I credit Janice Provost, chef/owner of Parigi with getting me excited about Dallas restaurants, chefs, and our impressive food scene. Her story of reinventing herself as a chef after a successful career in the telecom industry inspired me to have greater faith in myself during my own career second act. I think that’s appropriate because her success is the kind that’s shared. The 32-year-old neighborhood bistro is rocking along under her leadership; she also founded the The Parigi Scholarship Endowment Fund which offers educational assistance to culinary and hospitality students at El Centro Community College. Parigi has been part of the State Fair of Texas opening day for over 15 years – how’s that for a story?
Each chef who appears in the celebrity kitchen (in the Creative Arts Building) at the fair will share a story, demo something yummy to eat, and share samples with you. This isn’t new at the fair, but this year you’ll see some familiar faces as well as representatives of some of the best restaurants in Dallas and a couple of the newest ones.
Three or four celebrity chefs make presentations each day of the fair. This year’s lineup includes a few you’ve seen on TV – John Tesar (Knife) and Tiffany Derry (Roots Chicken Shack) to name a few. Other well-known and much-loved Dallas chefs include Chris Patrick (Abacus), Graham Dodds (The Statler), David Pena (Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House), and so many more. Some of the most elegant Dallas restaurants – Uchi, Salum, Mirador, The Tower Club, Bullion, Fearings, and Perle on Maple – will be featured too.
I know the State Fair is synonymous with corny dogs and fried food, but here in the Cutco Celebrity Kitchen, you’ll find another whole world of can’t-miss fair food. See the full schedule here.
#8 – The Big Tex Choice Awards Winners Look Absolutely Fabulous
The Big Tex Choice awards have been honoring favorite fair food for almost 15 years, and every year, the winners look better and better. This year’s Cotton Candy Taco (most creative) might be the most creative dish I’ve ever seen take this prize. I was rooting for Arroz Con Leche, a sweet crispy rice dish, early on, and sure enough, it took the prize for best sweet taste. This year, for the first time, I have more than half a dozen sweet treats on my must-have fair food list. It’s a good thing I have a season pass – I’m gonna have to make several trips to eat them all (and walk off the calories.)