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A lot of Lovin at Lonesome Dove

Texas-based Tim Love is known for his sophisticated interpretations of US western cuisine while preserving its bold flavours and multi-cultural origins.

by: Richard Leong | 05 Mar 2008

Meat and wild game, the focal point of Love's cooking, are often paired with global touches such as Swedish lingonberries and Spanish Manchego cheese.

In 2003, the self-taught chef and a crew travelled in a trail drive from Fort Worth to New York City after the James Beard House invited him to cook a celebration dinner in honour of the late chef and food writer's 100th birthday. During the trip Love, 36, bought ingredients from local markets, which he used for the dinner.

Love, who often sports a cowboy hat, owns three restaurants in Fort Worth including his flagship, The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro.

Q: What makes your cuisine "urban Western"?
A: "I was born and raised in Denton, Texas, so in Texas you are around a lot of different cultures all the time. There is a lot of hunting capabilities in Texas so that style of cooking encompasses a lot of wild animals and cultures that make up the West. You have the Germans, Italians, French traders and Chinese railroad workers and all these influences using native ingredients. I've taken all those cultures and urbanised it."

Q: What part of the world inspires you now?
A: "Now I use things from Australia and New Zealand because to me, when I visited there, it had the same thing Texas had going for it back to in the days of wide open spaces. I consider it's the New West. I have visited there a few times. I have a friend in Perth. I visited the wine areas. They really embrace Texans. They are really proud of where they are from, just like Texans."

Q: Any tips for cooking games?
A: "Game meats in themselves are not that gamey if it's prepared correctly. The thing that makes it gamier is the fat content. Game meat tends to be leaner so you add fat to the meat by like using lardon and other pork products. You need the fat in there to flavour the meat. You also want to use really bold flavours and really pungent herbs like garlic, chillies, rosemary and thyme."

Q: What is your favourite game to work with?
A: "Rabbit is the best white meat in the world. When prepared properly and you put it next to chicken, there is no comparison. It has a creamy quality to it. It's a little less lean than chicken. As far as bird goes, I love working with pheasants. As far as four-legged animal, I love working with red deer. As far as wild fish, I love barramundi."

Q: What do you cook for yourself?
A: "I like to cook whole anything but I end up feeding like a million people when I do it. You get so many different flavours and textures when you finished with just out one cooking process."

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