Each week we track down a chef for a few burning questions. This week, Omar Flores at Driftwood shares some cookbook advice, spills on a few crazy requests and has a suggestion for a damn good margarita.
What are a few of your favorite cookbooks? I love anything by Thomas Keller. Recently I've been reading Modernist Cuisine, which is just mind blowing considering the time, effort and money that went into producing that book.
See Also, Burning Questions: Tim Byres of Smoke Marc Cassel of Twenty Feet Seafood Joint Burn anything recently? I burn myself on a regular basis. A few years back I was working a banquet for like 40 people. I was in charge of the meat, which happened to be four whole prime tenderloins. Long story short, by the time I pulled them out, no sauce could save those puppies. Needless to say, it was a bad night.
What's craziest request you've ever received from a diner? I get crazy requests all the time, from full page paragraphs on what they can and can't eat, to people who have a phobia of any of their food touching other food on a their plate. I did have a guy request I make his mother fettuccine Alfredo a few years back, everything on the menu was "just too fancy." I was happy to oblige.
Have you ever worked on something for a long time and it always turned out awful and you just had to give up? Since we opened Driftwood I've not only been executive chef, but also the pseudo pastry chef. It's been a humbling experience; I'm not a recipe follower. I've definitely fucked up my fair share of desserts over the past year. To be honest, they have gone from decent to pretty good over the past year. I've gotten close to giving up on a few items but I usually just phone a friend instead.
What are a few of your greatest food shames? I'm not really a big fastfood eater. In-N-Out or Whataburger if I want something cheap and easy. No shame there, those places are just fuckin' good!
Any hole-in-the-wall places that are amazing and you want to tell the world about? Margaritas off Fitzhugh. The place is kind of dump, but they serve up the most authentic Mexican food in Dallas. Reminds me of back home in El Paso. They also make a damn good margarita! Get the barbacoa tacos with corn or flour tortillas made-to-order.