Chef Scott Gottlich Takes the Long Road Home

From a bachelor's degree in history at the University of Oklahoma to restaurant owner and chef, Scott Gottlich's career progression may seem odd. But that's the path -- with a few important stops in between -- that led the Dallas native back home, where he's owner and executive chef of Bijoux and chef partner at The Second Floor in the Westin Galleria. So, after completing his undergrad at Oklahoma, he headed for Colorado to earn a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University.

After graduation, he took off for Southern California for a gig at Aubergine, cooking under chef Tim Goodell. Next, he headed for New York to work at Le Bernadin for chef Eric Ripert.

Eventually Gottlich missed the coast he left behind and headed back to California to work for Goodell at Aubergine once again. Soon, he and his wife, Gina, returned to Dallas, where Gottlich became executive chef of Lola the Restaurant. Gottlich dabbled in consulting a bit following his time at Lola, and in September 2006, he and his wife opened Bijoux, followed by The Second Floor Bistro & Bar in 2008.

Who are you? I was born and raised in Dallas. As for age, I'm just old enough to know what I do not know.

How did you become attracted to the cuisine you currently cook? I really enjoyed the intimacy with food that required finesse, including the thoughtful way that a dish must be balanced and presented in an artful way. The difference between eating and dining as to not just fill a void of hunger and the ability for a culinary experience to be created.

How did you get this gig? I worked very hard -- and continue to -- and happened to be in the right place at the right time to set me up for success, from the kitchens and chefs that I was fortunate enough to experience, to the restaurants that I operate now.

What's the deal with food? It is a primal need that we have to fill roughly three times a day. How could one not be obsessed with it?

Who has eaten at your place and who do you expect to have as your guests? We have had all walks from Laura Bush to Jeff Gordon to Ludacris. We expect many more guests in the future, including more celebrities.

Who works at your place? No crazy stories. We work as a family here and treat each other as such.

What is up with the national food scene and how does your restaurant fit into it? We try to push ourselves on every level for a better experience for the guest as well as our staff. We make decisions on the menu based on availability of local and superior ingredients and what we feel like cooking.

If you could stab one Food Network person who would it be? No stabs here.

If you could be best friends with one Food Network person who would it be? Marco Pierre White. [He's on NBC, actually.] I wouldn't say that I'd want to be his best friend, rather I'd love to learn everything that he knows, more like have him as a mentor. I have tremendous respect for him and what he has accomplished.

Why are so many people in the States so fat? We don't walk enough. Americans have a drive-through mentality. And sometimes Americans lack moderation.

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