In a battle for popular votes, chef Anastacia Quinones received the most support and will be the new, temporary chef at Kitchen LTO in Trinity Groves.
The restaurant is a revolving door for fickle diners -- and it's designed that way. Chefs and designers win the right to work in the kitchen for a limited number of months, then it's time for another up-and-comer's turn. Last rotation, however, chef Blythe Beck rallied to stay for two consecutive terms and won.
Southern chef Beck has not yet announced what she'll do once her job at LTO ends.
Quinones, who goes by "AQ," was a favorite in the recent competition. During a tasting among five chefs who wanted the job, AQ's trio of ceviches were a star. The other four finalists were Adrien Nieto (California-style food); Ken Patrick (Southwestern); David Rodriguez (modern Texas) and Christopher Stephens (New American).
AQ previously worked at Komali, Victor Tango's and (now closed) Alma. She worked for Traci De Jardin at Jardinière in California the year De Jardin won a James Beard Award. Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Leslie Brenner later called AQ a "local wunderkind."
Beck will serve her last dinner at LTO on May 31. Then the dining room will close for one day for a redesign by artist Crimson Shults. AQ's reign begins at dinner June 2.
You may be asking: Why would they want to keep chefs coming in and out of this kitchen? Kitchen LTO owner and founder Casie Caldwell explained back in January that diners in Dallas are fickle. Restaurants get "old."
"What if you could design a place that's ever changing and it stays fresh?" she asks. Hence the reason AQ will be in the LTO kitchen only until the end of the year.
Restaurant opens for dinner June 2. Lunch begins June 3. Chef AQ will also serve Saturday and Sunday brunch.