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The Change-Up

Krystal Sarna | October 23, 2018 | Feature Features National

The new executive chef at The French Room at The Adolphus leaves his post across the pond to make waves.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a common question with a revolving answer for most, but not for Anthony Dispensa. “When I was around 11 or 12, [Houston restaurateur] Tony Vallone got me my first cookbook,” Dispensa shares. “At that point, I was like, ‘This is what I want to do’—that was it.” The chef, who’s primed his skills under Gordon Ramsay, Bradley Ogden and Lydia Shire, grew up in Houston and now returns to his Texas roots as the executive chef of The French Room at The Adolphus. What to expect with chef Dispensa at the helm of The French Room? Aside from the eight-course menu, he plans to roll out an a la carte menu and make the adjacent bar menu “a little more bistro style.” The best restaurants he’s eaten at in his life? Three-Michelin-starred The Fat Duck and Dinner at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, both by Heston Blumenthal, with whom he last worked in London, before The Adolphus tapped him. Dallasites and travelers alike have taken in their most memorable morsels under the grand chandelier inside the 19th century-styled French Room; with his local ingredient-focused approach to food, we can only expect more under Dispensa’s direction. “Maybe all my hard work was to come back to Texas,” he says. A well-deserved welcome home, indeed. 1321 Commerce St., 214.651.3615


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