Chef Bruno Davaillon will soon make a long-awaited comeback to the Dallas restaurant scene and with it he’ll team with local urban farmers to grow fresh ingredients onsite via hydroponics.
Through a collaboration with Dallas Urban Farms, Davaillon’s Bullion, set to open this fall, will utilize a custom in-house hydroponic farm to grow specialty heirloom vegetables, such as herbs and greens. Davaillon plans to also use as many other Texas ingredients as possible in an effort to reduce the restaurant’s environmental footprint.
“Sustainability is a big thing for me,” Davaillon said. “I want to be able to grow in a small footprint.”
The farm will be located in the catering kitchen on the second floor of the Bullion location at 400 Record St., formerly known as the Belo Building, in downtown Dallas. Dallas Urban Farm’s founders Jody and Max Wall have worked with Davaillon to create an operation that fits the space and provides for his “Classic French Brasserie” cuisine he plans to serve.
“Sustainability is a big thing for me. I want to be able to grow in a small footprint.”
Chef Bruno Davaillon
“What we’re going to be growing there on site are things that normally he’s not going to be able to get from another supplier, and certaintly not another local supplier,” Jody Wall said.
The hydroponic farm is a self-contained structure utilizing ebb and flow irrigation. The system will flood the growing trays with a nutrient solution and cycles the remaining into a reservoir.
The farm will be made up of two growing racks, each approximately 5 feet wide, and will have four vertical tiers, amounting to 6 feet tall. The levels are individually lit, and each tray will grow a particular item.
Along with sourcing and selling the hydroponic equipment, Dallas Urban Farms staff will visit the farm daily to harvest produce when it’s ready.
“You just want to keep your eyes on [the vegetables] so you can harvest them exactly when he’s wanting them,” Jody Wall said.
The hydroponic farm is a self-contained structure utilizing ebb and flow irrigation.
Along with sustainability, Davaillon sees many other benefits to having his own hydroponic farm.
“You don’t have to worry about weather conditions, consistency, traceability, and shelf life, especially for the salads,” Davaillon said.
By self-supplying, Davallion will be able to feature traditionally out of season vegetables year round.
“So many times in restaurants, chefs will end up having to pick from a produce list from one of the large produce suppliers, and they don’t always have the specialty items that a French chef might want,” Jody Wall said.
Along with the main restaurant space, there also will be a Bullion grab-and-go counter on the downstairs floor of the building, featuring sandwiches and soups, according to GuideLive. The hydroponic produce will be featured in both areas.
Dallas Urban Farms has worked with chefs in the past, such as executive chef for Dallas Hilton Anatole David Scalise, and believes hydroponic produce makes all the difference.
“When you take individual ingredients that have a more robust flavor profile because they were grown on hydroponics and they didn’t have to struggle to get their nutrients from the soil, it immeaditely elevates the entire dish,” Jody Wall said. “It turns up the volume on the entire flavor.”
The equipment has not arrived due to shipping complications, but the Walls are ready to hit the ground running.
“I can not wait until I have my first bite of something that I grew for him and that he made,” Jody Wall said. “I’m actually giddy about it. I can’t wait.”
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