• Meet Chef Matt McCallister of FT33

     
    FROM THE Winter 2014 ISSUE
     

    Chef Matt McCallister opens FT33 to showcase modern, Texas-inspired cuisine.

SHORT RIB WITH HEIRLOOM BUCKWHEAT-CORN POLENTA, smoked maitake, tomato-ramp jam and kale. Cast-iron corn bread with mango chutney and hot sauce butter. Walnut tart with figs, gorgonzola, honey and white balsamic.

The unorthodox-and delectable-pairings on the menu at FT33 could be considered a reflection of chef/owner Matt McCallister’s equally unusual industry rise.

Lacking formal training, but inspired by years of cooking alongside his mother, in 2006 McCallister landed a job at Stephen Pyles Restaurant in Dallas where he ascended the kitchen hierarchy to become executive chef. Eventually, McCallister left the position, traveling and learning from some of the nation’s most notable chefs: José Andrés, Sean Brock, Grant Achatz and Daniel Boulud.

"I wanted to explore high-end restaurants and get experience in different kitchens," McCallister says. "I wanted to cook, observe and have fun."

In 2011, McCallister landed back in the Big D and paired his interests in fine art and food: He opened FT33 in the city’s up-and coming Design District. The name FT33 is derived from the chef’s penchant for yelling "fire table" as he cues the kitchen to ready the next course; 33 is the table number for the prominent table in the dining room that offers an entertaining view of the chef at work. Like the whole of the space, which can accommodate 78 seated guests for private events, the dining room is outfitted in reclaimed barn wood and industrial materials.

The menu is in perpetual flux, reflecting McCallister’s gastronomic riffs on seasonal ingredients. "We’ve grown into our style in the past year," he says.

Nickole Kerner Bobley describes her childhood in The Woodlands as charmed. Summer days were spent exploring the community just north of Houston. One of her favorite activities was watching the installation of The Woodlands’ iconic public art. She and her friends would sit in awe, perched on their bikes, as the giant cranes carefully positioned the sculptures in place. It had a lasting impact on her. “I attribute my adult love of art to where I lived,” she notes.

 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?

 

Texas is bursting with history.  Ever  wonder how the authenticity and legacy of those landmarks are maintained and upheld for everyone to enjoy? It’s thanks to individuals like Pamela Jary Rosser, Alamo conservator. A ninth generation Texan, Rosser was born in San Antonio and has a degree in fine arts and art history. She studied conservation in Italy with a team that worked on the Sistine Chapel, as well as Mission Concepcion and Mission San Jose. Rosser was kind enough to share her passion for history with us.