DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Whether you are new to Texas or if you have been here for a long time, you realize that Texans have big hearts. Those who have been successful in the past like to help out those who want to be, as shown at one of the most original restaurants in the country.READ MORE: 3rd Person Injured In Texas Drag Racing Crash Passes Away
Things are heating up at Kitchen LTO in Dallas, because it’s competition time. “We rotate a new chef and artist and they get to take the reins for six months,” said Casie Caldwell, owner of Kitchen LTO.
This restaurant is a Texas original. In fact, they say that there is no other place like it in the country. It is a ‘permanent pop-up’ restaurant, and it can make a chef’s dream come true. But not just anyone can call Kitchen LTO home. You have to win it. “We invite the public to vote for their favorite chef and artist,” Caldwell said.
Think “Shark Tank,” but for a restaurant. One artist will get to display his or her artwork, and one chef will be hired to run the space, but for a limited time only — hence the name ‘LTO.’
Chef Thomas Morris thinks that he has what it takes to win the kitchen job. Originally a lawyer by trade, Morris is now a chef by passion. “I was in mediation. You get in that because you want to help people. And cooking, you get to make people happy,” Morris said. He is ready for the next step. “Man, that’s a good gig, right?”READ MORE: On 'Hell's Half Acre' Fort Worth Leaders Ignored Illegal Booze, Gambling As Money Ended Up In City Coffers
Anastacia Quinones, known as AQ, agrees. She currently has the space. “It’s like no other experience out there,” she said.
Quinones turned Kitchen LTO into a “modern Mexican” restaurant. The experience that she has gained is unmeasurable. “By the time you leave here, you will know if you are ready or not to open a restaurant,” Quinones said. At the end of February, she will move out of Kitchen LTO and on with her career.
Word of LTO — and its concept — is getting out. This year, they even have a chef from California trying out. “I expect to have about five or six finalists,” Caldwell added. CBS 11 News was there as a team of experts worked to narrow down the list. Then, the public gets a say in picking the new chef.
“I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t tell you if you are going to go on to open your own restaurant. But I can tell them there have been five chefs in front of you who have gone on to bigger and better things,” Caldwell said.MORE NEWS: Church Offering $5K Reward For Safe Return Of Missing Fort Worth Girl Dashayla Wolfe
Restaurants are sometimes forced to close, and hope to reopen. This one does it on purpose a couple of times each year, giving up-and-coming chefs the next step in their careers. So far, it’s proving to be a Texas-sized recipe for success.