Interview with Chef Richard Chamberlain, Part 1
Chef Richard Chamberlain’s cooking inspiration began on the Texas coast.
Chef Sandra: I’m Chef Sandra with A Savory Moment. In the studio today with me is Chef Richard Chamberlain. Chef Chamberlain is considered one of America’s leading chefs and is the owner of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chophouse and Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill in Dallas. He is a James Beard Award nominee and was named a Rising Star Chef by Food and Wine. Thank you for being here today.
Chef Richard: Thank you. It’s great to be here Sandra.
Chef Sandra: So Chef Chamberlain tell me, what inspired you to be a chef.
Chef Richard Chamberlain’s cooking inspiration began on the Texas coast
Chef Richard: Well Sandra I loved cooking and grew up on the coast of Texas. When I was young my dad used to take us down to the coast on weekends and we would buy the most beautiful fresh seafood, and things like shrimp, oysters, and fish. We’d bring it back and have this huge seafood fry.
And I just remember those amazing flavors of the beautiful fresh seafood. And my dad also liked to recreate dishes. He’d go out for business dinners and come home on weekends and recreate those. So those were great inspirations.
First Cooking Job at the Mansion on Turtle Creek Sealed His Future Career
Later, my mother really encouraged me to go to culinary school. And I wasn’t exactly sure if it was right but it actually got me my first big job which was at the Mansion Restaurant on Turtle Creek. That would have been late 1979 and that really changed my life as it relates to cooking; the beautiful products that we got at the mansion, the structure of the French kitchen, learning to make all the beautiful mother sauces, and really just the professionalism. It really made me decide, hey, this is the career for me.
Chef Sandra: I’m just really curious as to why your dad loved cooking so much?
Chef Richard: It was one of those things where my dad was really busy trying to earn a living for the family. And I think truly his dream was to be a restauranteur. He loved to smoke. He loved to barbecue. He talked about having a barbecue place but providing for a family of four kids really just got in the way of his dream. So he would recreate meals that he had eating out on weekends. And that’s what really I think inspired him to try those dishes and to enjoy that portion of it.
Memories of a Special Dish Cooked by His Father
I could tell that he was really inspired by it. Something as simple as I remember one time he made this really elaborate chili pie. It wasn’t a fancy meal by any stretch but it really turned out great! I can tell you that I remember that dish to this day!
Chef Sandra: That is awesome! I love that!