Danyele McPherson just recently returned from taping Bravo's Top Chef, and now has been promoted to chef de cuisine at The Grape. McPherson is one of a handful of Dallas chefs to appear on the show and subsequently run a restaurant.
Tiffany Derry and Tre Wilcox focus on high-end dining in upper-crust neighborhoods. On the heels of the Commissary closure, John Tesar will focus on a fancy concept in Preston Hollow. McPherson's well known restaurant, however, remains centered on humble bistro comfort food. (Thankful sigh)
McPherson has actually been running the menu at The Grape for the past six months so don't expect much to change if you've become used to dining there. The mushroom soup is alive and well, as is one of Dallas' best rendition of moules frites.
What McPherson hasn't taken control of as of yet is the infamous playlist cooks in the kitchen are forced to endure while banging out scores of Texas' best burgers. We asked her how the tunes in the kitchen would change:
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McPherson: When you're the sous chef, you are subjected to the musical preferences of your superior. Here at The Grape that has meant many mornings listening to Rush and other mediocre, yet popular in Canada, bands. Now that I don't have to sit at the kid's table anymore I get to control the air waves and indoctrinate my sous chef, Ian Starr, with my musical taste. Luckily for both of us we enjoy a lot of the same stuff.
If you had to create a dish that represents your relationship with Rush at this point, what would it be? Even though you won't find me jamming out to Rush at the house, I find hearing it a little nostalgic. Geddy Lee's high pitched voice makes me think of the past year and a half working under Brian [Luscher, chef and owner] and all that he has taught me. I guess I would have to make a tribute dish with all of Brian's favorite ingredients. I'd start with a pound of butter carved into the shape of a hot dog bun with a hollow tube down the center stuffed with bacon, corn and smoked sausage. Then I would take the whole thing, batter it up and deep fry the shit out of it. For the final plate up I would finish it with six different mustards, a generous handful of minced chives and fresh cracked black pepper. And more chives.
What is on the chef de cuisine's playlist? Gang Starr, Santigold, Modest Mouse, Joey Bada$$, Interpol, De La Soul, Pharcyde, Ratatat, M83, 9th Wonder, Little Brother, Jean Grae, Band of Horses, Pavement, Strange Fruit Project, The GZA, Dr. Dog ... I could go on forever.