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At FT33, dishes are works of culinary art, and guests can explore an imaginative menu full of fresh ingredients, all sourced from within a 300-mile radius. With an open kitchen concept, chef Matt McCallister is changing the way Dallas does New American fare. Whitewaller caught up with McCallister to hear about FT33’s ongoing guest chef dinner series, the restaurant’s introduction of seasonal cocktails, and the Dallas food scene.
WHITEWALLER: You opened FT33 in October 2012. What kind of culinary experience did you want to create at FT33?
MATT McCALLISTER: You know, it’s funny to think back to what we were doing when I first opened FT33. To be honest, I had no clue what I was doing, but I knew I wanted to do something different. I feel that the food we are cooking right now is the best it has ever been.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about your guest chef dinner series?
MM: Usually the third Monday of the month, I welcome in a chef from around the country whom I admire and respect for their role and influence on modern American cooking. We collaborate on an eight-course meal and try to have a lot of fun with how we present the experience. We have done all monochromatic dinners, all focusing on one animal, no electricity, and for the one coming up we are just not planning anything until the day before!
WW: How would you describe the Dallas food scene?
MM: It’s constantly growing, and the diners are more receptive to being adventurous and trying new things—you just have to know how to deliver it.
WW: Is there an ingredient you find yourself preoccupied with lately or a personal favorite dish on the current menu?
MM: Fermented shiitake mushrooms are pretty awesome. The chicken liver mousse and rye tart or the pickled gulf oysters—it’s hard to decide which one I like more currently.
WW: For those in town during Dallas Art Fair, what must they try at FT33?
MM: Whatever we are offering at the moment, because we never really revisit old dishes and are always working on new ideas. On the beverage side, this is the first year we have implemented 100 percent seasonality and sourcing for our cocktail program, so that means no citrus outside of the Texas winter citrus season. We have been playing with making cocktails with unripe fruit juices. We also make kombuchas with homemade vinegar and local sumac. They are a must-try.