Chef Dena Peterson

October 1, 2011

Dena Peterson runs one of Fort Worth Texas’s most respected kitchens, Café Modern in the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. With a culinary range as vast  and enticing as Texas, her menus reflect influences from Asian, European, American Tex Mex, and southern traditional with an emphasis on locally sourced, seasonal delights. Entrees such as miso-glazed halibut, smoked Arctic Char, and pastrami salmon sashimi or jalapeno jelly-glazed chicken breast with Mexican elote, roasted green beans and vine ripened baby tomatoes are shining examples of her diverse and tasty fare.

Chef Peterson is a spunky woman who rides around town on a scooter, likes Rockabilly, throwing barbecues and growing her own vegetables. A hands-on local foods adventurer, she even raised chickens in her yard just to have that experience.  Her menu reflects this vibrant spirit, showing technical culinary skills, a strong preference for seasonal local gems and a honed exuberance that delights her guests. As the Executive Chef for Bon Appétit Management Company at Café Modern, she has full rein to express her creativity in curating her menus.

For Peterson, food was an early passion. Growing up with a grandmother who cooked good, simple, fresh food left a deep impression. “My background is half South Texas cotton pickers and half Norwegian, reflecting Texas as a great melting pot of so many cultural influences.  I grew up with a focus on what is delicious, available and, of course, a lot of good cornbread and beans which are among my favorites.” Southern traditional dishes with quirky twists such as Tabasco buttermilk fried chicken tenders, marinated and breaded chicken breast with summer corn salad and crispy onion rings or a Strube Ranch Kobe style Wagyu grilled patty on a house-baked sesame Kaiser roll showcase Peterson’s version of southern comfort food with Texas flair.

An advocate of local produce, cheeses, seafood and meats, Peterson regularly buys from multiple farmers, ranchers, seafood purveyors and cheese makers at the Cowtown Farmer’s Market, and has developed long-standing relationships with many local producers, among them Scott Farms, B&G Gardens, Texas Prairie Farms, and Latta Da Dairy. Her commitment to fresh, seasonal ingredients in keeping with Bon Appétit Management Company’s culinary philosophy elevates Café Modern to a destination dining experience. In fact, Peterson’s global culinary acumen is so well respected, Gourmet Magazine named the café as one of the nation’s best.

Mahi Mahi Banh Mi (Vietnamese Fish Sandwich)

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Telephone: 817.840-2157
Toll Free: 1.866.824.5566

[button link=”” newwindow=”yes”] Texas Chef’s Association[/button]

[button link=”” color=”lightblue” newwindow=”yes”] Greater Dallas Restaurant Association[/button]