After a year of not being able to travel to Europe, luxury travelers are looking for a taste of the continent stateside, and that’s what they’ll find at this luxury Dallas hotel.
The Mansion on Turtle Creek brings European architecture, design, cuisine and hospitality to the vibrant Uptown Dallas area. The ICONIC luxury hotel began life in 1929 as a palatial family home for cotton baron Sheppard W. King. King and his wife traveled throughout Europe collecting inspiration, furnishings and art from across Italy, England, Spain and Germany to bring to their 10,000 sq. ft. 16th Century Italian Renaissance-style estate.
The mansion boasted a silver vault, a 16th Century fireplace brought back stone-by-stone from Germany, a dining room ceiling comprised of 2,400 pieces of enamel and inlaid wood and a cantilevered stairway that was considered an engineering marvel at the time.
The mansion became the hottest party invitation in Dallas and through the years, hosted the likes of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Tennessee Williams. In 1979 the property was purchased by Rosewood and underwent a $21 million, two-year renovation to convert it into the luxury hotel it is today. It’s hosted Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. and George H.W. Bush.
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Besides the design, Turtle Creek’s signature acclaimed The Mansion Restaurant brings the flavor of Europe to discerning diners with a chef who literally grew up in his family’s restaurant kitchen in France, and pastries that will make you yearn even more for your favorite Parisian patisserie.
ICONIC LIFE recently sat down with Executive Chef Sebastien Archambaul and pastry chef Jacquelynn Beckman to learn more about how they’re using their talents to bring a taste of Europe with an American spin to The Mansion on Turtle Creek.
Today, all the values of ownership I learned from my parents help me run the kitchen in this luxury hotel.
CHEF SEBASTIEN ARCHAMBAULT
ICONIC LIFE: Tell us about how working in the family restaurant in France shaped your interest in being a chef and your philosophy today?
Chef Archambaul: I started being in a professional kitchen at 5 years old and working at a station at 8 years old. I enjoyed it, even at such a young age. My Dad was the chef in the kitchen, and it was intimidating working with a brigade. But the teamwork and the camaraderie really made me enjoy every hour. I was proud to be a part of the team and proud to cook for our guests at my little frog leg station.
Today, all the values of ownership I learned from my parents help me run the kitchen in this luxury hotel with those values in mind, maybe in a different way had I not been a part of my family restaurant.
ICONIC LIFE: What’s your earliest culinary memory?
Chef Archambaul: Baking a pear pie on an American flag wooden table in Le Bugue at the 3 Fontaines restaurant in the back of the kitchen.
ICONIC LIFE: Tell us how your mentor Jean Francois Rouquette helped you in your career.
Chef Archambaul: Before I graduated from ESCF Ferrandi in Paris, Jean Francois offered me a job at La Cantine des Gourmets where I started my first full-time job as a chef de partie saucier. Jean Francois’ leadership was very comparable to that of a rugby team coach and he always took care of us, sharing great values of honesty, camaraderie, respect and transparency. I really like all those values as I think they are the foundation of being a leader at a luxury hotel like The Mansion on Turtle Creek.
He believed in me and promoted me to a sous chef position. We stayed in contact after I left Paris, and he always guided me through my career choices and still does. He sent me to Mexico for two years and later connected me with the Hyatt Group to open the first Andaz in West Hollywood and more. We became friends, and we try to see each other every year!
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ICONIC LIFE: How does cooking for a Texas palate differ from cooking for a French client?
Chef Archambaul: I think here in America, in general, the guest enjoys sweeter flavors than in France, combining smoking, brining and pickling technics. The heat from local chili peppers is fantastic when in season. I love them! Here in Dallas at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, a lot of people travel to Europe and are aware of traditional French flavors. The biggest difference is sourcing ingredients that lead to the major flavor difference for the same recipe. But here at luxury hotel The Mansion, I am using my French technique mixed with local ingredients to create dishes that show my personality of being Texan-born and raised in France.
ICONIC LIFE: What dish is your go-to when at home with your family?
Chef Archambaul: BBQ is my go-to; I love the entire process and atmosphere! The preparation, the smoke, the beers while I cook, and the difficulty of the process.
ICONIC LIFE: Favorite ingredient?
Chef Archambaul: It depends on the season, but mushrooms in general… from the Tuber Melanosporum to black trumpet and the morels—I love them all and really appreciate the difference of flavors they all have.
ICONIC LIFE: You’ve lived around the world, how has it inspired your food?
Chef Archambaul: Authenticity, this is what I am looking for when I am cooking—honest food with honest ingredients—nothing too complicated to hide flavors or poor ingredients. The beauty of a simple dish IS the difficulty of a simple dish.
ICONIC LIFE: What do you like to do outside of the luxury hotel kitchen at The Mansion on Turtle Creek?
Chef Archambaul: Family time of course, gardening, working on my rookie mechanic skills, barbecuing with friends and sharing an epicurean moment!
Baking was a way for me to spread joy; I loved the idea of making something with my hands for my friends and family to enjoy.
PASTRY CHEF JACQUELYNN BECKMAN
ICONIC LIFE: What got you into baking?
Chef Beckman: Baking was a way for me to spread joy; I loved the idea of making something with my hands for my friends and family to enjoy. I remember laying on the beach with my best friend senior year talking about the future, and I told her that I was stressed about picking a major for college and said, “I wish I could just bake cookies and be happy.” She told me, “then do it!” That simple conversation changed my life and set me on the path where I am today at The Mansion on Turtle Creek.
ICONIC LIFE: What was your favorite sweet treat as a kid?
Chef Beckman: Chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream with melted peanut butter.
ICONIC LIFE: Do you have a favorite ingredient to work with at the luxury hotel?
Chef Beckman: I love working with chocolate. It is so scientific and precise while being magical and mysterious. I just love everything about chocolate.
ICONIC LIFE: Current favorite dessert?
Chef Beckman: I still love chocolate chip cookies but am currently obsessed with affogatos.
ICONIC LIFE: Dessert trend that is totally overrated?
Chef Beckman: I am very passionate about my hostility towards cake-pops.
ICONIC LIFE: How would you describe your style?
Chef Beckman: I use traditional technique but add elements of fun and whimsy to every plate. I love bringing to life conventional desserts but adding a little bit of my quirky personality while elevating the dessert at The Mansion on Turtle Creek.
ICONIC LIFE: How difficult is it being both young and a woman in this luxury hotel industry?
Chef Beckman: What a loaded question. I have struggled for so many years to prove myself, feeling that I had to work twice as hard as the person beside me to be taken seriously. I was told that I am too “happy” or “bubbly” to be a successful chef, but I did not listen and stayed true to myself.
Growing up with two brothers has made me extremely competitive. I have always strived to be the fastest and best at whatever I undertake, racing people I work with (them not even knowing about the competition). My husband has always had my back helping me push for what I deserved. I feel like I have sacrificed a lot to be where I am today, but it has all been worth it. Now I get to be the boss I always desired for myself, helping my team grow and encouraging them to be creative and to have a voice at this luxury hotel.
ICONIC LIFE: What makes working at The Mansion on Turtle Creek special?
Chef Beckman: I remember the first day I walked into The Mansion for my interview, and I was immediately overwhelmed with the feeling of belonging. The Mansion culture feels likes family.
ICONIC LIFE: How did you keep sane during 2020 when things were closed down?
Chef Beckman: The love and support from family, friends, my dog and… sourdough bread!!