If France and Dallas met each other out one night and one thing led to another (those accents get you every time) you would most likely end up with a bun in le oven similar to the culinary genius behind CBD Provisions, chef Richard Blankenship. Serving up dishes like Salt and Pepper Pig Tails with house kimchi; TX Beef Tartar with guajillo, black garlic, fried peanuts, grated egg; and Roasted Gulf Snapper with rutabaga, rye berries, citrus, carrot-lime jus (just to name a few), longtime Dallas resident Blankenship has a dual citizenship at this modern Texas brasserie, and he ain’t afraid to use it. He took some time out of the kitchen to answer our questions about what goes on inside his.
1. What’s an underrated food city and why?
San Antonio, Texas. They have standout restaurants like Hot Joy and Cured, and there is a branch of the Culinary Institute of America there that is pumping out talented people every day. It reminds me of what Austin’s food scene was like 10 to 15 years ago; it’s the food city to watch.
2. What food/food trend are you tired of?
Anything plated with tweezers.
3. How do you feel about Yelp?
Two of our most recent Yelp “reviews” for CBD Provisions are for a donut shop and a mechanic, for which I have no good explanation. They gave us one star each. Like with any sort of user-generated content, you have to take it all with a grain of salt. We’ll accept good, critical information from anywhere, Yelp included, but our favorite is when we receive direct guest feedback in the restaurant.
4. If your kitchen is burning down, what’s the one gadget you save?
I’d save Archibald, our sourdough starter. “Archie” for short. We make all our own bread, yogurt, buttermilk, fermented peppers in-house; all that stuff takes years to cultivate the flavors and specific nuances. You can re-buy any destroyed gadgets, but I would cry at the loss of Archie.
5. Your guilty pleasure food?
McDonald’s breakfast. The bacon egg and cheese sandwich in particular. I won’t mess with the McGriddle.
6. If you could cook for one person—who would it be and what would you make them?
My dad who passed away when I was young, and if I could expand the table, it would include all my fallen family and those who never saw me be successful as a chef. I’d cook them everything.
7. What are five ingredients that are always in your pantry?
Salt, good olive oil, pork rinds, sherry vinegar, and whiskey
8. What’s the biggest mistake home cooks make?
Trying to make restaurant food at home. Just keep it simple.
9. What’s the best advice you ever received?
Create your own personal standard for everything—quality, professionalism, etc.—that is independent of where you work and whom you work for. This is the secret to becoming a chef who can span across kitchens, markets, and continents.