The Cowboys, Tex-Mex, BBQ and big ol' steaks are four things that come up when someone mentions Dallas, Texas. The Big D is all that but so much more. It has an extensive arts and entertainment scene, with the Dallas Opera, the Texas Ballet Theater and the Dallas Black Dance Theater, as well as one of the largest collections of Spanish visual arts outside Spain showcased at the Southern Methodist University's Meadows Museum.
With its early beginnings in oil and cotton, Dallas -- home to the eighth-busiest airport in the world -- has become a noted center of industry and finance. In 2012, it was named one of the top 15 best performing cities in the U.S. by the Milken Institute, which monitors a city's ability to create and sustain jobs and economic growth.
Dallas culinary scene
Leslie Brenner, food critic for the Dallas Morning News, opines that although "wood smoke" has always been very Dallas in terms of cuisine, the Dallas culinary scene is beginning to evolve and get more interesting, adding that much of Dallas social life revolves around dining out.
Options include long-standing mom and pop Tex-Mex favorites like Tupinamba and El Norte Mexican Grill, the cream of the crop of ethnic restaurants such as Royal Thai or Madras Pavillion, one or more of the 81 food trucks rolling through Dallas streets, or one of the newest restaurants to sprout out of Dallas' fertile culinary garden -- Matt McCallister's FT33. McCallister has been named the people's best new chef in the Southwest region for 2013 by Food & Wine. Last year's overall winner, chef Tim Byrnes of Smoke, is also from Dallas.
According to Brenner, the key to the Dallas culinary scene is "casual, approachable, affordable restaurants." Stampede 66 fits the bill by celebrating the quintessential flavors of Texas with a modern twist. From Tex-Mex to down-home crispy fried chicken to chicken liver mousse with a layer of jalapeño gelée, Stephan Pyles' chefs are "walking the line between highfalutin and traditional," according to Taco Trail blogger José Ralat-Maldonado.
Dallas culinary schools
With all of the top culinary schools represented there, education is an integral part of the culinary scene in Dallas. The Greater Dallas Restaurant Association supports the Texas ProStart program, which provides industry support through scholarships and local Iron Chef-like competitions for Texas high school students interested in working in the culinary industry. Scholarships are also available to support current college students enrolled as hospitality majors.
Dallas fared well in the 2013 nominations for the prestigious James Beard awards. Nominees include chef Pyles as well as chefs Jason Maddy of Oak and Teiichi Sakurai of Tei-An and restaurateur Nick Badovinus of the Off-Site Kitchen. It's clear that Dallas is teeming with culinary talent. Attending a culinary school in Dallas, TX, could potentially provide one with the opportunity to work alongside one of these many award-winning and innovative chefs.
"10 chefs, including Nathan Tate and Randall Copeland, were deemed 'worth watching' in 2010. How have they all fared?" The Dallas Morning News, Leslie Brennan, July 3, 2012, http://eatsblog.dallasnews.com/2012/07/10-chefs-including-nathan-tate-and-randall-copeland-were-deemed-worth-watching-in-2010-how-have-they-all-fared.html/
"2012 Best-Performing Cities, 200 Largest Metros," Milken Institute, 2012, http://bestcities.milkeninstitute.org/best-performing-cities-2012-large.html
"Brenner: What defines Dallas dining, what's in the future and is Dallas a better food city than L.A.?" Interview on GuideLive, Dallas News July 28, 2012, http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/restaurants/headlines/20120728-brenner-what-defines-dallas-dining-what-s-in-the-future-and-is-dallas-a-better-food-city-than-l.a..ece
"Dallas Food Trucks," Roaming Hunger, 2013, http://roaminghunger.com/dfw
"Ft33," Eater, Whitney Filloon, March 19, 2013, http://dallas.eater.com/places/ft-33
"James Beards 2013: Seven Dallas Chefs Nominated for Prestigious Food Awards," Dallas Observer, Scott Reitz, February 19, 2013, http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2013/02/james_beard_annoints_dallas_ar.php
"Restaurant review: Stampede 66 elevates and celebrates the many flavors of Texas," Dallas News, DiningGuide, http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/restaurants/restaurant-reviews/20130123-restaurant-review-stampede-66-elevates-and-celebrates-the-many-flavors-of-texas.ece
"Texas ProStart Program," Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, http://gdra.org/texas-prostart-news/
"The Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in Dallas," D Magazine, February 2013, http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Magazine/2013/February/Best_Tex-Mex_Restaurants_in_Dallas.aspx
"The Prado at the Meadows," Meadows Museum, 2012, http://smu.edu/meadowsmuseum/about_Prado_Meadows.htm
"The Top Restaurant Newcomers of 2012," Eater, Whitney Filloon, December 26, 2012, http://dallas.eater.com/archives/2012/12/26/the-top-restaurant-newcomers-of-2012.php
For information on Culinary Schools in Dallas, please visit any school below and request more information.