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On The Menu: 7 Questions for Scott Gottlich

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The Dallas culinary scene is buzzing and chef Scott Gottlich is a big part of that. Praised by food critics, the owner and executive chef of The Second Floor and Bijoux uses seasonal ingredients with a French flair. Bijoux was named one of the Top 10 Hottest New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit and earned multiple 4-star reviews from The Dallas Morning News.

A Dallas native, Chef Gottlich works alongside his wife, sommelier and co-owner Gina Gottlich. Chef Gottlich trained at Johnson & Wales and worked under acclaimed chef Tim Goodell of Aubergine and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. His local reputation was earned as executive chef of Lola the Restaurant. Currently, Gottlich sits on the advisory committee for Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas.

I spoke to Chef Gottlich about his food philosophy, Dallas, his business partner and more:

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(Photo credit: Kevin Marple)

At Bijoux what is your favorite dish on the dinner menu, and why?
We print our menus daily so it's kind of what I'm excited about at that point in time or that day. But the thing that I've been excited about recently was the plum and Crenshaw melon salad that we made, that we put on the menu because it's just so summery, you know. We print it every day in-house, so we have the ability to change the menu every day. So it allows us to have the integrity that we want to have by being able to adapt really fast.

How would you describe your food philosophy?

We always try to have it so that each item, plate has a voice. So for instance, that's how I was talking about, you can taste the plums, you can taste the melon, you can taste greens and you can taste the vinaigrette. And not one overpowers the other, but works harmoniously and creates a kind of plate that works for us and is balanced. So we take that, and do that with every dish, whether it be a salad, dessert or entrée, and our philosophy, if you were to put it together, is you use the freshest, quality ingredients that you can use that coordinate with the season. Integrity, balance and execution of technique -- and you know, take it from there.

What's the most exciting thing about Dallas' culinary scene right now?
I guess when we started in 2006, not everyone printed menus daily or printed menus all the time. I think that's becoming more normal. I think it's got a lot of movement. That's also a sign of the times. I think the last time we saw this kind of movement was before the recession. So I think it's good. People are taking chances that they didn't take before; I think you have people trying to push the envelope. We've had success with our restaurants, people like to eat in Dallas. We like it here. We can get good products here, we can do what we want to do. I think that there's been a growth of palates and people coming in from other cities, moving here for jobs. I think the more that happens, it creates more and more opportunities for chefs. It's exciting to see that happen in Dallas. There was a period where not a lot of restaurants opened up; now it's quite a bit, so it's good.

In addition to being a co-owner, your wife is also your sommelier -- what kind of wrinkles does that add to your relationship?
First, she is unbelievable in what she does, and I couldn't ask for someone better to work with and together on projects. But you have to be able to turn it off and have a break from work and live your life. So once you learn how to do that, it's wonderful. And I wouldn't want to work with anyone else. She is very good at what she does and I respect her opinions and decisions. Just like a marriage, everybody has strengths and weaknesses, and you hope to help each other balance each other out. I think we do that. That makes it so it works at the restaurants, and we can kind of feed off each other, and we're both passionate about what we do, and excited about it, so it just creates that synergy, if you will.

You have 15 minutes; your family is hungry. What do you whip up?

In the summer months, I flip on our grill because I can have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes. Also, I do cook breakfast for them [boys, 5 & 7 years old] every morning. Sometimes, we'll even have breakfast for dinner: eggs, fried eggs or scrambled eggs, an egg sandwich. My kids are just now getting to the age where they're wanting to cook with me which is really kinda neat. Of course, they love butter noodles, like all kids, spaghetti with butter and parmesan, little garlic. Very quick things, because you only have 15 minutes before they start revolting. They're hungry. They're just like customers; they get upset if they don't get their food on time.

What do you like to do when you're not cooking?
It depends on the weather and seasonality. Usually Sunday is family day. In the summer, we like to go swimming. My boys are really active in sports. We'll toss the football in the front yard, soccer ball, play with them. We also have a garden at our house, so we do some of that. Really a lot of family time, sports and swimming.

Where was the last place you traveled?
Last place this last year was Winter Park. We go skiing once a year -- try to catch a Broncos game, and go skiing. Usually we go to Napa for some business-related event that we turn into a little bit of fun as well. If I look at where we've been over the past couple years, it's always Napa, New York, and Colorado.

Bijoux is located at 5450 W. Lovers Lane in Dallas. The Second Floor is located in the Westin Galleria at 13340 Dallas Parkway.