7 Questions with Chef Dean Fearing

Sure, he may be one of the most well known Chefs in the whole nation – but did you know that Chef Dean Fearing is also a huge Tele nut and has a long standing, 35-year band together with another Chef-musician friend? Rounding out their lineup is never difficult, as Dean says they offer “only the best of foods and best bottles of wine, ever!”

We understand your thoughts on solid state amplifiers have recently changed – Can you tell us more about this shift in thinking? 

When I received my Henriksen Blue TEN, I was going to use it for recording, as I thought it would buzz less than my tube amps. I truly wasn’t expecting much from such a sound value with this amp, as I’d always heard that a solid state would never compare to tubes. Taking it out of the box, I did notice that the look of this amp was not what I was thinking it would be – it looked cool, and was really well made, with all the bells and whistles that I want out of an amp. Then I plugged it in with my ‘52 Telecaster and “knew” I was going to hear a very thin sounding amp, but that it would be adequate for what I needed for recording. I set the dials to what I thought would be a good sound, and – much to my surprise – I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! This was too full of sound to be a solid state amp! This amp was making my Tele come alive with power and drive that truly blew me away! I remember I stopped playing and just looked at this little thing and said to myself,  “surely this is not coming from this amp!”

We know you love a good Telecaster. What style of guitar would you most closely relate with a nearly do-it-all kind of Chef’s knife? 

For me it will always be a Telecaster! I am that person that, from when I was a teenager and saw that Fender Telecaster for the first time, I was drawn towards it by its look and sound. That guitar just fits me like a glove from the feel of the neck to being strapped over my shoulder. I am fortunate to have great dealer friends, like Dave Hinson of Killer Vintage, who pointed me in the right direction of vintage Telecasters, which are my true love now!

What 3 famous musicians (living or deceased) would you most like to sit down at a dinner table with, and what would you be eating? 

Gram Parsons, and he being a southern boy, we would be eating Granny Fearing’s Paper Bag Shooked Fried Chicken with all the fixin’s! Emmy Lou Harris would also be there, so after dinner they could sing a duet of Sleepless Nights together!

Sammy Hagar is another, who’s a good friend, and it would definitely be the full blown Mexican Dinner down at his Casa in Cabo and drinking his 10 year old tequila out of a barrel – it looked like Bourbon!

Lastly Marty Stuart, and we would be at Fearing’s Restaurant eating Tortilla Soup, which he and I do when he pops through town with the Superlatives. As a B Bender student it is always great to get tips from the Man!

Do you still actively perform on guitar these days? 

Yes, and have my own band called the Barbed Wires, with my great friend and chef Robert Del Grande. We have been together as a band for over 35 years, since the start of our cooking careers. We mainly write our own songs and perform them. I will tell you one thing, we never suffer from getting great musicians to join together with us, as we are the best “eating and drinking” band in the US! Only the best of foods and best bottles of wine, ever!

Aside from brilliant minds in one discipline or the other, are there any Chef-musicians you hold in high esteem? 

I would have to say my song writing partner Robert Del Grande, who is the Chef of The Annie Cafe and Bar in Houston. He and I started what is called Southwest Cuisine here in Texas in 1985, and were cooking together a lot to support this new cuisine in different cities. On one of these dinners Robert’s wife mentioned that he had an old Martin guitar. Well, I had an old Martin guitar too, so I went over to him and said, “When were you going to let me know you play guitar?” We have been playing guitar together ever since, and now we write our own songs together.

Outside of music and cooking, what’s your favorite hobby or pastime?

I love the outdoors, be it mountains, beach, desert or plains! I can’t get enough hiking in beautiful areas, plus cooking over real fire outdoors is the best taste in the whole world!

What’s the single most evident trait of your personality you feel comes out in your playing as well as your cooking? 

It would have to be creativity! I love creating new dishes at the restaurant and writing new songs! To me it is all the same – it comes from a blank sheet of paper – then something happens!

To learn more about Chef Dean Fearing, visit him at Fearings Restaurant

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