Last week special consultant to the Dallas Food Examiner, Chef Mo Assi of Lawry's-The Prime Rib, spoke with Dallas' own Chef Tiffany Derry, C.C. Chef Derry is one of the new chefs to this season's Top Chef D.C. and the Executive Chef of Go Fish Ocean Club, Dallas.
Chef Derry is originally from Beaumont, TX. She got her culinary start at IHOP restaurants and graduated from The Art Institute of Houston, 2003. Chef Derry's describes her cooking style as "New American with Soul Influence." She's the Dallas Food Examiner's pick for TOP CHEF!
Q:Where did you get your start?
A: Chef Derry started her culinary career with IHOP restaurants, while working as a T.A. at The Art Institute of Houston. A key turning point in her career was when she had the opportunity to travel to Paris and that is when Chef Derry says her point of view for food changed. She saw how food was respected and loved. Chef Derry came back to Houston and worked at Pesce as a garde manger chef. Chef Derry has also worked for Landry's company's, The Grado, and as a chef instructor at The Art Institute Dallas. Currently Chef Derry is the Executive Chef, at Go Fish Ocean Club.
Q:What did you think of the competition this season?
A: The competition this season was tough. I have never been in a room with so many talented, different and intense chefs.
Q: What is your cooking style? Did Top Chef being in D.C. this season influence your food in any ways?
A: I've never been to D.C. before Top Chef. D.C. is so cultured and my food was welcomed and well represented. It was amazing how many native Texans were in D.C., so my style of food fit well.
Q:Going into the competition what do you think set you apart? (gave you the edge)
A: I bring the flavor! I don't cook bland. My food is simple and full of flavor. You get what you see, meaning that if you want a tomato sauce, that's what your going to get ... not a foam that tastes like it. I'm not a fan of the molecular gastronomy movement (neither is Chef Mo!) I cook flavorfulfood that is natural, fresh and local.
Q: Did your training in the culinary industry help you? in what ways?
A: Working at IHOP helped me because I remember the hustle. Having the opportunity to work with so many different, rare and exotic ingredients gave me an edge because I was able to identify the ingredients used throughout the competition.
Q: What is Chef Derry's favorite food?
A: Mmmm foie gras would definitely be my avorite. I used to have foie gras on the menu at Go Fish, and would have a piece probably every night.
Q:Whats your favorite dish on the Go Fish menu?
A: American Red Snapper with crispy skin, crawfish and chorizo sausage with fennel salad. Refreshing and textured.
Q: Whats your favorite restaurant in Dallas?
A: Zensai in Valley Ranch is my favorite restaurant. It's a mom and pop place that has the best Pad Thai in Dallas!
Q: Can Dallas expect a restaurant from Chef Derry?
A: Absolutely, a place where I can have full control of the design, a place where I can showcase my new American cuisine with a strong Italian influence and a twist of Spanish cuisine.