Chef’s Corner with Grant Morgan of Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa
You read the reviews, listen to the praises from friends and colleagues, or happen to catch one of your favorite celebrities exiting that very spot you’ve been meaning to check out.
You know what the folks on the outside are saying, but have you ever gotten the story from someone on the inside?
journeyPod goes behind-the-scenes in Chef’s Corner with some of the country’s most esteemed, critically-acclaimed, award-winning (and naturally, our favorite) culinary masterminds to get the real scoop!
Recently on journeyPod’s visit to Texas, we visited Hotel ZaZa’s hallmark restaurant, Dragonfly in Uptown, Dallas, a posh urban community thriving with the modern, avant-garde trendsetters of the Big D. From first glance we fell in love with its elegance, an ambiance so captivating that it seemed to transcend time.
The carnivorous evening featured an impressive Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with Herbed Spaetzle and a Ginger Beef Tenderloin paired with Sesame Mashed Potatoes. After licking our plates clean (literally), indulging in the succulent Oh God! Chocolate Cake and chatting with talented, ever-so-friendly (and super cute) Chef Grant Morgan we took our perfectly shaken martinis to Urban Oasis, the hotel’s glamorous poolside lounge to mingle with Dallas A-listers and South Beach-esque partygoers.
Needless to say, Chef Morgan’s Dragonfly will leave you wanting more and is a must for both locals and vacationers looking for a great time in the Big D!
Mid cocktail & dinner, journeyPod had a chance to chat with Dragonfly’s culinary meister, Executive Chef Grant Morgan. Let’s take a peek in the kitchen…
1. How did you get your start in cooking? I loved food and cooking since I was young. My first start was in a fine-dining restaurant in Sedona, Ariz. I got a job running food when I was 17 years old and begged the chef to let me work in the kitchen. I would come in on my time off and peel potatoes, carrots, shallots, garlic, etc. Almost a year later, he offered me a 2-year apprenticeship. Three years later, he told me it was time to go work for another chef. So, I finished school and moved to Vail, Colo., to be a cooking ski bum!
2. Has traveling influenced your flavors & recipes? I would say that in my travels abroad, I have been inspired by things I have eaten. But, I would also say a lot of my influence and flavors have come from cooking in different regions of the United States.
3. Tell us about the cuisine here at Dragonfly! The cuisine is “American Fusion.” Our menu has influences of French, Asian, and Mediterranean. We use a lot of local Texas and regional products.
4. What are three things you can’t cook without? Butter, bacon, and wine. Did I mention butter?
5. What’s the strangest request you’ve ever received from a guest?Food: I had a gentleman call from his private jet and order a scallop dish I used to make in Vail. He had a driver standing by to take the food to him. He landed at the Vail airport, got his food, and took off. Personally: I had a lady who was dining at my restaurant ask me to marry her. (And she was serious!)
6. If you were on Iron Chef America, what would you hope would be the themed key ingredient for the cooking battle? Pig! All forms!
7. Would you kindly share a signature recipe with us?! My pleasure.
Scallops with Truffle Risotto, Leek Fondue
Yield: 8 servings
24 large sea scallops
3 large leeks diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons truffle peelings
Freshly ground white pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 pound (2 cups) Arborio rice
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
Bring chicken stock to a boil in a sauce pot. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender. Add rice. Stir until light brown, add wine, and let reduce until evaporated. Constantly stirring, add one cup of chicken stock at a time. Let each cup reduce until it evaporates. Add cream, butter, cheese, truffle oil, and truffle peelings. Risotto should be a creamy texture. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.
Add oil and leeks to a hot sauté pan. Stir leeks until soft and add chicken stock. Let reduce by half. Turn heat off and mix in butter. Purée in blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
– Executive Chef: Grant Morgan
Stay tuned for our “Cowboy Chic: Saddle & Class in Fort Worth” article!