The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the restaurant industry. Many restaurants in Dallas ended up not being able to reopen in the post-vax era, including Klyde Warren's darling, Savor. Fortunately, executive chef Luke Rogers has been able to bounce back and remain booked and busy.
This fall, Rogers will open Cathedral Italian Bistro in Plano, where he will work as the restaurant’s executive chef.
“We're going to have a steakhouse vibe, mixed with Italian food, wagyu steaks and handmade pastas,” Rogers says. He said he will utilize “the highest quality flour” from Texas, Colorado and Arizona.
Rogers learned about the importance of using high-quality flour from Colorado-based chef Kelly Whitaker, founder of Dry Storage Co. He was immediately intrigued and chose to partner with the company for Cathedral.
“Just like milk, flour has an expiration date,” Rogers says. “And so what we're looking for now is for the flour to have that flavor that it should have, and then also not hurt your stomach. There are people who have celiac, but if you're just like, ‘Ah, when I eat bread, it hurts,’ it's because of the flour. There are so many chemicals in it. So I'm getting all my flour for my pastas, my desserts, my breads, the pizza, everything is going to have this fresh, living flour.”
When Savor closed last August, Rogers and the restaurant’s regulars were disappointed. Fortunately, the opportunities for Rogers have not run short over the past year. Last September, he won Dallas Observer’s Iron Fork Competition. He also participated in the Steamboat Food & Wine Festival.
Most recently, Rogers was invited to the Kentucky Derby as a celebrity guest chef.
“I feel like there's a great calling on my life,” Rogers says. “God's been blessing me like crazy. I've had so many great opportunities after Savor closed.”
Although Rogers cherishes the time he had at Savor, he is choosing to look forward. With Cathedral, he hopes to create a restaurant of elegant proportions, where no guest feels out of place.
He also hopes to shift the industry in terms of pay structure and staff retention, amid the current restaurant industry staff shortage.
“Now is the time to correct long-entrenched inequalities in the culinary world,” Rogers says, “so for us at Cathedral, we will be paying all of our staff better than any other restaurants I’ve ever seen before, anywhere. And more importantly, I’ve always treated my team with respect, and that will be continued at Cathedral.”
While Savor offered a large range of food, Cathedral aims to focus on steak and Italian concepts. Some menu offerings will include a tuna tartare tower, consisting of tuna, white wasabi aioli, avocado, radish, mango, crispy wontons and micro herbs. Other plates include the Rosewood wagyu New York strip, with a cabernet mushroom demi-glace and garnished with micro herbs atop a bed of artisan potato gnocchi.
“With Savor’s food, we were serving American food,” Rogers says, “but it was hard to get a direction sometimes because American food is so broad. So what I wanted to do was pick a style of food that I love. I love Italian food. I love steaks as well, and I love quality. There's all kinds of things that I'm gonna do that aren't just like any normal Italian restaurant.”
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