LOCAL Houston | The City Guide March 2017 - Page 27

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE DOMINIC B. MANDOLA RAGIN’ CAJUN RESTAURANTS If there is one thing DOMINIC MANDOLA is an expert on, it’s the restaurant business. The Houston-native and son of LUKE B. MANDOLA SR., original owner of Ragin’ Cajun, has been around the restaurant world his entire life, holding nearly every position in the business. From bus boy to chef and now president, Dominic has grown up with Ragin’ Cajun and customer service in his blood. In 2000, the married father of four took over daily operations and set out on a path to expand the business across the Houston area. In his first two years, Dominic opened locations at Woodlake Square on Westheimer and in the Downtown tunnels to wild success. In 2004, he expanded to the suburbs of Sugar Land and extended “The Original” Ragin’ Cajun with the L.A. Bar, in 2012. How’d you learn to cook? Growing up, my mom always served up delicious home-cooked meals. What’s the first recipe you ever mastered? Mom’s spaghetti and homemade meatballs served with a homemade red gravy. What ingredient can you not live without in the kitchen and why? Cayenne pepper – brings a kick to many dishes, not too much, but just enough. What utensil can you not live without? Must have a sharp 10” CHEF’S KNIFE! Favorite affordable wine? Alanera by Zenato, any of the Red Blends. Favorite place for dessert? Crave Cupcakes – Red Velvet and Meche’s Donut King – King Cake with Bavarian Crème. Is there a food you won’t eat? Black olives. What is your comfort food? Fried shrimp po-boy. What do you see as the next food trend? Gourmet convenience with natural/healthy ingredients in fast casual restaurants. At home, what do you keep on hand to serve drop-in guests? Fine cheeses with crackers and hummus with pita chips with a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce. What would people be surprised to find in your home refrigerator? Links of boudin. What would be your last meal? Bellaire Broiler Burger makes my day! Photography by Max Burkhalter march 17 | LOCAL 27