He and his wife, Gina, have raked in much deserved stars and awards and verbal fanfare since they opened Bijoux.
The Dallas native began his career in California, however. Gottlich headed west after graduating from Johnson and Wales to work in a French restaurant. From there, it was off to New York, then back to the left coast. Finally, in 2003, he returned to Dallas to run the kitchen at Lola--also a pretty good place.
He did a stint with Alberto Lombardi at Toulouse and Taverna before opening Bijoux a couple years ago. Since then, Gottlich and his wife added 2nd Floor to their names. So why did it take him 31 years to come up with the concept...?
1. How many restaurants is too many? It's too many when you're stretched too thin and staffing and the direction of the restaurant gets lost. That's the best answer I can give, because it's not about specific numbers.
2. Does it take long to find the right concept? For us, these were things we wanted to do for a long time. Once we found the location and figured out the design, the concept was already there. It took--how old was I? 31? It took 31 years.
3. Have you dealt with a lot of different cuisines? I've done Austrian when I started. That place then switched chefs--the next one was from Louisiana. In California I did California-French. In New York, French. At Lola it was New American with some French touches. You could say with Alberto Lombardi I spent a little time in Italian.
4. What is it about French cooking? The intimacy and romance with food, the concentration on technique and the thought process. It looks simple on the plate, but there's a process. It appears magically and is good, but it didn't just happen. A lot of thought and good technique went into it. Italian does the same, but in a different way.
5. Does it take awhile to learn all those sauces? I'm still trying to learn. You're never done and you always want to learn more.
6. Now, if the Germans had won World War Two, would that have changed French cooking? I don't know. They make movies about that, don't they? I'm just glad it worked out the right way.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism
7. Is there a chef you'd love to work with? Oh, there's a lot.
8. Ever just run to a convenience store for lunch or dinner? I have a two and a half year old, two restaurants and a wife who is due in two weeks. Everyone eats ramen now and then. I just wish In-n-Out burgers were here.
9. Everyone says that. Where do you go for burgers in Dallas? Well, 2nd Floor has a good blue burger, but I can't say my own restaurant. The place I go most is Five Guys, which is good if you tell them how to make it right. Also Goff's--the number six and the number nine.
10. Is there a sitcom character you'd like to hang out with? George Costanza. But if it were for a longer time, I'd have to think about it.