Chef Chat, Part 1: Trevor White Has Morton's Grille Serving Up Some Fine Food
Photo by Mai Pham Trevor White, regional chef of Morton's Grille, Morton's The Steakhouse, and The Oceanaire.
This is the first part of a two-part Chef Chat feature. Come back tomorrow for Part 2.
For people who love meat and steak but don't want the formality or cost that goes along with dining at a high-end restaurant like Morton's The Steakhouse, there's a new place for you to try: Morton's Grille. The new concept, which debuted in The Woodlands last month, is a lighter, cheekier version of its older sibling, featuring classic American dishes that will delight any meat-and-potatoes lover.
When I visited the restaurant recently to try out its new lunch service, the attractive space was busy and bustling, the bar area well occupied despite the midday hour (the bar, incidentally, looked like a great happy-hour spot). While I dined on their signature tater tot nachos, or "Tot'chos," indulged in a belt-busting serving of Smokey Joe's mac and cheese, and savored barbecue baby back ribs that had been braised in bacon fat, Trevor White, the regional chef in residence, came out to introduce some of the dishes and check on our experience. He was so personable that I asked him to sit down for a chat so that we could get a glimpse into his life as a regional chef for Landry's, Inc.
EOW: What does your role as regional chef entail?
TW: I oversee The Oceanaire and Morton's, and now also the Morton's Grille. I pretty much just make sure that they're following recipes, operations run properly, labor controls, food-cost control at my designated restaurants. I oversee southern California to Biloxi for Morton's, and I help with The Oceanaire in Dallas, Houston and anyplace else they decide to send me, and now Morton's Grille.
EOW: How many restaurants is that?
TW: Twenty, I believe.
EOW: You're based in Houston, though, correct?
EOW: How long have you been in this role? And what role predated that?
TW: I've been in this two years now, and before that I was the executive chef and operating partner with The Oceanaire in Houston.
EOW: What's the jump been like -- from executive chef to regional chef? What are you doing when you make a restaurant visit?
TW: Quality control is a big one. Usually if a regional is sent into a restaurant, it's because there might be some opportunity there, be it with recipe adherence, food cost. On a normal visit, we go in and we taste product, make sure that they're purchasing the right products, make sure they're following the right recipes so they have the right flavor profiles on all dishes, and then we stick around and watch service, make sure the food's going out properly, so that everything that's going out to our guests is the way that it should be and it's quality product.