With school back in session, many kids will tell exciting stories about "what they did this summer." And while Underground dinner chef David (DAT) Temple might not look like a third grader with his fuzzy beard, he's as giddy as one and can't wait to tell everyone about his summer culinary road trip.
"We went to Houston, New Orleans, then Crested Butte in Colorado," Temple told me from his car on Wednesday. "Next was San Francisco, then wine country, and the fartherst point north was Oregon. Now we're leaving Sacramento. I think we put about 5,000 miles on the car so far."
During that time he hosted seven different underground dinners, including two in San Francisco and one in Portland. He also toured a few kitchens and dined in some spectacular spots, like Redd and The French Laundry in Yountville. Right now, Thursday afternoon, he and his traveling comrade and local barkeep, Moses Guirdy, are on a sprint home somewhere between Dallas and Albuquerque.
The trip has had a major influence on his approach to food and cooking.
"There are just such a broad spectrum of ways chefs do things in other cities," said Temple. "A lot of stuff is similar in terms of French basics. But, they pair a lot of vegetarian dishes in ways the just shock me; a cool, simplistic approach to great produce."
Temple has already lined up two dinners based on the trip -- "The Story of Adventure Through a Six Course Dinner." Unfortunately, the Friday dinner already sold out, but there are seats still available for the Tuesday dinner on September 11 (see details at end of article).