Healthy Dining News

Celebrity chef helps whip up healthy fare at new Southlake cafe

Celebrity chef helps whip up healthy fare at new Southlake cafe

Protein Fit Kitchen in Southlake
Protein is on the menu at Protein Fit Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Protein Fit Kitchen
Kalen Morgenstern, Hell's Kitchen
Kalen Jane Morgenstern, a contestant on Hell's Kitchen, is the executive chef. Photo courtesy of Fox
Protein Fit Kitchen in Southlake
Kalen Morgenstern, Hell's Kitchen

A new healthy concept called Protein Fit Kitchen is opening in Southlake's Park Village center. Founders Steve Herrera and Tony Phansana say they created the concept to give people a more interesting version of healthy food.

"So much of what is sold as healthy food comes off as bland," Herrera says. "We decided it was time to introduce the idea of chef-driven fit food."

The menu features a seasonal selection of freshly made protein-based meals, snacks, and drinks that are portion controlled and nutritionally balanced. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible.

To fine-tune the concept and the menu, the duo partnered with executive chef and co-owner Deb Cantrell, a caterer, restaurateur, and personal chef noted for her healthy approach. She was named Personal Chef of the Year in 2015 by the United States Personal Chef Association, and Fort Worth magazine's Best Chef of 2016.

Cantrell says that Protein Fit Kitchen will not only be healthy and delicious, but also will be viable for a variety of dietary preferences. They'll even have a nutritionist on staff.

"The menu will be good for Paleo, vegan and vegetarian, people with inflammatory conditions, and more," Cantrell says. "It's ideal not only for athletes, but also people suffering from different intolerances. We're already seeing a lot of referrals from doctors and nutritionists."

As part of their initial round of staffing, they've hired Kalen Jane Morgenstern, who was a contestant on the 13th season of Hell's Kitchen, as the executive chef and general manager. Kalen Jane was most recently chef at FW Market & Table, a short-lived hybrid concept that went into the old Tillman's Roadhouse space in the West 7th district.

According to the menu, for breakfast there are "frittata cups" with Swiss chard and chanterelle mushrooms; a breakfast bowl with sweet potato, bacon, quinoa, black bean, avocado, and poached egg; a butternut molasses bowl with roasted walnuts and cacao nibs; and almond flour pancakes with maple whiskey syrup.

Salads include a Caesar with romaine and kale tossed in a raw cashew dressing; caprese salad with white beans, arugula, and heirloom tomatoes; protein salad with hummus, edamame, cucumber, avocado, Brussels sprouts, and spinach; and kale salad with chickpeas, butternut squash, and tahini dressing. Gotta have a kale salad.

There are seasonal soups and trendy "bowls," including a masala bowl, with coconut milk curry served over quinoa or seasonal greens, and the foraged bowl, a chef-inspired daily seasonal bowl served over quinoa or fresh greens.

One unique feature: a "mylkshake" bar, featuring non-dairy nut milks made from scratch, and tonics, which Cantrell describes as "very cleansing."

"We're here to serve the fitness-focused, food-loving, fast-paced everyday athletes who are ignored by most kitchens," she says.