Q&A: Chef Blaine Staniford

Well the last week has come and gone like an absolute whirlwind. Twenty at the Tower is off to an amazing start. Chef Blaine Staniford of GRACE dazzled diners for two consecutive nights that left everyone in attendance buzzing for days afterwards. Make sure to visit www.fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com, click on the Twenty at the Tower logo, and buy your tickets today! 



Being around Blaine for a couple of days was a very enjoyable experience. His intensity for perfection is clear with his plate presentations and eye for details, but his gentle demeanor and respect for the staff that works beside him is an admirable quality that reality TV cooking shows unfortunately never show. I had an opportunity to sit down with Blaine after service one night and ask a few questions that I thought you would like to know. Here's what he had to say...

Q: What was the most memorable meal you've ever had?
A: There are two because they were back to back days of dining for a birthday celebration:  Was in Chicago and one night went to Alinea and had a 28 course tasting menu, the next night went to Moto and had the most unique dining experience I ever had. Fantastic!
Q: What items are always in your refrigerator at home?
A: I collect hot sauces so at any given time there are at least 10 to 15 open. 
Q: What chef that you have worked with made the biggest impression upon you?
A: When I worked with Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit in New York. His constant push to be a better restaurant and better chef has always and still continues to impress me.
Q: If you had one thing to eat the rest of your life, what would that item be?
A: Eggs, cooked anyway but especially soft scrambled

Q: What is the one piece of advice you would give a young student thinking about going to culinary school?
A: Culinary school is a great place to learn cooking technique, but don’t expect to be a chef once you graduate. Find a great chef who is willing to teach you and work your ass off for them. Stage at as many restaurants as you can and don’t chase money.

 As many of you know, Blaine won the Fort Worth, Texas Top Chef Competition last year. This year, Blaine gets to be on the other side of the judges table to help decide who will be deemed Top Chef 2013. The preliminary round is Thursday, June 27, and tickets may be purchased here: http://fwtx.com/topchef/2013/event-details. Hope to see you there! 

Russell Kirkpatrick is AGM of Reata Restaurant and Founder of the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival