Dallas restaurant Up On Knox lures in celeb chef from L.A. for Parkies
In what has become a bit of a revolving door situation, a Knox-Henderson restaurant has a new chef in the house.
Up On Knox, the restaurant on Knox Street that's very popular with the Park Cities set, welcomes chef Wes Whitsell, a Texas native who is returning to Dallas after stints in Los Angeles and elsewhere, as the restaurant's new culinary director.
Whitsell, who has 15-plus years of experience, began his cooking career in Los Angeles. He worked at restaurants such as Osteria La Buca, Blair's, and Gjelina, then headed to the kitchen at Soho House New York.
In 2016, he opened his first concept, an L.A. restaurant called Manuela, but left that in 2017. He's kind of a celebu-chef, having scored a fashion profile on Lucky Jeans website that includes a photo of his jeans-clad behind.
His handle on Twitter, which he no longer uses, is "@wessiepoo22," so he gets points for that.
According to a release, Whitsell's approach complements that of Stephan Courseau, owner-founder of Up On Knox, and they have already revamped the menu. "I'm excited I have found somebody who's just as passionate about what I'm doing," Whitsell says in a statement. "We share a singular vision, and both have high expectations."
The release also says that Whitsell grew up with a passion for the farm to table experience.
"It was here in North Texas where my father taught me how to live off the land," he says. "We grew our own vegetables, fished our local lakes, and hunted the land."
Whitsell represents the fourth high-profile chef that's signed up for duty at Up On Knox. The restaurant opened with chefs Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelly, then formed a short-lived partnership with chef Junior Borges. But it's probably just a coincidence. One of those things that happens.
Chef turnover certainly hasn't impacted business one bit. The Park Cities crowd loves loves loves this place. Try and get into for weekend brunch. No nevermind, don't, because it's nuts.
Whitsell aims to take the restaurant to a new level of sustainability, striving to find local sources as well as companies that give back to the earth, which is one of the pillars for Courseau's team.
Courseau says he feels lucky to have met Whitsell, calling him "the real deal…creative, driven but humble at the same time."
"He just wants to serve great food prepared with the best ingredients. It sounds simple, but it requires real talent," Courseau says.