If you want to see Dallas chef Dean Fearing, the most obvious place is at Fearing's, his restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton. But if it's late at night, and the restaurant is closed, and you really just need to see Dean's face, you can also find him in his new video series, called Dean's Texan Cuisine.
Fearing is no stranger to being on camera. He's had shows of his own, as well as numerous appearances on shows such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Top Chef.
The new series shows his ability to roll with new tricks of the trade, a flexibility that has made him a prevailing force. For example, he's embraced the farm-to-table movement, forming partnerships with farmers, ranchers, and distillers. His menus these days incorporate ingredients such as local Wagyu beef, and Fearing's Barrel Select añejo tequila made with Patrón.
"I like to keep my toe in the water," Fearing says. "I like doing video. Since Dean's Cuisine has been off the air for 10 years, I was wanting to do a little web series and have some fun with it, without it being a big deal or having the pressure of TV and having to find commercials. I get to do a lot of these in my own kitchen."
He's also just engaging to watch, with lots of laughter sprinkled in with the recipes.
One of the most popular videos was the one he did for the holidays with his two sons, Jaxson and Campbell, making pancakes together. "It's what we make on Christmas Day, and those pancakes have been on Fearing's brunch menu since we opened," he says. "We had a great time doing it."
Fearing's appearance as a guest judge on the 2011 season of Top Chef Texas showed his sharp awareness of flavors and spices. During the shoot, he and Top Chef 's Tom Colicchio made the most of the downtime between scenes.
"Tom and I have known each other from early in our careers," Fearing says. "He said, 'Bring your guitar and we’ll play between shots.' There's a lot of set-up and wait, so he brings his guitar and plays, that's what he does. We had a huge jam and played for everybody. It was a great time hanging out, and everybody on the show was fantastic."
While his goal with the web series is to share recipes and highlight Fearing's menu, he's using it as an opportunity to recruit family and friends. On his segment for Valentine's Day, he's joined by fiancee Wanda Gierhart; another episode, he filmed with fellow chef Stephan Pyles.
"With Stephan, you have the two people who started American cuisine in this city, and here it is 36 years later and we're cooking together," he says. "I thought it was monumental.
"We just have fun with it," he says. "I'm not at a place where I want to jump that deeply into the TV show world. I've found that you can either do TV, or you can a run a restaurant. Dean's Southwest Cuisine is fun and that’s what it’s all about."