On any given night at The Ritz-Carlton’s Fearing’s restaurant, you are bound to see one of Dallas’s most recognizable chefs. Eric Dreyer, Fearing’s Chef de Cuisine, has been working for Dean Fearing’s namesake since its opening in 2007. Since then, Dreyer has received numerous accolades, including Eater’s Dallas’s Hottest Chef award. Dreyer has also raised awareness for various charities and organizations, including the Young Texans Against Cancer. He is also vocal in his support for local farmers and artisans.
With all of these contributions and accolades to Dreyer’s credit, it is clear that he is truly meant to be working in this industry. However, Dreyer almost ended up working in a completely different field.
“I originally majored in computer science,” Dreyer says, “but I later came to realize that sitting at a desk all day wasn’t for me.”
Upon coming to this realization, Dreyer enrolled in the Southern California School of the Arts, a school which would later be bought out by the Cordon Bleu. From there, he worked in various restaurants and catering companies until, following the advice of one of the chefs for whom he worked, he went to work for the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey.
“I worked in Jer-Ne at The Ritz-Carlton for about five years,” Dreyer says. “It was named LA’s best fusion restaurant in 2003.”
In between noting all of these time frames, he manages to put dates on himself, to which I reply commenting on Dreyer’s young appearance.
“Well thanks,” Dreyer chuckles in reply. “Kitchen grease keeps you young.”
He then explains how he ended up migrating to Texas from California.
“I went to a tasting at The Mansion at Turtle Creek, where Dean Fearing was working at the time,” Dreyer says. “I interviewed with Dean for the Sous Chef position, and was offered the job, but I didn’t end up taking it.”
Fearing ended up accepting an offer for a Chef de Cuisine position at Grand Hyatt DFW, where he later received the Grand Hyatt Rising Star Award. He stayed with Grand Hyatt DFW for almost three years, until he learned that Ritz-Carlton was opening a hotel in Dallas.
“I heard Dean would be involved with the Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant, so I decided to interview with him,” Dreyer said. “Luckily, he remembered who I was, and I was offered the job.”
Since 2007, Dreyer has been a part of Dean Fearing’s carefully selected team.
“It’s never been stagnant here at Fearing’s,” Dreyer says. “There have been a lot of different things going on within the restaurant, so it’s managed to keep my interest throughout all of these years.”
Dreyer admits that throughout his time at Fearing’s, his and Fearing’s cooking styles have contrasted, however, he feels that he and Fearing make a great team.
“When I first started, it was very much simple, Asian inspired food,” Dreyer says. “With Dean, it’s very different. Dean has a lot of layers of flavor involved in his recipes. Sometimes you have what’s really simple, but there can be like 10 or 12 ingredients involved. For me, I like clean, straightforward flavors, but I think our styles balance each other well.”
All accolades, awards, and achievements aside, Dreyer finds joy in the helping guests and colleagues take away the best experience possible.
“One of the best parts about my career is finding people that enjoy the whole experience; the people that come back regularly and converse and ask questions,” Dreyer says. “Seeing cooks that I trained, who had no initial restaurant experience, go on to run their own kitchens is also one of the best things.”
Guests of Fearing’s can always expect the royal treatment. Dreyer’s passion, attention to detail and commitment to top-notch guest service are what set him apart from other Dallas chefs. In Dreyer’s 43 years of life, he has lived out his kitchen dream to the fullest, and he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.