Chef Scott Gottlich
Bijoux | Dallas
A Dallas native, Scott Gottlich began his culinary career
as the most adventurous eater in his parents’ kitchen where
he always perceived food as a complete and sensual experience rather
than mere physical necessity. After earning his culinary arts degree
at Johnson and Wales, Scott moved to California to work at the 40-seat
Aubergine under Chef Tim Goodell. Gottlich shared Goodell’s
passion for French technique and under his mentor, honed his skills
creating tasting menus around both seasonal and unusual ingredients.
After a year as Chef de Partie on fish, Gottlich
moved on to New York and Le Bernardin, where Scott learned
from Chef Eric Ripert's ability to manage and execute a large kitchen
through serious, intense organization. There, Chef de Cuisine Chris
Muhler ran a team of almost 30 cooks and Gottlich saw first-hand
how Muhler orchestrated the flow of the kitchen and maintained Ripert's
incredibly high standards in every aspect of the restaurant - from
the reception of products to methods of production. With a clear
sense that food quality and integrity comes first, Gottlich returned
for another stint with Tim Goodell at Aubergine, this time
as Executive Sous Chef.
At 26, Goodell left to pursue his other restaurants,
and Gottlich quickly learned how to run the kitchen before returning
home to Dallas in 2003 as Executive Chef of Lola. There,
Gottlich got to know the Dallas market, its staff and purveyors
bringing food costs to historical lows at the restaurant while increasing
standards and sales.
Scott left Lola to consult with veteran
restaurateur Alberto Lombardi at Cafe Toulouse before taking
on the executive chef position at Bijoux, where he has
a way of gently balancing the often underappreciated flavors of
bitterness and acidity to create grown-up dishes that direct the
palate’s attention to just a few specific flavors. Products
like skate wing and pork belly are refined by Gottlich’s technical
precision with temperature and texture, resulting in crisp skins
and tender centers. While the menu is rooted in French and Italian
classics, like a simple Cippolini onion soup that celebrates intense,
bright, and clean flavors of mushroom and onion, Gottlich enhances
his menu with international flavors like red Thai curry without
losing his strong sense of culinary identity or confusing the diner.
AB: Where have you worked professionally as a chef?
SG: I’ve worked all over
the place. I was at Le Bernardin in New York for a while
and at Aubergine with Tim Goodell in California before
AB: Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring cooks? Do you
hire chefs with and without a culinary school background?
SG: I went to Johnson and Wales and graduated in 2000. I made the
effort to go to school so I think it’s pretty important.
AB: Who are some of your mentors? What have you learned from them?
SG: Tim Goodell of Aubergine
taught me a lot of technique. Eric Ripert taught me the art of execution
and organization of very high cuisine. Chris Muehler, the ex-sous
chef at Le Bernardin, is also one of my mentors.
AB: What question gives you
the most insight to a cook when you’re interviewing them for
a position in your kitchen?
SG: I want to know the last
cookbook they read and what books they are reading in general. I
need to know that they are interested in learning.
AB: What advice would you
offer young chefs just getting started?
SG: You need to figure out
what sector of the food industry you want to be in. You might fit
in a little independent place, or a muti-unit hotel. It just depends
on your personality and work style. You also need to be a leader
and a good teacher but also be able to step back and let your team
be part of the process.
AB: Which chefs do you consider
to be your peers?
SG: Stephan Pyles, and the
people at Aurora, Mansion on Turtle Creek, and
Iris in Dallas.
AB: Is there any ingredient
that you feel is particularly under appreciated or under utilized?
SG: I love thyme, garlic, and
shallots. My favorite ingredients are simple and straight forward.
I like to try to discover things that people don’t use quite
as often and work with them like Skate or Hake.
AB: What are a few of your favorite flavor combinations?
SG: I like flavors all mixed
up: bitter, sweet, sour, and salty. Blood orange and endive, for
example, is really dynamic.
AB: What’s your most
indispensable kitchen tool?
SG: The Vita-Prep blender is
good. I like that you can make your purées, oils, almost
anything in it. It’s very versatile. It’s much easier
than the blenders we grew up on. It spins so fast it doesn’t
damage the product. I like the Pacojet for sorbets.
AB: Describe a culinary technique
that you have either created of borrowed and use in an unusual way.
SG: We use a double searing
technique for our braised pork belly. Starting with uncured bacon,
we sear it slowly, braise it in stock, chill it, cut it down to
the desired size, and hold it for service. Then we sear it for service
and bring it back up to temperature.
AB: What are your favorite cookbooks?
Gastronomique has almost everything you need as a base and
you can manipulate the information as you see fit.
AB: Where would you like to
go for culinary travel? Why?
SG: Anywhere in France because
I haven’t eaten in France. Spain would be great too.
AB: What are your favorite
restaurants-off the beaten path-in your city?
SG: I loved Iris and
the food that Matt Bresnan put out there, but unfortunately it just
closed on Saturday. Cantina Laredo is great for Mexican
food, and El Camarone on Maple and King has great papusas.
AB: What trends do you see emerging in the restaurant industry
SG: There are a lot more tasting
menus and pre fixe options out there, you’re even seeing it
at TGI Friday's!
AB: What is your philosophy
on food and dining?
SG: Simplicity. Multiple levels
of flavor and texture accentuate your technique but don't overdo
it with flavors on the plate: take three things and really showcase
AB: If you weren’t a chef what do you think you’d be
SG: I was going to go to law
school so maybe a lawyer.
AB: What does success mean for you? What will it look like for
SG: In five years I’d
like to have more restaurants; maybe a more casual bistro. Mostly
I just want to build and expand upon the Bijoux family.
AB: How are you involved in
your local culinary community?
SG: I try to donate to charitable
causes. I also try to stay away from Chilean Sea Bass and other
over-fished products because chefs should be concerned about maintaining
a balance of what they put in and take out of the world.
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