Chef/Partner, Fearing’s Restaurant
Chef Dean Fearing himself stands tall, confident and charismatic. On his chef jacket is a colorful embroidered image of his much-beloved Lucchese cowboy boots – he has 28 pair and counting. (If that doesn’t say something about his personality, then what will?) His personal involvement in the restaurant is evident as he glides back and forth from the kitchen to his guests, all with a smile. Long known as the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine,” there is no mistake: Chef Fearing has a passion for what he does.
Fearing credits his passion for food to days spent in his grandmother’s kitchen, learning her classic Southern secrets and the most important cooking technique he employs to date: how to use an iron skillet. Chef Fearing has spent his life cooking for people who love good food.
“A lot of things inspire me in the kitchen, but the final plate … the way it tastes, the way it looks, the customer’s reaction – all of those are what gets me up in the morning,” Fearing said. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he spent 20-plus years at The Mansion at Turtle Creek. He still treasures and uses Granny Fearing’s recipes today at his namesake restaurant: Fearing’s.
Located in the chic Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Fearing’s boasts seven distinct dining venues, each with an individual ambiance, but all an elegant combination of luxury and classic southern comfort. In the same way the restaurant offers variety to his guests, the menu is continually changing to reflect Fearing’s dining concept: “Bold Flavors, No Borders.” Fearing’s acclaimed farm-to-market seasonal menu offers guests a new generation of highly-flavorful dishes and an interactive display kitchen offers ringside seating for true foodies. His innovation both on the floor and in the kitchen has not gone unnoticed.
Esquire Magazine named Fearing’s “Restaurant of the Year” and “Table of the Year” in 2007 – the same year it opened. Zagat designated it No. 1 in Hotel Dining in the U.S. for 2009. And the most recent, perhaps most impressive of awards to-date, Hotel Magazine ranked Fearing’s as one of the top 10 great restaurants in the world – one of two in North America to be included on this esteemed list for 2009. Fearing’s has also received accolades from The New York Times, Newsweek, Food and Wine, Texas Monthly, and Modern Luxury, among others. Chef Fearing was presented with the April 2009 Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance by Food Arts, and he also received a James Beard Foundation nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2007.
“In the old days, the hotel restaurant was a very exclusive fine-dining restaurant. And I think I changed all of that with this design … We are not that quiet, tuxedo-clad, fine dining restaurant, but we are a great restaurant. We use Rosenthal bone china, Riedel glassware and HEPP silver – all of our appointments are the best money can buy. But it’s an atmosphere with no rules, no dress code – you eat the way you want,” Fearing said.
When not in the kitchen, Fearing is often found strumming his vintage Fender Telecaster guitar, one of an impressive collection, playing songs from the “Bliss and Blisters” CD he has released with his all-chef alternative country band, The Barbwires, including Robert Del Grande of Restaurant RDG. A self-proclaimed “born-again Texan,” he also enjoys searching the Texas countryside for culinary inspiration. The state’s rich variety of peppers, dried chilies, jicama, cilantro, tomatillos, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, Gulf seafood and Hill Country wild game play a major role in his ever-changing cuisine.
The exuberant Dean Fearing was winner of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for “Best Chef in the Southwest” and diners from across the country flock to Dallas to experience his signature dishes. Current menu highlights include flavorful Tortilla Soup, Barbecued Shrimp Tacos, Rib Eye Mopped over Live Mesquite, Maple-Black Peppercorn-Soaked Buffalo Tenderloin, and Pan-Roasted “BBQ-Spiced” Filet with Chicken-Fried Maine Lobster, which has been described as a genuine “taste of Texas.”
While Fearing’s list of achievements could go on, it’s time to get to the main course. View the current menu, try your hand at one of Dean’s world-famous recipes, or head on over to the shop to order some of Fearing’s specialty products.