In the aftermath of the pandemic, Dallas restaurateurs are confronting serious staffing issues. Finding suitable employees has been a challenge. Many restaurants have had to close or cut back on hours because they simply do not have the manpower.
One ray of light has been on the chef front, with a number of big hires at high-profile places including two area luxury hotels.
Here are five newly-appointed chefs brightening Dallas' restaurant scene:
- The Adolphus has a new executive chef: Jin Lee.
Chef Lee most recently served as Banquet & Catering Chef at Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California; and before that, at a host of resort hotels in Las Vegas including the MGM Grand, Aria Resort City Center, Wynn Resort, and Mandalay Bay Resort.
Lee will oversee the entire restaurant and bar program including in-room dining, and restaurant concepts City Hall Bistro, The French Room, and Otto’s Coffee and Fine Foods.
"Leaving an iconic resort like Terranea for a historic Dallas icon like The Adolphus makes me feel incredibly inspired as I continue my culinary journey in the gastronomic center of Texas," he says. "I look forward to making my mark on the culinary community in Dallas. I have long aspired to immerse myself in Southern culture; I’m inspired daily by its charm and distinctive regional character."
- Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Dallas has appointed a new chef: Jonah Friedmann.
Friedman has worked at some of Dallas-Fort Worth's biggest hotel properties including the Gaylord Texan (where he was chef at Zeppole), Sheraton Dallas, and Hotel Vin. He attended the Culinary Institute of America as well as Johnson & Wales, and has already introduced a new menu at Commons Club which emphasizes "experiential" dining elements such as table-side service.
Menu items include Asian-inspired beef cheek steamed buns, beef tartare with bone marrow, and rotisserie chicken, as well as a charcuterie board, oysters Rockefeller flambeed table-side, a 36-ounce Piedmontese beef tomahawk, and whole roast snapper.
- Elephant East, the latest restaurant from Harwood Hospitality Group, has appointed an executive chef: Thomas Griffin.
Elephant East is a pan-Asian-inspired restaurant with food from numerous Asian cuisines. It affords Griffin the opportunity to tell his story of family heritage and life in Asia with dishes that go beyond a focus on technique, flavor, and regional influence. He designed his menu to inspire a spirit of shared celebration, community, and connection.
Griffin hails from the Boston area where he attended Le Cordon Bleu, and worked at restaurants around Boston and Cambridge.
- Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas has appointed a new executive sous chef: Nicholas Trosien.
A native of Detroit and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Trosien has worked for Four Seasons properties in cities around the world, including Palm Beach, Singapore, Dubai and most recently, Toronto, where he was chef de cuisine at Cafe Boulud.
He'll now have oversight of Four Seasons' concepts on premises to include Law and Outlaw Taproom, as well as the resort's expansive banqueting operation, catering weddings, receptions, corporate meetings, and events.
"The size of the property, the selection of outlets, and the talent already in place here make for an exciting challenge," Trosien says.
- Tango Room, a new steakhouse in the Design District, has opened with executive chef Kylil Henson.
Henson is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He's a wine-savvy chef who has obtained a certificate from The Court of Master Sommeliers.
Henson worked around the Philly/DC area at a number of well-regarded restaurants such as DBGB Kitchen & Bar. He also went on an adventurous internship in Spain at Madrid restaurant Coque.
He moved to Dallas in 2018, and was previously at Flora Street Cafe — in fact, he was the final chef before the restaurant closed in 2019. He also worked at Oak in the Design District.
Tango Room is from the Headington Group, and opened quietly in mid-September. It's located at 1617 Hi Line Dr., an address better known as the former home of the critically acclaimed restaurant FT33, which closed in 2018.