Industry News | September 11, 2017

Malibu Poke Taps Chef Matt McCallister as Culinary Director

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Malibu Poke, opening this fall in Turtle Creek Village, welcomes James Beard nominated Chef Matt McCallister as Culinary Director.

Founded by Jon Alexis (owner, TJ’s Seafood Market & Grill) and partners Ben & Eric Kusin, Malibu will bring award-winning seafood quality and freshness to the fast growing quick service category.

Alexis says, “Even though Malibu is a quick serve concept, we will offer expertly sourced and handled fresh seafood. Quite simply, it’s a better bowl of poke—the ‘fishmonger's poke.’ Our emphasis is on freshness, nutrition and sustainability.”

Alexis continues, “McCallister clearly differentiates us from Dallas’ other poke.  Matt’s menu combines classic, accessible poke offerings with the unique and bold flavors diners expect from him.”

Poke bowls featuring better quality seafood deserve better quality ingredients, and McCallister saw a unique opportunity for culinary inspiration.

"You have to start with the best ingredients,” says McCallister. “When Jon approached me this summer, I had eaten poke around town and definitely saw the opportunity for improvement. Jon and I are committed to creating a “better bowl.”

Alexis and McCallister’s menu will feature TJ’s-quality seafood, scratch sauces and farm-fresh vegetables, fruits & herbs, which McCallister will source from local farms whenever possible. McCallister is even picky about the soy sauce.  “No Kikkoman,” he promises.

McCallister is still refining Malibu’s signature bowl menu where diners can enjoy “classic” poke bowls or explore even bolder flavors such as smoked bonito aioli, yellow curry, black garlic “mayu”, sweet & spicy sambal, asian pear, puffed rice, marinated shitake mushrooms and more. 

And diners can build their own unique bowls mixing and matching all of the unique ingredients from McCallister’s signature bowls.

The new concept will emphasize healthy eating with 100% gluten free, vegan options and a beverage program with Texas and California beers, wine on tap, sake, kombucha, teas and fresh juices.

Malibu Poke will also feature tech-based ordering minimizing waits and educating guests on unique ingredients, with a Malibu "Poke-Pro" on hand to guide through the process. Hatsumi Kuzuu designed the casual chic restaurant.

After cooking across the country, McCallister opened his first solo venture FT33 at 31. He guided the restaurant to local and national acclaim, including praise from D Magazine, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer, Texas Monthly, Bon Appétit’s “Top 50 New Restaurant 2013” list, a Food & Wine “Best New Chef 2014” nod, and a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest 2014–2016. McCallister focuses on high-quality ingredients presented in inventive, artful dishes.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.