Beloved for a hearty cuisine encompassing everything from an innovative red snapper recipe to sublime donuts, Fort Worth-based chef Tim Love is known to TV audiences for his appearances on the Today show and his stint on Restaurant Startup.
His culinary empire includes Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Queenie’s Steakhouse, and Love Shack, as well as the storied White Elephant Saloon. He sat down with Hook & Barrel to talk snapper and hush puppies, and to pay tribute to the one and only Queen (his mom).
Hook & Barrel: How does your red snapper recipe surprise, and upend expectations?
Tim Love: We do a snapper “on the half shell” with margarita sabayan. Very Texas and very good. (See recipe on page TK)
H&B: In which of your restaurants is it on the menu?
TL: It’s at Woodshed and Lonesome Dove, depending on the season.
H&B: When did you know that the gourmet donut trend was a thing?
TL: I don’t do things based on trends, but we created Back Dough from a conversation where I just came up with the name. It originally was going to be pizza and doughnuts out the back door. But the doughnuts have really taken off.
H&B: I saw that Queenie’s Steakhouse is a tribute to your mother. How so? Did she teach you to cook?
TL: My mother’s name is Queenie Love. She did teach me how to cook in order to survive, but not much else. I named the restaurant after her for a million reasons, but the most important one is that I wanted her to forever be enshrined for all the greatness she has provided me and my brothers and sisters all of our lives. She is the Queen for sure.
H&B: What was the most memorable thing that happened during Restaurant Startup?
TL: This is a large question, but probably when I offered $1 million and got turned down only to find out that the deal fell through. The best thing about Restaurant Startup was everything that you learn from young hungry people and discovering real passion.
H&B: If you were to sit down and have an indulgent meal from one of your menus, what would you order?
TL: I would order the hamachi tostadas, lobster hush puppies, deviled crab and grilled oysters. And a 20-ounce ribeye with cook’s butter and grilled foie gras with fresh grilled langoustines from New Zealand. And lots of wine.
H&B: You’ve nurtured community, especially at Woodshed Smokehouse. Beyond the gastronomy, why is building community there so important to you, and how does a venue succeed in encompassing a natural and spontaneous feeling?
TL: People make a community and so the most important thing is to make people feel like they belong. At Woodshed, I created a restaurant that reminded me of the Sunday BBQ that I have at my house with my friends every Sunday that I’m home. No invitations, you just know that if I’m in town then it’s happening. Come if you can, but don’t get mad because I didn’t invite you. No one is invited, but everyone is welcome.