Food News

Chef Nicole Van Camp: Texas Weather Can Make Bringing the Farm to the Table Hard

When Nicole Van Camp was 15 years old, she decided to become a vegetarian based on the grounds of animal cruelty. But she lived in highly carnivorous Carrollton. Unless she wanted to starve, she had to learn to cook. She quickly fell in love with her new life-sustaining hobby. And although she learned about humane ways to raise livestock, she still prefers to stay vegetarian, mostly based on texture.

Currently she hosts Chef Nicole's Secret Supper Club in Deep Ellum on Saturday nights, where she uses mostly local, organic ingredients to create a seven-course meal for 18 people. We spoke with her to learn more about the farm-to-table movement and her thoughts on how Dallas is receiving the trend.

What was your first job in a restaurant? When I was in culinary school in San Francisco, I worked at a bar and restaurant that was right next to the Giants' ballpark and I was the prep cook, line cook and the dishwasher. I was the only one there during lunch. Then when I came back to Dallas, I did my externship for three months with Chef Marc Cassel at the Green Room.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.