1. What made you think to create restaurant names that correlate to fabrics?
One day Brian, his lovely wife Chantelle and business partner and long time friend, James Brennan, were driving by the racetrack. Brian started talking about how he loves the track because it is so much fun hanging out with your friends, the hats, cheerful colors, fun fabrics and the playful searsucker jackets. A bit of tongue and cheek fun, they realized Searsucker was the perfect name for their restaurant.
2. How do you feel that food and fashion relate to each other?
"Many similarities between the two…Trends are present in both food and fashion. However, the classics, such as surf and turf or a little black dress, never go out of style! My cooking style is to take the classic and twist it with my own flair!"
3. What are your top 5 must haves in the kitchen?
Shellfish/White wine/lemon/butter and garlic
4. Do you feel that if you dress a certain way in the kitchen you feel more prepared to make your next creation?
He states, "Absolutely! I love to dress in a fun and creative way. My usual kitchen dress starts with patent leather dance shoes (because he enjoys cooking and dancing), a playful apron, and a button down dress shirt (gingham or other fun fabric) with the sleeves neatly rolled up and ready to work hard with no quit!" He even sometimes wears a playful hat.
5. Food presentation is very connected to color. Color creates emotion each season and is very responsive. How do you feel color relates to the presentation of your food dishes?
Color is a huge part of Brian’s creations. Strategically arranging for eye appeal and using seasonal color in food to create beautiful appetizing dishes. Root vegetables in the winter such as carrots and beets bring that warm deep colorful plate. The colors of spring and summer bring creative and bright colors from Strawberries, Salmon and Romaine for a more playful and bright plate that will put a smile on your face.
6. How has having a family affected your career, work life balance?
"Having a family has created the need for me to be more disciplined. Now that I have a bunch of crazy pirates waking me up in the morning, I need to be prepared and plan accordingly and not work too hard or too late the night before."
7. Do you encourage your children to participate in cooking as a family?
“Our family is very active. We love our Sundays! They all look forward to Pancake Sunday morning! The children have to decide which size pancake they want and which topping or ingredients to use. They whisk and mix and interactively prepare together as a family. The children really look forward to this. “
"We also have Seafood Sunday’s. As a family, we love heading to the seafood market and choosing some fun ingredients such as, clams, mussels, or oysters along with some fresh fish and creating an interesting dinner together."
8. What inspired you to write the book, “Come early stay late”?
"Chef Press challenged me. Then they followed me around day and night at work and home creating a daily diary. It’s not easy to keep up with me. They were fantastic!"
9. Given the fact that dining in restaurants is part of our social fabric, how have you encouraged this growth in your restaurants?
"Their name alone, Fabric of Social Dining, sets the example of how each thread in the restaurants creates that overall dining experience. We have community dining tables, couches, a long and spacious bar, tapas and sharing plates, warm lighting and colors along with fabrics that dictate the atmosphere!" Searsucker sews together the Fabric of Social Dining family! Brennan and Malarkey plan on opening at least 15 more restaurants under the umbrella of their Fabric of Social Dining family!
10. Have you considered a line of fun chef's attire using some of your favorite fabrics? Currently talking with Chef Works. After the World Stage Culinary Demo, I stopped by Chef Works and a fun food fashion show ensued! Complete with the red carpet the Chef works show was a fun and fashion forward way of presenting their chef coats, hats, pants and shoes!
11. Do you have a primary Mentor? How has this helped you in your career?
"No one mentor! I have learned so much from so many, I have to say the whole culinary world, and, of course, Austin, TX!"
Brian is dynamic, fun, creative and passionate. His smile is infectious and obviously he loves Food and Fabric! As the emcee, Sally Lou Loveman of Oprah, for the culinary demo stated, “Food and Fashion go together.” to make your next creation?
Thank you Chef Malarkey for taking time during your hectic schedule for a second interview to discuss the Fabric of Social Dining1