Chef Dean Sprague meticulously places spinach from local grower Jaime Bustos onto an oversized white plate.
“Food is one of the closest relationships you can have with someone. You’re trusting the chef with something you’re putting into your mouth to nourish your body. We take that responsibility very seriously, and are committed to creating dishes that are healthy and delicious. It’s our passion, and we love it.”
A veteran chef of thirty-three years who was awarded “Chef of The Year” by the Texas Chef’s Association for the Coastal Bend in 2015, Chef Sprague visits the Downtown Farmers’ Market every Wednesday and purchases any remaining groceries from local producers at full retail price. He does not try to haggle, as sometimes happens to local producers.
“They trust me to be there, and we want to support what they’re all about. They have to make a living just like we do. None of our customers come into the restaurant and try to negotiate our prices, so why do it to our farmers?” says Chef Sprague. He works as he talks, adding generous crumbles of local gorgonzola to the now colorful salad plate.
We asked Chef Sprague to do what he and his team do every weekend—develop recipes by combining ingredients from each of our featured local producers, and he created one stunning recipe after another.
“One of the great things about our team is that we have a lot of people with a lot of strengths, and they bring a lot to the table. Everyone plays an important part.” Chef Sprague explains how he, Sous Chef Harold Ramos, and the rest of the talent at The Glass Pavilion work together every week to create a new featured dish using local ingredients.
Chef Sprague hopes to inspire other chefs to get out of their comfort zone and join the local food movement. “Go to the market. Introduce yourself. Get to know these people. They want to sell to you.”
His passion for supporting local producers has invigorated the atmosphere at The Glass Pavilion, from the wait staff to the accounting team. And the customers are taking notice. Ironically, most of the patrons of The Glass Pavilion are tourists who stay at the Omni. But area residents have started coming in for weekend brunch to enjoy a taste of The Bend.
When a customer asks where the locally sourced shrimp comes from, a waitress points out the window to a passing shrimp boat. Chef Sprague smiles, “Corpus Christi is not known as a food destination, and we’re hoping to change that.”
And they are, every Saturday at The Glass Pavilion.
Second Floor of the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel
900 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78401