Nilton "Junior" Borges Jr., will be moving from Uchi to FT33. They are two of Dallas' most highly-rated restaurants.

Nilton "Junior" Borges Jr., will be moving from Uchi to FT33. They are two of Dallas' most highly-rated restaurants.

Ben Torres/Special Contributor

Consider this a win for Dallas diners: Chef Nilton "Junior" Borges, formerly of new restaurant Uchi, is sticking around Dallas. He will be the new executive chef at FT33 in the Design District.

Borges took a shocking departure from 5-star restaurant Uchi in late December. Uchi had just been named the best new restaurant in D-FW in 2015, and it seemed strange that their top toque would be looking for work so soon.

Matt McCallister, chef-owner of FT33, jumped at the opportunity. He invited Borges to cook a test-run dinner in his kitchen and quickly hired him.

With Borges' new job at FT33, he will have worked at an incredible two of the three 5-star restaurants in Dallas. 
Clash of approaches provokes a stunning chef change at 5-star Uchi

That's quite a trajectory for chef Borges, who has lived in Dallas for a little over a year. (The three 5-star restaurants in Dallas, for those keeping score at home, are Uchi, FT33 and Lucia.)

In Borges' new role, which starts Tuesday, he will run FT33's kitchen while chef-owner McCallister hops between it and his new Deep Ellum restaurant Filament. If you're looking to spot McCallister, however, best bet is to find him at FT33, where he and Borges will be working on new tasting menus and continuing the restaurant's commitment to fine-dining food using local ingredients.

Diners shouldn't expect major changes to the style of FT33. But they can expect even more food geekery from the Borges-McCallister partnership.

Borges and McCallister are already thinking with similar brains. "A lot of his style of cooking is the same as mine," McCallister says.

Despite Borges' time at Uchi, don't expect him to bring a heavy Japanese influence to FT33's menus.

"A lot of people associate me with that style of cooking," Borges says. But the Brazilian-born chef's background is in American, Mediterranean and Italian food. In fact, the Uchi job was his first stint in a Japanese kitchen. Some of Borges' previous jobs included working at Colicchio & Sons and Amali Restaurant and Bar NYC.

McCallister and Borges are already workshopping new dishes, which will be tasted, tweaked and tasted again -- sometimes dozens of times.

"We never just put something on the menu," McCallister says.

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