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Chefs Table - North Texas

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Texas chefs and restaurateurs invite you to step up to the plate and help yourself to the best that Texas dining has to offer. Texas cuisine is as varied as its land and reflective of the diverse cultures that settled in the Lone Star State. The chefs featured here invite you into their world to experience what GO TEXAN means to them, and the difference that Texas tastes can make when you dine out with GO TEXAN.


Chef Troy Walker, The Ranch at Las Colinas, Las Colinas

Chef Troy WalkerChef Troy Walker of The Ranch at Las Colinas dishes up his passion for local food and wine in this month's Table Talk.


What is your favorite Texas wine and food pairing?
Pan-roasted redfish with stone-ground grits and mixed market vegetables, paired with a Becker Vineyards Viognier is my favorite. The redfish melts in your mouth, and the seafood is a perfect match with the hints of fruit in the Viognier.


Our Texas redfish is fresh from Palacios. The grits are from Homestead Gristmill in Waco. The mixed market vegetables contain a variety of fresh produce throughout the year. From local sweet corn to cherry tomatoes from Lemley's Produce & Plants in Canton, the vegetable dish is a catchall for whatever is in season.


Why do you feel it is important to use local Texas products?
Ethically it's the right thing to do! We support local farmers and producers whenever we can. We feel the community really reciprocates. I also value the freshness of local produce. When you have a tomato or cucumber fresh from the garden you can be simple with your approach and let the food speak for itself.


What menu items are Texas-grown or produced?
We source beef, chicken, quail, seafood, dairy, produce and more from Texas. Some of our beef is from Stephenville, as are the greens and herbs. The chicken is from South Central Texas. Most of the seafood originates in the Gulf. We use Lucky Layla Farms butter and serve Henry's Ice Cream, which are both from Plano. We source in-season produce locally whenever possible.


What Texas wines are on your menu?
We use a lot of Becker Vineyards wines: Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier. Becker offers different varieties and is very food friendly. We also incorporate Texas Hills "Kick Butt" Cabernet. We are expanding our Texas wine list in the near future.


Who or what inspired you to be a chef?
My grandmother and her sensibilities had a lot of influence on me. I remember when she would walk out to the garden and come back with a cucumber - and a lesson in cuisine. She would slice the fresh cucumber with just a little salt and some vinegar and the fresh flavors were incredible. She taught me that simple, authentic food is what is good and memorable.


Describe the dining experience at The Ranch at Las Colinas.
You can find refined, approachable Texas comfort food at The Ranch at Las Colinas. We provide an honest farm-to-table dining experience.


Chef Mansour Gorji, Canary by Gorgi, Addison

Award-winning chef and creator of a gourmet line of cooking products, Chef Gorji brings a new Mediterranean style of cooking to Texas dishes at the Canary by Gorji in Addison.

 Chef Gorgi
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in cooking?
My grandmother required all the kids in my family to spend time in the kitchen to appreciate the work involved in preparing food. Our seasonal tasks were to make lime juice, unripe grape juice, tomato juice and pomegranate puree to put in the cellar for use year-round. We were also taught to prepare meals at a very early age. Little did we know that she was teaching us the basic tools of flavors and ratios; the rest was imagination and creativity. That early training and attitude about food, combined with my travels around the Mediterranean areas, evolved into the new Mediterranean style cuisine that I cook today. Many of the old world dishes relied on heavy spices and long cooking times. I use the freshest ingredients, prime cuts of meats and minimal spices, and I have developed short cooking time techniques that allow me to make these dishes with their old world essence for my guests.

What on your menu is Texas-grown or locally produced?
I use Gulf shrimp, quail, citrus, honey, fresh herbs, garlic, spinach, Texas wines, bread from local bakeries and, of course, my Gorji Gourmet® products.

What are your favorite Texas ingredients and why?
I like Texas quail because they are not small and don't overcook easily. Texas quail grill and sauté nicely. We serve the medallions and legs, as well as the whole bird. I am partial to Gulf shrimp, as well. They are plump and juicy. I handpick wines from Alamosa Cellars and Texas Hills Vineyard because they grow their own grapes and yield a Mediterranean style that complements my food.

What is Canary Café's signature dish?
Our signature dish is the rib eye steak with pomegranate cream sauce that I won the Texas Steak Cook-Off Championship with two years in a row (2004 and 2005) in Hico, even though Canary Café is not a steakhouse. I have always cooked with pomegranates and have them on my menu all year. I also serve salmon and beef anar, feta and fresh pomegranates, as well as a homemade puree. 

Describe the atmosphere and ambiance of Canary Café. How does the Dallas metroplex community contribute to this feel?
Canary Café is a small 14-table restaurant with a personal touch and presence. Our goal is for diners to have a wonderful dining experience. I take pride in preparing meals personally and per order. If I am not there, we do not open that evening. In Dallas, there seems to be a growing interest in the smaller, more intimate atmosphere. Our attention to detail, our serving of adventurous flavors and our boutique, handpicked wine lists contribute to a more pleasurable dining experience.

Tell me a little bit about your Gorji Gourmet® line. What would you say is the overall theme of the line?
I wanted to capture and bring the fresh tastes of my new Mediterranean style food to my customer's home. My products provide a gourmet base to pasta, pizza, chicken, veal, seafood, steaks, salads, spreads and dips. The Gorji Gourmet® product line includes: pomodoro and puttanesca sauces; primer for meat; vegetables and seafood for grilling and sautéing; pomegranate champagne vinaigrette and Caesar dressing for salads; and hummus and remoulade for sandwiches and dipping.


Chef David Warren, Fiddle Creek Steakhouse, Stephenville

For this month's Table Talk, David Warren, owner and chef at Fiddle Creek Steakhouse in Stephenville, details the unique down-home country dining experience he offers to diners in a GO TEXAN rural community.

fiddle creek restaurant How would you describe the Fiddle Creek Steakhouse dining experience? What makes it a unique steakhouse?
When you enter Fiddle Creek through our old-time parlor entrance, you will feel like you have entered your grandmother's house. Our dining room has familiar antiques from days gone by and our bar has an old-time saloon feeling. We offer space for formal gatherings, business meetings or just a good home-cooked meal. I want everyone who comes to Fiddle Creek to feel at home. Each item on our menu is freshly prepared in our kitchen and not out of a freezer. We have great food, a friendly atmosphere and outstanding service.


How does your rural community and surroundings contribute to the feel and atmosphere of Fiddle Creek?
Stephenville is known as the Cowboy Capital of Texas. At Fiddle Creek, we have a cowboy atmosphere and strive to make everyone feel welcome. The restaurant is decorated with old relics from the past and pictures and antiques from our rural community. When you walk through the restaurant and bar and see the antiques, they are reminiscent of what your parents or grandparents, or maybe even you, used during a lifetime.


What on your menu is Texas-grown or produced?
We use pecans from Stephenville that are grown just up the road. We use as many Texas-grown vegetables as possible and we use Texas beef and shrimp. We also have Texas wines available at our bar.


What are you favorite Texas ingredients and why?
We use Texas jalapenos in several of our dishes. The universal appeal of the zest of jalapenos is the reason we use them in so many dishes. Also, we use pecans grown right here in our area. We strive to keep as much of the products we use from Texas. We are very committed to our local and state producers.


Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in cooking?
I have always had a sincere appreciation for really good food. When I was a kid, dinner time was enjoyable because the food was good home cooking. I want my customers to be able to enjoy that feeling at Fiddle Creek.


What is Fiddle Creek's signature dish?
For steak lovers, it's our prime rib or ribeye steak. For fish, it's our grilled salmon or seared tilapia with shrimp and crawfish in a wine cream sauce. For chicken, it's our chicken fried steak or the grilled chicken breast with fettuccini and sundried tomato alfredo sauce. You also don't want to skip our "snappin' turtles", which are jumbo Texas shrimp with mozzarella in a fresh jalapeno, deep-fried with a golden crust.


How does Fiddle Creek compare to steakhouses in bigger cities like Dallas and Houston?
Our food, service and prices are comparable to any steakhouse in a larger city. Our down-home atmosphere and friendly service far exceeds most large city restaurants. Fiddle Creek is warm and friendly and uses fresh ingredients to make customers feel at home and appreciated.


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