Tre Wilcox

Chef

Dallas

After working his way up the food chain at the popular eatZi’s market in Dallas, Tre Wilcox landed positions at Toscana and then Kent Rathbun’s Abacus before attending the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and Alain Ducasse’s training center in Paris. You’ll likely recognize him from Top Chef (season three) and Iron Chef America, though Dallas locals know him as the former executive chef at Village Marquee Grill. He joined Marquee Grill in 2011, but left in January 2013 to focus on his private cooking lessons. However, the chef says that a new restaurant of his own is in the not-so-distant future.

  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What are the best neighborhoods in Dallas?

    I like the Arts District area. The restaurants there are not really thriving or doing killer business or anything like that, but I like the Arts District. That’s a cool, fun area. I like the Highland Park feel.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What are the best restaurants in Dallas?

    For steak, I go to Charlie Palmer or Al Biernat’s. For foodie stuff, I go to Lucia. I also go to Driftwood, Smoke.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What are the best places for brunch in Dallas?

    For brunch, I go to Marquee Grill, Smoke and Boulevardier. Boulevardier is one of my favorite brunch spots. I go there a lot. It’s in the Bishop Arts District.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Hayley Bosch is now following Tre Wilcox
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What are the best hotels in Dallas?

    In Dallas, you stay at the new Omni, The Ritz-Carlton, the Crescent hotel or The Mansion. The Mansion’s top of the line, and if you’ve got the dollar for it, it’s worth it. I’ve done some stay-cations there.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What is the best time to visit Dallas?

    My favorite time of year in Dallas is probably spring. I like the spring because it hasn’t gotten to that vicious summer, and it’s starting to warm up slightly. I like weather that’s between 50 and 70 degrees. We get that for a short time.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What are the best things to do in Dallas?

    The new park we have is pretty awesome, the Klyde Warren. You’ve got to go to Cowboys Stadium and watch some kind of game. Plus, you’ve got to go do the shopping rounds. I can’t say enough that Highland Park Village is the bomb. The shopping is pretty significant here — NorthPark Center, Highland Park Village, West Village. We’ve got some good malls and shops. NorthPark is pretty phenomenal. Highland Park has some pretty exclusive stores. After you get your shop on, the food scene is good here. We’ve got plenty of restaurants to choose from. When you ask what to do in Dallas, the first two things people say are eat and shop.

    But there are more things than that. The Arts District downtown is pretty good, but I wish there was more art that wasn’t behind closed doors. My daughter and I walk down there; I live in the One Arts Plaza area right there. It’s a pretty area, the opera house is great and all that; but there are so many other cities where you can walk and see the art that’s already on the street. In Dallas, you’ve got to pay a fee.

    That new museum is supposed to be pretty awesome, it’s called the Perot. I haven’t gone or taken my daughter to see it yet, but I’ve heard people say you’ve got to by tickets days in advance because they’re selling out. I talked to several people who also said that in one day, they only got one floor covered — and the place is like five floors. I’m waiting for it to cool down before I go because it’s a zoo right now. That museum has definitely kicked it up a notch. It’s right by the park. Dallas is trying to build up that downtown area, so it has a bit more denser day traffic and denser places that tourists can visit.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Andi Berens is now following Tre Wilcox
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What keeps Tre Wilcox passionate about cooking?

    I enjoy people. Some chefs can be really introverted. They want to stay in the kitchen, and then you have other chefs who can’t play the game. You’ve got both kinds. At the end of the day, I like being that chef who comes out to talk to people after he’s been in the kitchen, who demonstrates in front of a group of five or 50 and teaches — that’s the keyword, teaches. I have a passion for cooking and teaching.

    My name is Tre, and it’s the catchphrase I use for my cooking concepts — Technique, Recipes and Execution. That’s what my classes are; that’s my philosophy. Cooking is one of those things you’re trying to learn how to do, but you don’t need to learn the recipe. The recipe is a guideline. You do need the guideline for the ingredients you should gather, but there may be some stuff that you don’t like. You don’t like garlic or you’re allergic to shellfish, so that changes your list and that’s your recipe. The technical training of knowing how to make something is really going to make that dish happen. I focus on teaching people the techniques. I like it when people feel like you just gave them something that they can use.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What is Tre Wilcox’s next project?

    I resigned from Marquee Grill to go back into private chefing. I’ve already started private classes at home, and I’m going to do more. I have a partnership with a market in the city called Central Market, where I’ll be doing continual cooking classes at a lot of its locations. I’ll also be doing some things with other publications and partnerships. Private chefing basically lets me do anything. It’s hard to call up a chef running a restaurant to say, “Hey, can you come over and cook for 10 people on Saturday night?” He’s like, “No! I’m going to be at work.” I fill that void right there. While I’ve been at Marquee Grill in the Park Cities/Highland Park area, there have been a lot of people foaming at the mouth to have me come cook in their home. It’s a very nice experience. I want to do that and take a break.

    I’m a single father, and my daughter lives with me. At this age, it’s pretty important that I’m establishing a really strong relationship with her and putting myself as the go-to, number one person before she crosses into teenage life. Restaurant life for a chef makes it very challenging to be engaged with a family or even a significant other. I’m going to go ahead and make that sacrifice for her. I know there will be people who want me to cook for them. That will keep me afloat financially, then looking on down the line, I’ll be moving into my own restaurant.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What does Tre Wilcox love most about being a chef?

    Working with my little brothers and cooking next to them is like playing a sport together. It’s really fun. People always say to me when I come out in the dining room, “Y’all are really busting your butt back there,” and I say, “Man, we’re just having fun.” It’s a good game, and people are like, “What’s the game?” I’m like, “Y’all are the competition. We get as many people as we can get in here, and we’re trying to win your approval and say, ‘This is one of the best dishes we’ve had.’” It’s winning you — that’s what we’re trying to win. It’s done on a person-by-person basis. I do it because I love it. I love cooking, seeing what I can do with food and manipulating it to turn it into something that’s delicious and spectacular presentation-wise.

    For the last 10 years, I’ve worked in open-faced kitchens where I can look out into the dining room. So when I make something, like a particular dish from beginning to end, I can watch it go out to the table and keep doing what I’m doing in the kitchen. I keep looking up every once in a while and see that person with pure joy on their face. To cap it all off, I watch the busboy pick up the plate and run it to the kitchen, and all I see is a clean plate with some swirl marks in it.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What does Tre Wilcox always have in his refrigerator?

    I don’t cook at home. I have an 11-year-old daughter, and when I pick her up from school, she comes to the restaurant and we’ll make her something here and take it home. When it’s date night, we’ll go out and we’ll eat dinner. I can’t tell you the last time I cooked at home.

    I teach private cooking classes at my home, so that’s about the only time I am cooking anything in my kitchen, and that’s for someone else. There’s just something about doing it for a living that you don’t want to go home and do it too much.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What’s Tre Wilcox’s favorite airline?

    American Airlines — I go consistently with them because of miles. If there are any issues with flight delays and stuff like that, it does a good job of reaching out to me or I get an email and receive some miles. American shows that it’s genuinely sorry. I’ve always been wary of flying a lot of different airlines, just because I’m not familiar with what the seats would be like. I know with American what I’m going to be sitting in. I’ve flown some different flights before where I didn’t enjoy the seats.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What does Tre Wilcox wear when he travels?

    A go-to travel outfit for me is jeans and comfortable loafers that I can slip on and off. I’ll have sandals in my backpack. If the plane’s not too cold, I’ll put my sandals on — especially for overseas travel. I also wear a dress shirt, cuff it up at the sleeves, and I pack a light jacket, too. When I used to travel a lot, I always was told to dress like a professional.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Tre Wilcox answered the question: Tre Wilcox

    What does Tre Wilcox always travel with?

    I’m a big backpack guy. I grew up in a military family, and my dad said, “Backpacks will be your source of life.” If you lost everything, but you had your bag packed the proper way, you should be able to survive. If I go places and they’re like, “Can I take your bag?,” I clench it. Even during car rides, someone will say, “Throw that in the trunk, throw that in the backseat.” I’m like, “No, it stays with me.” Besides the backpack, I always travel with my vitamins. I can’t leave my vitamins and my supplements.