Chef Q&A: Tim Keating, Urbain 40

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Urbain 40 American Brasserie & Lounge celebrates French brasserie  classics like onion soup gratinée, pate campagne and escargot, while embracing the American cuisine, which Chef Tim Keating describes as “a great melting pot chock full of ethnicities” such as Asian or Italian. These flavors are also prevalent on the menu.

What’s your favorite local restaurant other than your own?

Hard to pick one but stand outs are The Ravenous Pig, The Rusty Spoon, Osprey Tavern and Seito Sushi in Baldwin Park. And, for breakfast, brunch and pastries, of course—Se7en Bites is a winner.

What’s your go-to meal at home?

Love to cook just about anything on our grill and smoker out by the pool. After 16 years in Texas, that’s a no-brainer.

Inside, I’ll crust and stuff an organic chicken with EVOO and fresh herbs from my garden, truss it and roast at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, turning several times for a golden skin crust, then turn it down to 275 to cook slowly down to the bone. I serve this with vegetables I’ve roasted in a sizzly hot pan under the broiler.

Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients?

Whole Foods, Fresh Market and local ethnic markets: 1st Oriental on Colonial near Pine Hills, Dong A on Mills and La Hacienda Mexican Market & Butcher on OBT.

Which kitchen gadget could you not live without? 

A hand-crank ricer for perfect mashed potatoes a la Joel Robuchon. Perfect with roasted chicken mentioned above!!!!

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid? 

Bagged lunches were a way of life for us with a family of ten!!!! Peanut butter and jelly was a staple, but I much preferred cream cheese and jelly.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure?

Nabisco Sugar Wafers or Oreos and milk.

What 3 things are in your fridge at all times? 

Spicy Dijon mustard. Friends send me Amora from France, otherwise Maille is my go to. (My kids always ask, “Dad, why do we have 8 kinds of mustard?) Hot sauce (sriracha, Chipotle Tabasco, Jalapeno Tabasco, Crystal, Rick Bayless’s variety–any will do, wasabi sauce). Lots of veggies and salad.

Any special skills?

After moving to Houston in 1989 I joined a band called the Barbwires, founded by James Beard award-winning chefs Robert Del Grande and Dean Fearing. Picture below is us singing the infamous “For What it’s worth” with Richie Furay.

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