10 questions with Fort Worth chef Christian Lehrmann

Christian Lehrmann

Get to know Christian Lehrmann with these 10 questions | Photo provided

Table of Contents

This piece is part of our FTWtoday Q+A series. Do you know someone we should interview? Nominate them here.

Executive Chef Christian Lehrmann is throwing it down at Courtside Kitchen, making classic American dishes with a modern twist. We asked Christian 10 questions about his life, career, love for food, and what the Fort Worth community means to him. Keep reading to find out his role at the upcoming Food and Wine Fest + a special recipe.

Describe your perfect day in Fort Worth.

I’ll start by grabbing a coffee at one of the local coffee shops, like Avoca. I’ve got a little girl — 2½ years old — so we’ll probably hit up one of the parks and maybe a museum + go grab lunch.

If it’s a nice afternoon, maybe hit up some pickleball here at Courtside Kitchen. I’m also a big golfer and a member of Ridglea Country Club so maybe afternoon tee-time there. Then get dinner at the Clay Pigeon or one of our better places to eat here in Fort Worth with some friends and call it a night.

Let’s talk about life before Courtside Kitchen opened, what were you doing and how did you get this gig?

I own a couple of other concepts here in Fort Worth: Tinie’s Mexican Cuisine and Sidesaddle Saloon in Mule Alley. I also work alongside Sarah Castillo + Glen Keely at a hospitality group called the Neon Light District.

We opened Tinie’s one week before the COVID-19 shutdown, so we had a crazy roller coaster of a first year — but it went well. We were nominated for the best new restaurant here in Fort Worth. I was also put in Texas Monthly for one of the Best Dishes of 2020 (the roasted carrots with chimichurri). As COVID-19 started to calm down, we were ramping up to get Sidesaddle built and open. Then I set my sights on the next project, and here we are at Courtside.

We heard you’re headed to the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, what do you plan on cooking?

I’m doing the Main Event (Fri., April 1) with Tinie’s, but if we’re talking Courtside specifically, we’re doing the Culinary Corral (Sat., April 2). I’m probably going to be doing our buttermilk biscuits and house-made sausage gravy for brunch.

Which events do you recommend our readers check out at FWFWF?

Well, selfishly they need to go to the Main Event, but the Sidesaddle Saloon is also going to be doing the Night Bites (Fri., April 1). Honestly, all of the events are really good. You should find a way to just make it to day two or three, the food and drink marathon, you can’t miss it. It’s really fun.

You can only choose one ingredient to bring with you to a deserted island — which one is it and why?

I’m going to bring cheese. I love cheese. Pretty much any kind of cheese. I feel like I could eat cheese every day and never get tired of it.

What word would you use to best describe the Fort Worth food scene?

I would say inspiring. I love the city’s persistence and its ability to adapt, grow, change, and be open-minded to new and fun food. I think that’s really the reason why I’ve continued to stay in Fort Worth and why I put my roots down here — because I want to make the food scene just as big and as cool as Austin or New York.

What’s the most common dish you make at home?

I make steak at least once, maybe twice a week. It’s just something that you can do a lot of things with. Throw it on the grill, marinate it, cook it in a pan, you could do all sorts of stuff with it.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

I would probably say Tokyo Cafe is one that we frequent the most. The owners are really good people and, you know, it’s just good to support friends and local businesses.

What’s your favorite local ingredient? Something that makes your recipes taste like Fort Worth.

I can’t say it’s necessarily an ingredient, but the southern hospitality. We cook with love, and we take pride in what we’ve made and how we present it. I think that’s really the secret ingredient to why people in Fort Worth love it and why restaurants are finding success.

What inspires your recipes? Do they come from things you’ve tasted or experienced?

I think it’s a combination of life experiences, places I’ve traveled to + dishes I’ve eaten and loved. I’ll try to make my own version of dishes and add my own spin to it. I’ve kind of been doing that with most dishes in my career — taking something that someone knows and then reinventing it in a way that’s fun and exciting.

Courtside Kitchen

From left to right: Pimento cheese dip, fried pickles + chicken satay | Photo via FTWtoday

Bonus question: How do you make your homemade pickles at Courtside Kitchen?

What you’ll need:

3 pounds crisp pickling cucumbers, sliced

1 small onion, julienned

1/4 cup salt

2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon turmeric


In a colander, toss together with salt, onions, and cucumbers. Let sit for 1 hour and rinse to remove the salt. Place rinsed cucumbers and onions in glass jars.

Bring vinegar, sugar, water to a boil and add mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric. Stir vigorously and boil for 1 minute.

Ladle pickling liquid into jars and place lid on tightly. Let sit out until room temperature. Best stored in a refrigerator to retain crunch.

More from FTWtoday