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Chef scramble: New year, new faces in Tarrant-area restaurants

Posted 11:44am on Monday, Jan. 09, 2017

Here is a look at local chefs who’ve been on the move, ready to start a new year in a new kitchen.

Peter Kreidler

Manager of food services, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth

In preparation for the upcoming retirement of tenured chef Shelby Schafer, the Kimbell Art Museum has hired Peter Kreidler as manager of food services. Kreidler, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, worked in restaurants on the West Coast before gaining experience in Fort Worth at Clay Pigeon Food & Drink and launching dinner at Swiss Pastry Shop.

“I thought I was going to have to cut my hair and shave. I ended up shaving for the interview,” says Kreidler of being approached by the Kimbell for the position. “I realized the potential and opportunity. It was a no-brainer.”

Having studied Kimbell kitchen protocol under Schafer, Kreidler calls her a mentor, adding that he wants his food to match the quality of the museum’s renowned artwork while attracting a younger demographic. “I’d love to have fun, collaborative dinners with guest chefs. I want people to realize this is an amazing place to come visit.”

Kreidler is keeping Schafer’s menu intact but plans to incorporate a few techniques and changes later. For example, toasting orzo to add color and flavor, and introducing sous vide, a method of preparing food by vacuum-sealing. “She’s definitely cool with me changing things,” Kreidler says of Schafer. “Right now, I am sitting back, learning and observing.” 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-332-8451, www.kimbellart.org .

Martin Meadows

Executive chef, Main Street Bistro & Bakery, Grapevine

Chez Fabien is the name of the new all-day service now offered at Grapevine’s Main Street Bistro & Bakery, named for owner Fabien Goury. But it’s Martin Meadows, who worked at the cafe more than a decade ago, leading the kitchen as executive chef.

An Arlington native, Meadows has cooked around the world, from Minneapolis to San Diego and Cabo San Lucas to France. He says his goal is to create honest food consistently.

“It’s quintessential French bistro cuisine,” Meadows says of the menu, which includes items like roasted duck breast, bouillabaisse and trout almondine. “It’s comfort food, country French style.”

He’s also added vegan options, including a vegan chorizo-stuffed acorn squash with coconut curry sauce. He promises a menu that will be seasonally driven while based on classic fundamental techniques executed in a timely manner. 316 S. Main St., Grapevine, 817-424-4333, www.themainbakery.com .

Stefon Rishel

General manager and executive chef, Texas Bleu, Keller

After gaining acclaim for his decadent Southern-inspired specialties (and his colorful mohawk) at Max’s Wine Dive in Fort Worth, Stefon Rishel bid North Texas adieu last year for a gig at a Sak’s Fifth Avenue restaurant in Houston. Now Rishel, along with his wife and 2-month-old baby girl, is back, this time at Texas Bleu Steakhouse in Keller, his hometown.

“It made the most sense for me and the family to be here,” Rishel says, adding that the restaurant group has two more concepts in the works that he’s set to oversee. As for his vision for Texas Bleu, Rishel says the goal is become a premier dining experience in North Texas. “We want to offer a quality product at a value with a great experience, from the service to the wine and food,” he says.

So far, he’s upgraded the beef and pork chops to come from Niman Ranch, and has expanded Sunday brunch to include some of the dishes he became known for at Max’s, like French toast, chilaquiles, and eggs Benedict with quail and jalapeño hollandaise sauce. “It’s great to be back because of the people. The people here are like nobody else,” Rishel says of his return. “They’re very welcoming and warm. That’s probably what I missed most when I was in Houston.” 124 S. Main St., Keller, 817-431-5188, www.texasbleu.com.

Zach Martinez

Executive chef, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Fort Worth

Zach Martinez may be new to Fort Worth, but he’s not new to Del Frisco’s. The Colorado native has been with the company since 2009, having started at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, part of Del Frisco’s restaurant group, before becoming sous-chef at Del Frisco’s in Denver.

“I’ve traveled around with the company so much and this is one of the best teams in the company,” Martinez says. “I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Since joining the location as executive chef in the fall, Martinez has made it his goal to build a tight-knit family in the kitchen (his favorite part of the day is preparing the staff meal) while continuing the Fort Worth location’s success and tradition. For those who haven’t visited Del Frisco’s in a while, he recommends adding seared foie gras, a newer offering, as an enhancement atop a steak. “We’ll continue it through January. It’s the most buttery, velvety topping you can add to a steak.” 812 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3999, www.delfriscos.com.

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