Jason Ferraro’s Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen is a hidden gem nestled in downtown McKinney.
The menu consists of American food with a Southern flare, but it’s Ferraro’s midwestern roots that have had the biggest impact on the food and experience that customers have been enjoying for the past four years.
Ferraro grew up outside of Chicago and started his culinary career at an early age working in the kitchen with his grandparents.
“Growing up in the midwest, the seasons are short so you quickly learn how to work with what’s in season and how to make it last,” Ferraro says. “We spent a lot of time inspecting product and learning how to use it year-round.”
From his family kitchen, Ferraro went on to work in Milwaukee and then alongside legendary chef Charlie Trotter in Chicago before coming to Dallas in 2008. Ferraro spent time at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Porch and Hibiscus, before deciding to go out on his own and open Sugarbacon in 2015.
“We are a unique restaurant in a small community, and sometimes guests get it and sometimes they don’t. They may look at the menu and say ‘Wow I know what this is but I haven’t had it this way before’ and we challenge them to look at food in a whole new way.”
Ferraro’s menu planning starts before the food enters his kitchen. He’s made a concerted effort to work closely with local farmers and ranchers, and he’s built relationships with these partners so he can understand what’s going on in the ground. Ferraro’s menu changes four to five times a year, based on what’s in-season, and because of this, he tends to focus on vegetables first.
“A lot of chefs focus on protein first, but we do very interesting vegetable preparations and showcase them in a unique way. Lately we’ve been doing a ton of fermentation, and we’ve had a lot of great peach dishes this summer as well. We focus on the other components first, and then pair protein, if the plate even needs it.”
Ferraro’s hands-on approach helps him embrace what’s happening in and out of the kitchen and in his community, but he worries that the next generation of chefs is missing out.
“We have a shortage of talented, skilled workers. Today’s generation grew up watching foodie TV or YouTube videos and think that’s the way restaurants are run. We’ve hit a steady pace where we’re not seeing a lot of next tier chefs wanting to push their boundaries and embrace learning about different cultures.”
Ferraro’s love and passion is evident, from his appreciation for each ingredient to the way he serves and plates each meal, and he hopes that his patrons are able to escape each time they come into his restaurant.
“I’ve seen patrons sit back from their plate and say that they’ve had the worst day, but this meal made them forget about it. A lot of things can be resolved just by sitting down at the dinner table.”
Collin County Heart Ball:
American Heart Association’s Collin County Heart Ball promises to be an evening of exquisite food, spirits and passion, bringing community and philanthropic leaders together, Saturday, November 9, 2019 at the Omni Frisco Hotel. Led by Head Chef Aaron Staudenmaier, attendees will have the opportunity to visit chef stations from many of Collin County’s finest restaurants as part of a unique culinary experience.
For tickets and information visit collincountyheartball.heart.org.