If you follow Instagram, you know there’s no shortage of mouth-watering food spreads to ogle over. Chef and local culinary personality Nathanael Gassett uses those visual honeypots to start meaningful conversations about community and cultural identity. Through his online blogs, photographs, private dinners, and travels, Gassett uses food to connect people in new and unique ways. Case in point: our recent interview at Los Tacos H’s (2108 E Rosedale St).
The taqueria specializes in tacos, tortas, alambre (a Mexican grilled beef skillet dish), and handmade quesadillas. I sprung for the Torta Espanola. The dense, football-sized sandwich was stuffed with grilled beef franks, breaded beef, cheese, and fresh veggies. Finding unique dining experiences like the one we had that evening just requires an open mind and a curious palate, he said.
“Fort Worth offers a lot of great little dining spots,” he said. “When I first moved here [three years ago], I would drive by these spots. Exploring these places was a fun way to meet people.”
If you see a long line at a food truck, he added, take that as an endorsement.
WERO Kitchen grew out of Gassett’s first profession — photography. By age 16, he was shooting homecoming and wedding portraits in his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi. Restaurant gigs required a portfolio of food images, so Gassett cooked one up. And, basically, he just kept cooking. Three years ago, he moved to Fort Worth on a whim, first landing a gig at Central Market then running the Luciérnaga dinner series at Blackhouse. Later this spring, he’ll be managing Black Cat Pizza, the NYC-styled pizzeria that’s opening soon in South Main Village.
Gassett has a lot of pans in the fire these days. He recently returned from Tulum, Mexico where she spent a week working in the kitchen of NÜ Tulum, a chef-driven restaurant that sources local ingredients. Gassett, who speaks fluent Spanish, reached out to one of the chefs there via Instagram and asked if he could learn more about NU Tulum’s concept firsthand.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “I learned more advanced techniques. I saw how they did traditional elements and elevated them, putting their own technique and spin to it while keeping it Mexican. The creativity behind it intrigued me. It was one of the most organized kitchens I’d been in.”
The kitchen was disciplined but respectful of everyone, Gassett said.
As Gassett’s WERO mantra says, “make tacos, not walls.” Food is a means to an end. As the WERO brand grows through its online presence, collaborations with Visit Fort Worth, merchandise line, pop-up dinners, and upcoming podcast, Gassett plans to use his culinary skills to remind us all that diversity is good, both for our economy and our food offerings.
“Food has been a way for me to connect with different people and cultures,” he said. “When traveling and learning Spanish [in Europe], there were times when I couldn’t speak with anyone. I’d make food for them, and that was a way of communicating. For me, using food as a way to connect people is super important.”
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On Tap this Week:
Super Bowl Watch Larty at Panther Island Brewing
From Panther Island: The ‘Boys might not be in the hunt but we’re still throwing the best Super Bowl larty in town! Come snag a Super Bowl 2019 Football Pint Glass, indulge in Dayne’s craft barbecue, and check out a few new taproom releases all happening in our family-friendly taproom!
Visit the event page here.