New Concepts–& Molecular Gastronomy–from Stephan Pyles
Before Stephan Pyles headed off to France to work as Paula Lambert’s sous chef, he spilled the beans about what’s on the horizon for his restaurant ventures.
Turns out he has more than a few new tricks up his chef jacket’s sleeves.
“A lot is happening over the next three months,” says Pyles about his restaurant group. “As the economy heads back, there’s going to be an expansion of our concepts.”
A few weeks ago, as I reported in Modern Luxury Magazine, Pyles said he was toying with the idea of opening a small diner or reincarnating the essence of Star Canyon, going as far as to scout suitable locations on Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas. Now, he says the diner is off the table, but he won’t rule out a return of Star Canyon’s New Texas Cuisine. In addition, he admits he’d like to return to the intimacy of a small restaurant, similar to Routh Street Cafe, where he can change the menu every day.
Pyles is consulting on the menu design for the restaurant of a boutique hotel called Elian, which he describes as similar to Dallas’ Hotel ZaZa. Pyles says Elian is slated to open next year.
Back on Ross Avenue, Pyles and Matt McCalister, the execuchef of Stephan Pyles (the restaurant) are getting way into molecular cuisine.
Inspired by meals at science lab kitchens such as Joes Andres’ MiniBar in D.C. and Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, the Death Star of Traditional Cooking, Pyles and McCalister attended the Madrid Fusion Summit a earlier this year. The result: a handful of seats at Stephan Pyles’ ceviche bar will soon be dedicated to a prix fixe menu featuring six or seven cutting-edge molocular treats.
Recently, Pyles told me, that’s included “reverse spherification” appetizers such as “something that resembles an olive on the outside but contains a dirty martini on the inside,” and orbs of “frozen gaspacho dipped in a sheen of cocoa butter so it dissolves in your mouth.”
Pyles is also fond of “watermelon carpaccio,” which he and McCalister create by cooking thin slices of fresh watermelon sous vide. That process breaks down the cellular structure of the watermelon then compresses it into a thin layer resembling paper-thin sheets of beef.
Pyles said he became fascinated with molecular gastronomy because “it was so foreign to my idea of cooking.”
“And it keeps my staff interested.”