Restaurant Ava. The five-course dinner takes place at 6 pm at El Centro, and guests are encouraged to bring their own wine. Tickets are $75, and reservations can be booked at cafemomentum.org. Below is the evening’s menu.
Local Tomato Salad
J.T. Lemley’s tomatoes, Paula’s mozzarella, Texas olive oil, basil
Pan-Seared Sea Scallop
Quinoa tabbouleh, pan-fried okra, piquillo vinaigrette
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
East Texas creamer peas, corn fritter
Grilled Filet of Beef
Smoked poblano potato gratin, Rocky’s Swiss chard, red wine jus
Fried Peach Pie
J.T. Lemley’s peaches, house-made honey lavender ice cream
About Randall Copeland
East Dallas-born Randall Copeland was first introduced to a professional kitchen when he attended the culinary program at Skyline High School. Throughout his 20s, he waited tables and cooked in restaurants across Dallas. In 1999, Randall went back to school to study the culinary arts at El Centro and has never looked back.
Randall spent the early part of his career under the supervision of chef Billy Webb at the Park Cities Hilton, where he honed his knife skills and learned the basic principles of French and Creole cuisine. From the Hilton he moved to Eastern Hills Country Club in Garland. After three months as a line cook, he was promoted to sous chef. Thanks to chef Keith Champy, Randall began to understand the business side of running a restaurant. After two years at Eastern Hills, he got the urge to learn more refined techniques and get into fine dining.
Through a friend he was introduced to Colleen O’Hare, the executive chef of The Green Room, who offered him a sous chef position. At the Green Room, he was introduced to fresh, seasonal ingredients and a style of cooking that would change his view of food forever.
After a trip to Las Vegas in 2004, Randall was offered a position at Bradley Ogden inside Caesar’s Palace, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant, where he stayed until late 2007. Once he returned to Texas, Randall and longtime friend and chef Nathan Tate began throwing around ideas for Restaurant Ava and looking for locations.
Meanwhile, Randall was introduced to Bolsa chef Graham Dodds, and the two discovered they had similar attitudes toward food. They worked side-by-side at Bolsa, creating local, seasonal menus nightly, until Restaurant Ava came to fruition.