Top Knot's 33-year-old chef de cuisine Angela Hernandez has serious chops – with a resume that includes positions at L'Atelier by Joël Robuchon and Allen and Delancey in New York and the Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles. She opened Flores, a contemporary American small-plates place, in 2013 as co-executive chef, working alongside her then-husband Rob Lawson (the other co-executive chef). The following year, the Austin native returned to her home town, where she worked as sous chef at Uchiko.
Last year she came to Dallas to develop and open Top Knot, the casual small plates restaurant upstairs from Uchi – and earned four stars in a review. The following day, she sat with me at the restaurant and talked about developing the restaurant, her creative process the dish that took four months to get just right and more.
"It was intimidating," she told me. "It is intimidating because we want to succeed; we want to do well. This is the first opportunity for me as . . . chef of a restaurant of this caliber."
Before opening, she says, there was no specific plan about what the restaurant would be – and she had a luxurious span of time to create it, working together with sous chefs Rusty Hicks and Alex Astranti, both of whom had been sous chefs downstairs at Uchi.
"We were four months in development here," she says, "which is very rare."
Hungry to hear more about Hernandez' experience and process? The full-length, uncut video follows.