Chef Misti Norris is never afraid to take on something challenging.
Misti Norris is going to be doing a lot of creative experimenting at Urbano Cafe.
The Dallas restaurant scene’s resident provocateur, Misti Norris is plotting her big return to the city with the debut of Petra and the Beast. Norris’ new company will begin as a series of pop-up dinners in locations across the country before eventually turning Petra and the Beast into a brick and mortar restaurant in Dallas.
The pop-up comes to Dallas’ Urbano Cafe in early June, where it will hold bi-monthly dinners thereafter.
Petra and the Beast will showcase the unusual techniques and daring approach to food which Norris is renowned for, as well as her passion for natural, locally sourced ingredients. You can expect the unexpected, from new adventures to fermentation, to meals cooked entirely over the fire pit (which Urbano installed specially for the project).
“The idea is to travel, collaborate with other people, and to really rely on the resources surrounding whatever area I’m in,” Norris tells PaperCity.
She will work with like-minded chefs in each region to farm-source and forage ingredients, and use the geography of the land to the fullest.
“The idea is also to find the identity of what Petra and the Beast really is before opening,” Norris says. “And of course opening a brick and mortar is going to evolve already, but I think this is a much more open way to experiment and be more creative, and be challenged a little bit more by having to travel and figure out what’s in that area.”
The chef has never been one to shy away from a challenge, from foraging produce, to butchering whole animals, to fermenting strange and tasty concoctions.
Petra and the Beast will not be for the faint of palate, but for the open-minded and open-mouthed.
“I think what really interests me is the potential of food in general,” Norris says. “How far you can really push something, and how interesting you can make something so simple taste, but still keep it very natural without manipulating it using hydrocolloids or any kind of chemicals. it’s just a very very natural process.”
Norris will bring her “farm, forage, fermentation, fire” philosophy to the Urbano Cafe pop-up with a variety of unique seasonal dishes. The natural abundance of wild berries, wildflowers, and various roots in the area will be utilized for syrups, vinegars, and sodas.
“I’ve got tons of pickles and weird fermentations working. I’m kind of getting into right now making Korean-style liquors or spirits,” she says. “I’ve been experimenting with a couple different fermentations with different beverages using wild berries, wild flowers, stuff like that.”
Experimentation is key to Norris’ cooking — it’s how she achieves singular flavors from simple ingredients. And at this point, Norris is more of visionary than mad scientist. That said, Petra and the Beast will not be for the faint of palate, but for the open-minded and open-mouthed.
“One of the things that definitely drives a lot of what I do is experimenting, and making a batch of something and being able to use it 12 months down the line, and seeing how the flavor develops, and how I can create a dish out of it,” Norris says.
The exact dates for Petra and the Beast’s dinners have yet to be announced, but you can keep up with the schedule of events, and buy tickets (dinner runs about $100 for the pop-ups) on the website.