Whether or not you appreciate the come-and-go nature of restaurateur Casie Caldwell's Kitchen LTO concept, you have to admit that it's interesting. The idea of a constantly rotating slate of chefs has promise, especially in attracting new talent to Dallas' culinary scene. Some of the restaurant's components may get a little lost in translation during the furious shuffle from one chef to another, but there's no disputing that the concept has merit.
Which is why current LTO chef Blythe Beck's campaign to stick around at the restaurant past her original four-month tenure really doesn't make a whole lot of damn sense. Beck, whose butter-drenched southern comfort food is certainly popular in Dallas, launched a campaign on Facebook this week, urging users to "like" her Facebook page to show support. If the page reaches 1,000 likes by December 31, Eater Dallas reports that the chef will be able to keep her job for another four months.
There is also no doubt that some of Kitchen LTO's concepts have been more successful than others. Many diners were underwhemed with the cuisine of Beck's predecessor, Brooke Egger, but stints from Eric Shelton and Norman Grimm were widely considered to be pretty solid. Sticking with Beck's crowd-pleasing food is likely a wise financial choice for the restaurant, but it doesn't seem to be in keeping with the restaurant's niche as a "permanent pop-up."
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If keeping fresh is Kitchen LTO's goal, keeping a chef past her original tenure doesn't seem like the best way to accomplish it. I like a chicken-fried ribeye as much as the next person, but it isn't really something that is representative of the innovative food that the restaurant is intended to inspire. If Kitchen LTO wants to keep growing and evolving, though, they might consider focusing on their original mission of giving up-and-coming chefs that wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to open a restaurant a chance to shine.
And it's not as if Blythe Beck would really have trouble succeeding in Dallas without Kitchen LTO. Beck has already run a successful restaurant in the now-defunct Central 214, and clearly has the fanbase to at least begin approaching the idea of opening her own spot. Even if that isn't the case, there are surely several restaurants in Dallas that would love to have Beck at the helm.
As of last night, the #KeepBlythe Facebook page is already well on the way to meeting its goal of 1,000 Facebook fans by the end of the year. According to a post on December 14, the page accumulated 400 likes in just under a week. With less than two weeks to go, Beck will probably hit her goal. The page also features a photo of Trinity Groves' owner Phil Romano seemingly endorsing the #KeepBlythe campaign, but Romano has offered no public comment as of yet.
If you enjoy Chef Blythe Beck's food, you should probably head on over to that Facebook page and click the Like button. But if you're more interested in keeping Kitchen LTO honest about its original concept, you might consider supporting a different chef for the restaurant's next iteration.