Cardinals fan, but I hate Pittsburgh.
8. Was there a TV show you really hated growing up?
I can't remember. I'm sure I did, but I blocked it out.
9. Which TV characters would you like to hang out with?
Martin Lawrence, because I love to laugh. And any of the beautiful women. Doesn't matter which.
10. Could Paula Deen whip Rachel Ray's ass?
Shoot yeah. Anybody's grandmother can beat up anyone. Wouldn't be close. I won't even take on someone's grandmother.