When Michael Weinstein was executive chef at The Grape, he looked the part — the clean-cut embodiment of a budding culinary career on Dallas’ upscale-restaurant scene. Flash forward a couple years. He wants to talk about his new business — in person. The chef and “new business” CEO bears little resemblance to the Weinstein of old. This one sports faded jeans, a pinkish T-shirt, and a head full of unruly dreadlocks. He offers up a plastic baggie of chips, two small containers of salsa and a business card that reads “The Dread Head Chef”. The treat has an unexpected taste — sugary, cinnamon-y chips and sweet salsas, one mango and one strawberry. Weinstein says he came up with the idea by chance while making dessert for a family meal. “I was really trying to make sopapillas. Meanwhile my niece was slicing strawberries and making a mess.” The projects collided — around the same time The Grape was sold and his stint there (along with haircuts) ended. “I just got tired of conforming,” he says. There are countless ways to use the Dread Head Chef products, which you can buy at Jimmy’s Food Store, Green Spot and Veritas, to name a few. “Cook with it, top off chicken or fish, mix it into a drink — use your imagination,” Weinstein says. To date, all of his products are sweet, but the chef also has some savory ideas brewing under that shock of tangled tresses. He promises to keep experimenting, tasting and testing, and taking into consideration the ideas of his customers. “Our website will have a spot for recipe submissions, and I hope people will let us know how they are using [the products].”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.