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Chef Tim Love - Austin FOOD & WINE Festival

Tim Love: The National Chef of Texas

By Andrew Harper Staff

The Harper Way | July 8, 2014

Tim Love is surely one of the busiest men in the culinary world at the moment. With Love's appearances across the country at various FOOD & WINE Festivals, a new television program called “Restaurant Startup” on CNBC with Joe Bastianich and a handful of restaurants, an Andrew Harper staff member was lucky to catch up with the bold, light-hearted crowd favorite at the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival in April. While hundreds lined up outside of a barricaded pavilion to be part of one of Love’s grilling demonstrations, the chef graciously took the time to share some of his favorite culinary inspirations, travel destinations and Texas restaurants.

Fort Worth-based Love serves “urban western cuisine” at his five restaurants, dishing up deliciously satisfying items from modern steakhouse plates to dynamic takes on wild game. In recent years, Love has become a fixture on Bravo’s “Top Chef” series, NBC’s “Today Show” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The chef has received accolades and praise from publications across the country, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. We look forward to watching Love’s new program, "Restaurant Startup," which premieres on CNBC, July 8, at 10 PM ET.

Interview with Tim Love

Chef Tim LoveANDREW HARPER STAFF (AHS): You are a chef with deep Texas roots. You grew up here and your restaurants are here. Are there any other places that have inspired and informed the way that you cook?

TIM LOVE: Absolutely. I used to spend my summers in Cookeville, Tennessee. My dad had a farm there, so that’s actually where I gained most of my food knowledge. His property has almost every domesticated animal there is. I had a big garden as a kid and grew a lot of vegetables. Growing up though, it was one of my chores, unfortunately, so it was nothing exciting for me. I get a lot of inspiration from that.

AHS: Do you have a favorite food city outside of Fort Worth?

TL: Yeah! Nashville I really like a lot. Austin, of course, I love. The obvious: New York. I go there a lot. But I really enjoy going to Nashville these days.

AHS: What’s going on in Nashville? Are there any restaurants that you’re excited about?

TL: Husk is really great there in the city. It’s one of my favorite ones. There’s a place called The 404 that just opened up recently. It’s really nice and very fun. We’re also doing a FOOD & WINE Festival there. It’s just a great little city.

AHS: You spend a lot of time in Texas and in the U.S., but have you ever had a meal that you would be willing to travel across the world for?

TL: I had a grilled lobster in Florence one time with this unbelievable tomato sauce on it. I mean, I would probably go back for it – well, actually, I have. (Laughs) It was really delicious. I remember the first time I ever had limoncello there; it was actually homemade by somebody. It was at the end of my meal, and it was off the charts. It was really good.

The more things I can try, the more flavors I can get, and that way, the more exciting things can get.

AHS: You’ve been called a “veritable meat master” – or at least you were called that on the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival site – because you work with meats from kangaroo to rattlesnake. Is there anything you would never try?

TL: Absolutely not. I’ll try anything. I love cooking meat. I especially love cooking over a fire. The more things I can try, the more flavors I can get, and that way, the more exciting things can get.

AHS: We are really curious about what your take on Fort Worth is. What would you tell any first-time visitor to Fort Worth to do?

TL: If you want to go to Texas, you go to Fort Worth. If you want to go to a big city, you go to Dallas. What Fort Worth is is so true to its roots. It has got such world-class museums, and the culture there is really big and, at the same time, the cowboy heritage never goes away. It’s not unusual to see people in boots and hats, and that’s just what it is. People ride horses, and that’s what we do. It’s this great representation of what people imagine Texas to be. It’s amazing that it has always stayed that way.

AHS: Is there anywhere that you would tell someone to grab a quick lunch, or a cocktail….

TL: Um, aside from...

AHS: Aside from your spots, of course!

TL: (Laughs) Good. Yeah, aside from my spots. I’ll tell you, Joe T. Garcia’s is amazing for lunch. You can sit outside on the patio. I mean, it’s the most beautiful setting there is in Fort Worth, probably. I also like Fireside Pies. It’s really good for lunch. For dinner, I’d send people to Grace. It’s downtown. I’d also send people to...Oh! There’s Revolver Taco if it’s open. They have the weirdest hours, but the food is amazing. It takes a long time to eat, but the food is worth it. There’s really nothing like it, because there’s this old lady back there who cooks everything. It’s insane. So I’d check that out, too.

AHS: I know you’re a very busy man. You have your own T.V. show on CNBC – "Restaurant Startup" and five restaurants – but the next time you have a chance to travel, where are you going?

TL: Spain. I’m definitely going to Spain next with my wife, and we’re just going to eat and drink our way to oblivion.

Enjoy other posts from our Summer Food and Drink Series.

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