On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Dawn Burrell joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss both her appearance on Top Chef and her upcoming restaurant Late August. Burrell, who earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination for her work at Kulture, made it to the finals of Top Chef season 18.
The conversation touches on many aspects of Burrell's time on the show, including her motivation for joining the cast, her favorite challenges, and how her life has changed with her expanded celebrity. She also responds to those who have said she should be named Top Chef after sexual harassment allegations emerged about winner Gabe Erales.
After breaking down the show, Burrell and Sandler move on to Late August, the restaurant she'll open in partnership with Lucille's chef Chris Williams later this year. Sandler asks the chef to elaborate on the "Afro-Asian" cuisine she plans to serve there.
"What I like to say is that this is going to be food from the African diaspora with Asian techniques or flavor profiles, but we will also discover those cross sections where cuisines are similar like the useage of rice, the useage of specific vegetables, and the uses of very similar sauces and fermentation processes," Burrell says. "We're going to develop a new style, which is Afro-Asian cuisine. A lot of cultures like Guyana, they have all those flavor profiles because of migration."
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: the upcoming closures of Spanish Village and Tony Mandola's; the deal that will keep over 30 locations of Luby's open statewide; and chefs Angelo and Lucianna Emiliani's plans to open Cafe Louie in the East End.
In the restaurant of the week segment, the two hosts discuss the new, Spring Branch location of Feges BBQ. They discuss when a restaurant crosses from being a barbecue joint to being a restaurant that serves barbecue.