The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Chris Ward Profile

It’s 12:30 p. m. and the lunch crowd is in full swing at award-winning restaurant The Mercury, nestled in the heart of North Dallas. Executive chef and partner Chris Ward is frantically running around, juggling multiple tasks, executing them all perfectly: meticulously molding a steak tartar appetizer, directing sous chefs around the kitchen, putting in new orders and solving the maitre d’s seating dilemma.

It’s now 2:15 p. m. As the last of the customers trickle out, Chris Ward takes a big sigh of relief, pours himself a tall glass of iced tea and takes a seat in the cozy bar in the front of the restaurant.

“Not many people know this, but lunch for a chef can be more frenetic than dinner,” Ward said, chuckling.

After a long and stressful morning in the kitchen, he can now catch his breath for a few short minutes before the frenzy of setting menus and preparing for dinner begins.

Ward, a former SMU student, is the executive chef and partner of The Mercury, a multi-million dollar nationally acclaimed Dallas neighborhood restaurant. It has gained national recognition for Ward’s creative and innovation culinary expertise and has maintained success for over a decade in the enormously competitive restaurant market in Dallas. Although difficult to quantify since restaurants open and close all the time, it is widely believed that Dallas has more restaurants per capita than any other metropolitan city in the U.S., making success in the restaurant industry extremely difficult.

A Louisiana native, Ward grew up surrounded by great cuisine. “I had always loved food,” Ward explained. “I was lucky because I was exposed to great food at home from an early age: the restaurants that we went to and the food my mother made at home. Not many kids can say their mom made a freshly made dessert every night of the week. It was extraordinary.”

While managing restaurant life, Ward still finds time to cook for his wife and children at home. “Before I head back to Louisiana to visit my folks, I’ll make a few frozen meals to take back with me, so they’ll have their favorite dover sole ready in the freezer at a moment’s notice,” Ward said.

Mico Rodriguez, founder of the Mi Cocina chain and longtime friend and partner of Ward’s, describes his colleague as fervent. “He’s a passionate person, colleague and chef. He could have done anything, but he was born to be a chef,” he said.

Following his college years at SMU and a few job disappointments back home in Louisiana, Ward saw an ad in the paper for an opening at the Dallas-based restaurant, Arthur’s, where he began work in the kitchen for $3 an hour. At Arthur’s, Ward found his calling to pursue a career as a chef in the French dominated restaurant industry. From there, he polished his culinary skills as he worked his way up the ranks from sous chef to executive chef at numerous Dallas restaurants.

Bob McNutt, owner of Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana and fellow restaurateur, holds high regards for his partner and friend. “Chris is a truly exceptional chef who over the years has really worked his craft,” McNutt notes.

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Chris Ward at work in his kitchen.” height=”300
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