The creator of Fearing’s Restaurant and its “Elevated American Cuisine – Bold Flavors, No Borders,” chef/partner Dean Fearing has developed one of the hottest dining concepts in the country. Named “Restaurant of the Year” and “Table of the Year” by Esquire Magazine, No. 1 in Hotel Dining in the U.S. by the prestigious Zagat Survey, and nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Best New Restaurant, Fearing’s has received countless accolades from The New York Times, Newsweek, Food and Wine, Garden & Gun, Texas Monthly, and Modern Luxury, among others. Chef Fearing has been recognized as a “Pioneer of American Cuisine” by The Culinary Institute of America and presented with the Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance by Food Arts. His namesake restaurant has created an ongoing buzz with its seven distinct dining venues, acclaimed farm-to-table seasonal menu, and the personal presence of Fearing himself.
Long known as the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” and now the creator of a generation of highly-flavorful dishes, Chef Dean Fearing has spent his life cooking for people who love good food. After 20-plus years at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, he opened Fearing's in August 2007 at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. A reflection of his personal vision and design, the lively, comfortable restaurant features seven stylish dining settings, including the most distinctive alfresco experience in Dallas and a popular interactive display kitchen offering ringside seating for true foodies.
The son of a Kentucky innkeeper, Dean Fearing grew up with grandmothers who knew all about food and who appreciated the finer details of Southern cooking and barbecue. He still uses and treasures their recipes, and they remain one of the most important inspirations of his culinary life. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he can be spotted in Fearing’s wearing a signature crisp white chef’s coat with colorful boot embroidery, blue jeans and brightly-hued, custom-tooled Lucchese cowboy boots. When not in the kitchen, Fearing is often found strumming his vintage Fender Telecaster guitar, one of an impressive collection, playing songs from his all-chef alternative country band, The Barbwires. He is also known to spend his spare time searching the countryside for Texas culinary inspiration. The state’s rich variety of peppers, dried chilies, jicama, cilantro, tomatillos, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, Gulf seafood and Hill Country wild game play a major role in his ever-changing cuisine.
The exuberant, ever-friendly Dean Fearing was winner of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for “Best Chef in the Southwest,” and diners from across the country flock to Dallas to experience his signature dishes. Current menu highlights include flavorful Tortilla Soup, Barbecued Shrimp Tacos, Rib Eye Mopped over Live Mesquite, Maple-Black Peppercorn-Soaked Buffalo Tenderloin, and Pan-Roasted “BBQ-Spiced” Filet with Chicken-Fried Maine Lobster, which has been described as a genuine “taste of Texas.”
Chef De Cuisine
Native Texan Eric Dreyer was born in Houston and raised in Dallas, but the pursuit of a culinary career led him to California at the young age of 20. His experiences on the West Coast brought him to the California School of Culinary Art in Pasadena and his start with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Eventually making his way back to Texas and becoming a vital member of the opening team of the award winning Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas where he has taken over the reigns as chef de cuisine.
Dreyer began his career working with several high profile catering firms and restaurants throughout California before landing at The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington in 1999 where he rotated through a variety of culinary departments to master his craft. In 2001, a five-million-dollar renovation and new concept were brought to Jer-Ne Restaurant at The Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey, and Dreyer was named sous chef for the famed establishment. His position brought him into close collaboration with celebrated chef and James Beard award-winner Troy Thompson. Jer-ne was quickly named the best fusion restaurant in Los Angeles in 2003. The next year, Chef Dreyer was given the opportunity to re-launch another AAA Four Diamond restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn. During his tenure at the Michigan luxury hotel, the regional American fare of their restaurant, The Grill, was blended with other global influences to become one of greater Detroit’s top ten restaurants. With the opportunity to return to his Texas roots in 2005, Dreyer became chef de cuisine for the Grand Hyatt DFW where he was awarded the “Grand Hyatt Rising Star Award” for 2005.
In 2007, Dreyer was recruited to join the pre-opening team of Dean Fearing’s namesake restaurant Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas as executive sous chef for the multi-venue restaurant. Being from Texas, Dreyer relates to Fearing’s local farm-to-table approach and together their team has taken it to the next level. Constantly updating the menu, they are always looking to new local, seasonal ingredients for inspiration. Recently promoted, Dreyer is now the chef de cuisine for one of the top restaurants in the country, being a vital part of its naming as “Restaurant of the Year” and “Table of the Year” by Esquire Magazine shortly after opening and named No. 1 in Hotel Dining in the U.S. by Zagat just 15 months later and receiving continued praise from The New York Times, Newsweek, Texas Monthly, Modern Luxury, among others, as well as a James Beard Foundation nomination for Best New Restaurant. In 2013, Dreyer’s good looks and charismatic persona crowned him Dallas’ Hottest Chef by Eater.
In addition to having a job that he has always dreamed of, Dreyer enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife Nichole have an eight-year-old daughter Reese.
Jill Bates’ childhood home was filled with the joy of cooking. As a child she gained remarkable insight into the culinary world through her father and grandmother. Bates later chose to study Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management at Texas Tech University. After graduating from Texas Tech, she headed west to earn a degree in Culinary Arts at San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy. She remained in the city and gained valuable experience by wearing multiple hats as a pastry, pantry and line cook at various restaurants. While in San Francisco, she developed a passion for creative desserts and decided to return to Texas to become a pastry chef in her own right.
Bates launched her Texas career as Assistant Pastry Chef for culinary legend Dean Fearing. She later opened Dallas’ Dragonfly Restaurant as Pastry Chef and Craft Restaurant in Dallas, serving as Assistant Pastry Chef until joining the pre-opening team of Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.
“What an amazing and exciting opportunity to continue working with Chef Dean Fearing,” says Bates. “I love creating memorable desserts for the restaurant, using fresh and seasonal products from nearby farmers and creameries, by adding fun twists and a funky flair to long-time favorites.”
Bates appreciates the basic fundamentals of cooking, product quality and the craft of pastry. She is the recipient of multiple awards for culinary and managerial excellence, including Best Pastry Chef by CraveDFW and the Judge’s Choice Award from the Annual Battle of the Bakers event. Her charm has also led her to be recognized as the Hottest Chef in Dallas by Eater, and longtime fan Nancy Patton of The Haute Goat Creamery has named a triple crème cheese as the “Jilli” in Bates’ honor.
“My favorite ingredients are vanilla bean, fresh ginger, wine and cherries,” adds the popular young chef. “I could put them in anything.” In addition to cooking, she enjoys traveling with her family and friends, gardening, reading, and fishing in the open waters.