2015 Chef to Watch – David Sorrells


David Sorrells, Restaurant Calla


When talking with professional and focused chef David Sorrells about 
his introduction to the culinary world, it’s difficult to picture the young cook, who described a rocky college experience and self-confident attitude typical 
of so many young chefs.

David got his start at Brennan’s of Houston and soon ventured to the Las Vegas incarnation of Commander’s Palace. While out west, David moonlighted at world-class Las Vegas establishments, including Picasso and now-closed Renoir.

One day while shopping, David learned that Thomas Keller, of the famed French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley, would be in town for a book signing later that week.

“I made sure I got there early and was first in line—with a resume and handwritten mission statement. About two weeks later I got a call from Thomas and went to work at French Laundry. The experience was very humbling and taught me the importance of the restaurant business. It wasn’t just food, it was the respect for the product you’re working with. But it was also organization, cleanliness, and those kinds of things.”

David eventually brought his enthusiasm and knowledge to Lake Charles where he opened Restaurant Calla. The locally-focused new American menu changes seasonally and features vivid combinations, like Blue Crab Beignets with avocado, almond, and mint, and fried quail with greens and hot sauce buerre blanc.

“We try to make sure we’re hitting all the taste buds,” David says. “We want bitter, we want sweet, we want salty, we want spicy. We want it all in there. We want a wow factor to our menu items. That’s what we strive for.”

In his scallops dish, sweet raisin and aromatic fennel make an unforgettably flavorful combination. “I usually give scallops about two minutes per side. Then 
I flip them and baste them. My biggest advice would be don’t overcook them.”


Seared Sea Scallops with Chorizo and Fennel Salad

Click here to meet the 2015 Chefs to Watch. 

Jeffrey Hansell, Oxlot 9
Nick Oskoian, Willa Jean Bakery
David Dickensauge, Bin 77
Melissa Martin, Mosquito Supper Club
Blake Abene, Square Root
David Sorrells, Restaurant Calla

Join the 2015 Chefs to Watch at Sac-a-Lait in New Orleans on October 19 for an exclusive 6-course dinner.

For more on the 2015 Chefs to Watch, pick up the September/October issue of Louisiana Cookin’