Twenty at the Tower Stretches Chef Gwin Grimes

A series of intimate dinners called Twenty at the Tower continues this month in Fort Worth where diners have no idea who's cooking until they arrive.

The pop-up dinners cost $75 a person and proceeds support the Fort Worth Food and Wine Foundation, which will host the inaugural Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival in March 2014.

"I love it! I love it!," said Gwin Grimes, chef/owner of Artisan Baking Company.  "When I had this opportunity (to be part of Twenty at the Tower), I jumped at it. It's a way for me to stretch as a chef and do something different."

Grimes doesn't own her own restaurant.  She turned a former fast-food joint into her culinary castle where she whips up bread, pastries, pastas, jams, jellies and preserves and sells them at the Cowtown Farmers Market.  She's there every Saturday, year round, and on Wednesdays in the summer.

She also teaches cooking lessons and is the featured chef at small, private dinner parties.

When her big night at Twenty at the Tower arrived, Grimes used locally-grown and locally-made ingredients for her "upscale blue plate special".

"We did six courses, five of which were vegetarian," she described. Some of her courses? "We did chicken fried portabellas with cream gravy, garlic thyme mashed potatoes and wine-simmered collard greens."

"I like to focus on fresh flavors, taking really great ingredients and do as little as possible to them," she said "So there's less to mess up."

And the reaction to her mostly veggie meal? "The plates came back empty, so that's the best reward a chef can get."

Want to give one of Grimes' creations a try?  She shares her recipe for a tomato tart, here.

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