Things To Do

Real Reality: A First Look at the Chefs Contending for Kitchen LTO

Last night, Kitchen LTO opened its doors (well, 3015 Trinity's doors, technically) to the $25-per-ticket-paying-public for a sold-out night of tasting, schmoozing and drinking. The event was all in the name of introducing the chefs and designers who are in the running to create the very first Kitchen LTO concept, slated to open later this summer.

For those of you not familiar, Kitchen LTO (which stands for Limited Time Offer) is a lot like a reality show, but instead of being totally fake, it's actually quite real. Listen to the setup: A major restaurant mogul (Phil Romano), together with a local salad restaurateur (Casie Caldwell), give partnered chefs and restaurant designers the opportunity to create a concept that Dallas' "fickle 500" can try out for a few months. And then the place is gone forever, to be replaced with a whole new concept created by the next chef/designer pair. Oh, and the public gets to ultimately decide which chefs and which designers get the green light.

So back to last night's event, directionally titled MEET. TASTE. REVIEW. VOTE. In the large, kitchen-studded space that is 3015 Trinity Groves, tables of happy tasters were flanked by five tables of designers showcasing their proposed restaurant designs, and five chefs offering samples of their cuisines and proposed menus.

The designer contenders were Karen Chidiac, Lauren Kwan, Kara Legako, Ijeoma Onyejiaka and the team of John Paul Valverde and Michael Vicens. The chefs up for the big job were Adam Aschner, Justin Box, Darius Gibson, Norman Grimm and Matt Reddick. With designs that ranged from organic to high end and cuisines that ranged from rustic and Cajun to modern and high concept, everybody brought something unique to the tables.

But last night was just the beginning. Now it's your chance to get involved, because popular voting has begun. Vote once per day for your favorites through June 10. Then help them win by sharing on Facebook and Twitter. The winning pair will be announced on June 11. So press your button, turn your chair around and let's get judgy.

All that's missing is some drunk housewives and maybe a little pool sex. But perhaps they're saving all that for the reunion show.

Follow foodbitch and City of Ate on Twitter.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.