Second Bar + Kitchen chef-partner David Bull, who earned the honor of Best New Chef from Food & Wine in 2003 and came to prominence at the Driskill Grill, will join with Driskill Grill executive chef Troy Knapp ahead of the fest on Wednesday to pay tribute to the elegant hotel that is celebrating its 130th birthday.
First important meal you ever cooked for another person?
Personally: we had large family gatherings growing up, and my aunts and uncles were always in charge of the food. I remember I was asked to make the deviled eggs for Christmas one year — this was a huge honor to be included in the preparations of the meal. I felt like I was a “mad man” cooking deviled eggs!!
Professionally: I had the privilege to cook for the late Charlie Trotter at the Mansion on Turtle Creek. Dean (Fearing) joined him at the table along with Charlie’s mother, who was celebrating her birthday at the time. I lost a few nights sleep over this one. But it went off without a hitch and I have a signature and message from chef Trotter that I cherish.
Favorite cooking tool in the kitchen?
The standards come to mind: my knives, blender, zester — but I don’t have a favorite — I’m a firm believer that every task has the right tool and you should use any tool available to make your life easier!
Most overrated/underrated food?
Another hard question — I’m not sure I can answer this. I find value in all foods — I think vegetables have gotten a bad rap but are starting to get the attention that they deserve. I find that root vegetables are underrated on the consumer side but chefs have often loved their depth of flavor and versatility.
Just home from a long night in the kitchen, what are you drinking?
Water for sure, followed by a cold Lone Star and scotch
What’s the next buzzy food coming to restaurant menus?
Also a tough question. We are working on tempeh at the moment, and I love the versatility and health properties of this product.
Last meal in America (not at one of your restaurants), where do you go?
I would go home and have an old-school Italian family get-together. These gatherings are what began my inspiration, and I’ve never had better meatballs or lasagna!
Neapolitan or New York-style pizza?
Cake or pie?
Dream four-person dinner party?
Elon Musk, Bernie Sanders, my father, Mike Tyson
Bagel or breakfast taco?
Depends on where I am: In New York, I would have a bagel, for sure. But in Texas, it’s a taco all the way.
The Austin Food and Wine Festival takes place April 22-24 at Auditorium Shores and Republic Square Park. For tickets and more information, visit austinfoodandwinefestival.com.