Known as the “father of Southwestern Cuisine,” Dean Fearing has given Dallas a lot more than the lobster taco. Fearing spent 20-plus years at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, pleasing the palates of visiting VIPs and the city’s movers and shakers, and fostering the culinary talents of such chefs as Kent Rathbun and Rick Griggs of Abacus, Eric Brandt of Bistro 31, “Naughty Chef” Blythe Beck, and Amador Mora of Maximo.
In 2007, he opened Fearing’s Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. When not in the kitchen or charming diners at his namesake restaurant, you’ll find him wielding his vintage Fender Telecaster onstage — alongside Houston chef and fellow Southwestern Cuisine pioneer Robert Del Grande — with his all-chef alternative country band, The Barbwires.
We found out just what excites, annoys and engages this gregarious gourmet.
My personality. My dad was an innkeeper in eastern Kentucky, and I was thrown into a hand-shaking society at an early age. It made me bubble up with personality.
My happiness is being with my two boys. Also meeting someone new who really fits into my life. Angela, my girlfriend of a year, has brought me an unbelievable amount of happiness.
Misery is trying to do everything at one time: run a business, raise a family, do PR.
Every morning I go by four coffee shops to get to Drip. For food, it’s a toss-up between Texas barbecue and Indian curry. They’re both so different, and they’re both what I absolutely love.
Be professional. It’s the code I live by.
There are a lot of ‘em, but Wolfgang Puck would have to be one of my mentors/heroes of all time. Wolfgang sat me down at an early age, when I was a young chef, and said, “There’s going be a lot of people with huge egos in our business, and you need to stay humble.” It hit me like a rock and has probably made me more successful than I could ever imagine.
I would want to be a famous singer/songwriter. I’m working toward that!
Playing guitar. I’ve been doing it since Crosby, Stills and Nash came out in the summer of ’69.
I moved to Dallas in 1979 and fell in love with the spirit of this city. I loved the fact that rich people didn’t act like rich people and poor people didn’t act like poor people, and everybody got along. You can make something of yourself in this town, and people will let you do that.
I would change people complaining about the hot weather. People have lived here their whole lives, but they complain about how hot it is, every year!
I think someone genuine; it’s what I’ve always loved about Dallas. Even people that move here get it really quick, the attitude of being courteous and genuine.