Thursday, October 20, 2011

Next Up at the Pop-up: Chef Matt McCallister

On November 6, 2011, Matt McCallister becomes the sixth guest chef in the Cafe Momentum pop-up dinner series. The dinner takes place at 6 pm at Hibiscus, and wine is included in the $100 price for the five-course meal. Below is the menu:

Spiced Fennel Salad
Crème fraîche and Meyer lemon

Acorn Squash Soup
Kale chips, pine nuts, and pancetta

Suckling Pig Porchetta
Spelt pilaf with pickled radish, pumpkin seed sauce, and raisin

Beef Duo
Encrusted oxtail, spinalis, squash flavors, rosemary, and mushroom Armagnac sauce

Cheese Curd Tart
Cranberry-sage mostarda and black pepper-honey ice cream

About Matt McCAllister
Matt McCallister’s culinary career began at the age of 15, when he worked for a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. He planned to later attend the Culinary Institute of America. 

In 2005, after enjoying a fine meal at Stephan Pyles’ namesake restaurant, Matt approached Stephan about the possibility of working for him. Following a brief trial period, Matt worked as a line cook and, during the course of 18 months, progressed rapidly through all line cook positions until he was promoted to sous chef in 2007. In 2008, he was promoted to executive sous chef.

In 2009, Matt became the executive chef at Stephan Pyles. Upon promoting Matt to executive chef, Stephan said, “Matt is a hardworking, exceptionally talented chef with laser-beam focus. In my 26 years in the restaurant business, I have seen only one other person with as much raw and natural ability.” The press took notice too. While executive chef, Matt received two back-to-back 4-star reviews in the <i>Dallas Morning News</i>.

Currently Matt is consulting on the soon-to-open Campo Modern Country Bistro in Oak Cliff, overseeing kitchen operations and the menu, which will focus on European influences such as French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, reminiscent of the Mendoza Province near Buenos Aires.  Most recently, Matt spent time honing his skills and learning new techniques in the country’s top restaurants, including McCrady’s in South Carolina, Alinea in Chicago and Daniel in New York City.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Q&A With Guest Chef Abraham Salum

Good morning to all fans, advocates, and supporters of all things Cafe Momentum! Today is the first Sunday in October, which denotes several things: no more 100 degree days (no promises), Cowboys football, State Fair of Texas, and, of course, the October Cafe Momentum pop-up dinner.

We are excited and humbled to be hosting tonight’s dinner at the Communities Foundation, a true benchmark of philanthropy in Dallas. In eager anticipation of tonight’s dinner, we asked Chef Abraham Salum, of Salum and Komali, a few hard-hitting questions that not even the folks at the Dallas Morning News have the guts to ask.

Cafe Momentum: How long have you been cooking?
Abraham Salum: I started cooking in 1989 at Camino Real Hotel in Mexico City.

CM: What is your earliest food memory?
AS: A picture of me, 8 or 9 months in my mother’s arm, with a cracker with Roquefort cheese. She says I licked the cheese off the cracker and threw it away.

CM: When did you know that you wanted to be a chef?
AS: I wasn’t happy with my marketing degree and thought, “What can I do that I know I really enjoy?” Eating! Then I decided to learn how to cook.

CM: What aspect of Cafe Momentum are you most excited about?
AS: Working with the young men and being able to help them figure out what they want to do with their lives.

CM: What is your favorite item on Sunday night’s menu?
AS: The snapper and the pork!

CM: Who is your favorite Romo on the Dallas Cowboys?
AS: Not a big fan. Sorry.

CM: Why are you SO awesome?
AS: Because I am surrounded by awesome people like all of you!

So there you have it—a brief, hard-hitting, Q&A with Abraham Salum. When you all patting Abraham on the back tonight for a job well done, please make sure to be mindful of his willingness to sit down with us and endure such an endless barrage of in-depth questioning.

Once again, thank you all so very much for being so very supportive of Cafe Momentum! Your response to launching Cafe Momentum has been so motivating for all of us to keep pushing hard to turn a great idea into a permanent Dallas institution.