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Chef Jason Dady on Being a Champion For San Antonio

Today, Eater is covering the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen live from the Eater Lounge at the Limelight Hotel. Right now: San Antonio chef Jason Dady

Rick Kern/WireImage

Tell me what you're up to these days.
Well, in San Antonio we just opened a new place called Umai Mi, a little modern Asian restaurant. It's still super market-driven in the sense of going and supporting the relationships we have with our farmers, and in a sense, [it's] small plates still, but just trying to incorporate a little bit of Thai flavors, maybe a Chinese inspiration here and there. We're not trying to go over the top. It's just clean flavors and keeping it super simple. So it's a lot of fun.

How's it going?
It's going great. We've cut back a little on the hip hop, you know. We're playing some old school funk now, and it's going really well. It's been a lot of fun, that's for sure.

What are you doing at the festival?
It was a good break for my wife and I who, with three kids and five restaurants, never get a chance to get away. There's nothing better than just coming and hanging out with your friends. When we do Austin Food and Wine or something like that, we're getting our butts kicked for 72 hours straight. It's kind of great to come hang out with your colleagues that are kicking ass and you're not the one having to sweat it. So it's nice just to kinda come hang out and party and have a good time.

And get out of the heat.
Oh my gosh yes. Yesterday we were like, "This is beautiful!" This is so great.

I was freezing the first night we were here.
All [my wife's] talked about is how cold she is, and I'm like seriously, I don't want to hear it. It's great, this is perfect.

So I know you're a big booster of San Antonio. You want to talk about what's exciting in San Antonio these days?
Well, you know, we're just kind of that fourth stepchild. And I get that, I understand that. I think that our food culture maybe ten years ago wasn't where everybody else was. But it's certainly a different town [now]. It's really changed and it's very heavy on chef-driven concepts. The diners are into it, the chefs are into it.

And so I think now it's just a matter of the rest of the food community awakening and seeing that. Which is already starting to happen. So I'm championing very hard and being loud and obnoxious about not forgetting about us because I think it's important that we get the recognition that the chefs in that town deserve. Because they are doing stuff that is compatible with anybody else.

So what's next for you?
That's a good question, we're trying to figure that out every day. We've kind of loosely talked about a taco concept. Three dollar tacos, really kick ass drinks and simple appetizers. Or we'll just take it easy and focus on what we have. You never know. When business presents itself, you look at it and if not, you just do what you're supposed to do every day, which is take care of the customers that are in front of you in the restaurant. It's always something different.

· All Jason Dady Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Aspen 2014 Coverage on Eater [-E-]

Limelight Hotel

355 S Monarch St, Aspen, CO 81611

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