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Men of the Moment 2018

Nadia Dabbakeh, Kristie Ramirez, Rhonda Reinhart and Krystal Sarna | March 20, 2018 | Feature National

What do you get when you combine a hot chef, a major league soccer star, a race car driver and a banker-turned-jewelry designer? A fascinating quartet of disruptors who are shaping the city's social climate for the better.

The master chef behind Italian eateries Nonna, Carbone’s and Sprezza is Dallas’ main squeeze when it comes to the authentic regional cuisine of his ancestral homeland.

This month the 37-year-old opens his fourth restaurant, Fachini, in Highland Park Village.

“Fachini has been in my head for years now, just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. It’s an homage to the mid-20th century—you know, octagonal black-and-white tile floors, dark wood, lamp-shaded chandeliers, tableside service... that kind of a restaurant, but in an energetic, retro kind of way with lots of allusions to Italian-American culture. The idea is to do the kind of food that has become really ubiquitous in terms of what everyone knew as Italian food in the United States, the classics like rigatoni ala vodka and veal parmigiana. So this whole idea is just to completely celebrate Italian-American classics and do it with a completely uncompromising manner in terms of handmade food, incredible ingredients and sensational versions of classic dishes—not a broken down or abstract version of a classic, but like what we are doing with our lasagna; baked lasagna with Sunday gravy is this classic Italian-American thing, but our lasagna is going to have over 100 layers of thin pasta. So if you have the expectation of lasagna, hopefully we can up that. Or you have an expectation of something that’s as classic as veal parm, but we’ll cut it from double-cut chops, butterflied, laid out and pounded, and then made with housemade mozzarella and a great tomato sauce.”

Born and raised in Plano, the style-conscious FC Dallas midfielder—who feeds his fashion cravings with trips to Neiman Marcus and Forty Five Ten—just started his sixth season with his hometown team.

Though happy to be based in Dallas, where his friends and family are close by, the goal-oriented 22-year-old has his sights set on the international stage.
“I played multiple sports growing up, but it wasn’t until high school that I strictly focused on soccer. I started when I was 5 years old, and I’ve just loved the game ever since. Soccer was something that really took my mind off of things. I was exceeding at it and scoring a bunch of goals. That really just captured me. It’s hard to say what the most exciting moment of my career has been. First was making my debut as a professional and scoring my first goal—and playing with the national team was pretty cool as well. We didn’t qualify for the World Cup, and that hurts a lot, but it would be a dream of mine to play in a World Cup. I also want to play for a top team in Europe.”

The down-to-earth 29-year-old race car driver is fresh off the tracks of his third Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race.

Between bouncing between his family’s de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry salons in Dallas and Houston, he’s training for the biggest race of his life—24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I’ve always been an endurance athlete, but I don’t think I realized how much I enjoyed endurance racing until I did the 24 Hours of Daytona. You’re under braking [at] 4 Gs, your heart rate is 170 the whole time and it’s 140 degrees in the cockpit. You lose 6 to 8 pounds when you’re in the car. You really find a rhythm—from the pit crew to the drivers on your team to the guy buckling you in. In racing, everyone puts in a lot of effort, and you get to see the embodiment of that effort around the track. Once in the car, it’s monastic. You have this one thing you think about, and that’s moving through the field and trying to win. And that makes life really simple.”

This full-time banking executive took his childhood fascination with gems and turned it into one of the most exciting luxury jewelry collections in the city.

A curated collection of covetable jewels inspired by the fauna of Santa Fe, N.M.; China; and Japan rolls out to select luxury boutiques this year.
“I was born and raised in Laredo. Our house was on the Rio Grande, and we went across the border all the time. I went to The University of Texas, and after I graduated, I thought about moving to Mexico City but ended up in Dallas after the peso crashed. My brother was a banker, and I’ve been a banker since 2008. When I was a kid, my mother had Town & Country around the house, and I was taken with all the jewelry in it, and how you take geodes and stones and make gems out of them. In 2016, I started making this fish bracelet that was inspired by a brooch my mother had, and a friend wore it as her ‘something borrowed’ at her wedding. I started my company in January 2017 and am completing Gemological Institute of America courses. I want clients to feel they’re getting something of real value. I’m now working on some more gold designs that people can wear every day.”


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