Chef Estevan Galindo died unexpectedly Dec. 6 at age 41.
Chef Estevan Galindo died unexpectedly Dec. 6 at age 41.
courtesy Anastacia Quinones

The Dallas Restaurant Community Remembers Late Hattie's Chef Estevan Galindo

There's a reason why Hattie's is known for being Hattie's — and recently, it's a reason fraught with sadness.

Estevan Galindo made Hattie's what it is, according to chef Christopher Alexander. Now the community must move on without him.

“He was probably the most underestimated culinary power that Dallas had,” Alexander says of Galindo, who died unexpectedly Dec. 6 at age 41. The news shocked the Dallas culinary community, and many speak of Galindo with tears in their eyes and deep sadness in their voices.

“It’s a huge loss to our chef community, and, as a friend, he was such a good person,” says Anastacia Quinones, the chef of Oddfellows.

“Whatever was going on in your life, he always took time to listen to what you have to say. But he wasn’t the type to agree with you just to agree with you; he would tell you when you were wrong. He had your back,” she says.

Galindo's wife, Jessica, said being there for others was fundamental to who her husband was.

“He was always willing to help. He would give his last dime to somebody if he had to,” she says. “He was just such a good person. He was always smiling; he had no shame; he just loved.”

Jessica and Estevan started dating in 2011 and were married in July 2016.

“We always said we met each other at the right time. It just worked; it fell into place. It was weird,” she says. “I’m scared to death now because I’ll never find that again.”

Estevan Galindo was known for his passion and love for family, friends and food.

“I don’t think anyone has anything bad to say about him. He was a goofball, but that was pretty much it,” Jessica Galindo says. “When he wasn’t at Hattie's, he was making a mess in our kitchen, enjoying a great bourbon or deciding what concert he was going to next.”

He attended many concerts — particularly those by My Morning Jacket — with Jill Bates, the pastry chef at Fearing's Restaurant and one of his best friends.

“We traveled together; we’d go gambling together. His wife was just like, ‘OK, you two be careful,'” Bates says. “Every year, we do demos at the state fair. He was always at 12:30. I was at 2:30. Then we would hang out and drink beer and eat corn dogs, listening to music.

“He was my go-to guy. It's just been really hard that he’s not here.”

For Alexander, a chef, a colleague and a partner are gone.

“Even when he was executive chef and I was sous chef, it was a collaboration. We just had this synergy when we worked together,” Alexander says. “He was one of the most genuine people. He loved life; he loved laughing; he loved his family, friends and food. Even after I left, he’d always check in on me. He would carve that time out for his friends. That’s who he was.

“Every one of us is probably going to say the same thing: If you knew him, you were blessed, and if you didn’t, you’d be wanting to.”

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