Ross Burtwell: An Ambassador for Texas Wines

By Ginny Bell

There is perhaps no better ambassador to the flavors of the Texas Hill Country than Chef Ross Burtwell.

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As executive chef of The Cabernet Grill, located in Fredericksburg, Texas, Burtwell is known for his Lone Star State-inspired preparations of wild game, Texas Gulf Coast wild-caught seafood and seasonal produce sourced from neighboring farms. In his recently released cookbook, Texas Hill Country Cuisine, The Cabernet Grill’s Chef Burtwell offers a culinary tour of the Texas wine country through a collection of recipes celebrating the local ingredients and vibrant flavors that inspire him.

While many Texas-inspired cookbooks tend to stick to Tex-Mex and barbecue, this book’s collection of recipes offers a diverse reflection of Texas cuisine. While there are plenty of modernized recipes for tried-and-true Texas favorites, there are also a number of recipes that embrace the rich and distinctive cultures of the Lone Star State. Burtwell ties his collection of recipes together through his use of local ingredients and traditional flavor profiles in new and interesting ways, such as in his recipes for Curried Pheasant Sausage and Apple Chowder and Maple Cured Pork Tenderloin with Candied Pecans.

While Chef Burtwell’s food has received much well deserved acclaim, it’s his decision to offer an exclusively all-Texas wine list that truly makes The Cabernet Grill distinctive. Over the past several years, the restaurant industry, especially in Central Texas, has been quick to embrace locavore style of dining. In fact, it is almost difficult to find a menu that doesn’t tout its use of local or seasonal ingredients these days. However, a surprising minority of the wine lists at these same restaurants offer even a single Texas wine – let alone an entire list devoted to the region. By emphasizing Texas wine, Burtwell has not only helped to raise the profile of Texas wineries but has also created a way for his guests to truly experience the best flavors of region.

 

As with his restaurant, Texas wine plays a starring role across the pages of Burtwell’s cookbook, which also includes a section devoted to exploring the Texas wine country. Burtwell opens each recipe with a short note detailing recommendations for both ingredients and a Texas wine pairing. With these tidbits, Burtwell helps his readers truly explore the tastes of Texas from terroir to table.

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Beautifully photographed and personal, it’s the type of cookbook that could belong on a coffee table – that is if weren’t too busy being put to use in the kitchen. A perfect addition to the cookbook collection of every Texan or Texan at heart!

Order your copy of theTexas Hill Country Cuisine: Flavors from the Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant (Creative Noggin Press) cookbook online here.

Burtwell will be doing a number of events across Texas over the next few months, starting with a food sampling and wine tasting at East End Wines on Friday, May 9. The schedule then includes the following stops around the Lone Star State.

Saturday, May 10, San Antonio, Gaucho Gourmet (food tasting)

Saturday, May 24, Tow, Fall Creek Vineyards (food and wine tasting)

Saturday, May 31, San Antonio, The Twig (food tasting, to coincide with Pearl Farmers Market)

Tuesday, June 10, Fort Worth, Winehaus

Wednesday, June 11, Dallas, Veritas

Thursday, June 12, Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg Farmers Market (cooking demo)

Saturday, June 14, Johnson City, Texas Hills Vineyard (food and wine tasting)

Friday, June 20, Houston, Houston Wine Merchant (food and wine tasting)

Saturday, June 28, Stonewall, Pedernales Cellars (food and wine tasting)

Saturday July 5, Fredericksburg, Torre di Pietra (food and wine tasting)

To experience his food in person, visit Chef Burtwell at The Cabernet Grill at The Cotton Gin in Fredericksburg.

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