First of all, let’s clear it up: Wolfgang Puck is not the new chef at Café Modern, as some in Fort Worth have tended to believe. However, the celebrity chef’s self-proclaimed catering company has taken over the soon-to-reopen Modern’s restaurant food and beverage program.
Heading the kitchen, California-born Executive Chef Jett Mora has spent years working with Puck and his team of chefs to create menus for corporate galas, weddings and special events.
Mora answers five quick questions:
FW: You moved to Fort Worth some time ago to start planning for the reopening of Café Modern. Where did you eat that blew you away?
JM: I’m staying in the River District, next to Heim BBQ. But I still like to try the original location of a restaurant. So I went to the original on Magnolia and waited and stood in line – and absolutely loved it. I didn’t want to do it all at once, so I didn’t try everything. But the sausages and pork ribs were exceptional. I can not wait to return to.
FW: You take over a restaurant known for a menu that changes with the seasons and focuses on local and regional ingredients. How does this harmonize with your cooking style?
JM: I don’t know how to cook otherwise. In a short time here, I have already contacted local farmers, hoping to cultivate relationships. Seeing the products first and seeing what’s fresh – it’s etched in me. In the spring we have peas and asparagus. In summer, it’s corn and tomatoes. It is the cycle of life and the only way to cook.
FW: The menu hasn’t been finalized yet, but can you share some of the planned dishes?
JM: We will definitely be making some fresh pasta. I took it upon myself to make whole grain pasta from scratch. I am also thinking of a cacio e pepe paste, but a healthier version. There will also be salads and sandwiches. We’ll see what ingredients come into play. There will be a little bit of me in there. My personal wheelhouse is Asian cuisine, so you’ll see Asian-inspired dishes here and there. I have a repertoire of proven Wolfgang Puck recipes. Of course, we will be aware of what our customers like and dislike, and we will adjust accordingly. But we will also push the boundaries. I am open to new ideas. I would love to collaborate with other chefs. My kitchen is open.
FW: You walked into the kitchen a little later in life.
JM: I have been in the world of finance and real estate for years. And then in 2007 – 2008 when the recession hit, I took a step back to think about what makes me happy and what makes me feel worthy, and to be honest that wasn’t the world. of finance. Food is the ultimate binder. It’s something that brings us all together. It speaks to me more than just sitting in a booth.
FW: What was the wisest piece of advice Wolfgang gave you?
JM: Whatever you choose to do, do it with passion. Put your heart in it. Or it’s not worth it.
Café Modern is expected to reopen in May. themodern.org