Chef Chat, Part 1: Adam West of Monarch

Eating Our Words recently sat down with Adam West, the newly appointed chef of the Monarch at Hotel ZaZa, on a gorgeous afternoon to talk about his culinary background and how it feels to cook for sitcom stars.

Eating Our Words: Hi Adam. We hear that you have only been in Houston for a short period of time, so we would like to begin by welcoming you to our great city. What do you think so far?

Adam West: Thank you. I have been working nonstop since I got here so unfortunately I haven't had much time to explore the city.

EOW: Tell us about your culinary background.

AW: I was born and raised in Dallas. In high school, I took a job as a dishwasher. Then I worked as a line cook at the Fairmont Hotel. I enjoyed the kitchen, so I decided to go to culinary school.

EOW: Where did you go?

AW: El Centro in Dallas. Then I began an apprenticeship in 2004 as chef de partie at The Legacy Grill at the Westin Stonebriar Resort in Frisco. Then I took a job as sous chef at Jeroboam Urban Brasserie, which was French cuisine. I was there until it closed. Literally. Then I went to Dragonfly, where I was chef de cuisine.

EOW: I hear Jessica Simpson loves to eat at Dragonfly.

AW: Yes, she did. I cooked for her a few times. She was always in really tall heels.

EOW: Bet you didn't think Jessica Simpson would come up in our interview.

AW: No, I didn't.

EOW: No, but seriously, I know there is a big celebrity clientele at Dragonfly, so do you have any fun stories you would like to share?

AW: I've cooked for a lot of famous people. A lot of Cowboys, stars, athletes. But my favorite celebrity encounter was with Danny Tanner of Full House. He was so raunchy.

EOW: Full House in the house? That's a great story. And yes, we've seen his stand-up. He's a dirty man.

AW: Yeah, I'd seen his stand-up, too, but nothing prepares you for hearing Danny Tanner's mouth in person. He was a really cool guy. I really enjoyed meeting him.

EOW: You just revamped basically the whole menu at Monarch. The old favorites are still there, but you really got a lot of creative freedom. What were your inspirations?

AW: Things that make sense to me. Seasonal foods. I always try to focus on food when it's at the peak of its season. If it makes sense to me, I'll put it on the menu. If it goes out of season, or the customers aren't liking it, then I'll change it.

In the next installment, we'll discuss the whole celeb-a-chef trend and try to make Adam pinpoint his type of cuisine.

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