Photography by Jonathan Johnson.
To Parker Cantera, food is everything.
Resident Taqueria’s top cook has devoted his life to the trade, saying his goal is to open a Michelin Star restaurant in Dallas.
Cantera’s odyssey is 10 years in the making. He began working in food service as a teen.
“I was working at DQ and one day none of the cooks showed up,” Cantera says. “So they just threw me back there, and I was ahead of all the orders and didn’t waste anything. From then on they moved me to the kitchen, but didn’t pay me any more.”
It didn’t take long for him to recognize cooking as a real talent.
“It was hard when I first started really pursuing it, I was just hopping from couch to couch and cooking for whoever I was staying with,” he says.
His first official cooking job came at The People’s Last Stand at Mockingbird Station in 2016.
“It was an amusement park,” he says. “There were just no rules in that kitchen.”
That bygone restaurant occasionally held private events, and that’s where Cantera got his first chance to experiment with pastas and spices.
“When I was really young, I remember tasting raw ginger and soy sauce by themselves and just obsessing over them,” he says.
To this day, every kitchen that Cantera enters is blessed by that same youthful curiosity.
“For everything you learn, there’s three things you don’t. You’re always teaching yourself and teaching your palate,” Cantera says. “I think food is very personal.”
For the next few years, Cantera continued to cook around Dallas at increasingly more diverse restaurants.
“My wife and I got an apartment in Lake Highlands, and I didn’t know much about the neighborhood,” he says. “I literally Googled ‘what’s the best restaurant in Lake Highlands’ and Resident Taqueria was the first thing to show up.”
At the time, Resident wasn’t fully established in the Lake Highlands community.
“The first time I went in, I remember Chef Andrew Savoie was the only person there and he did everything himself,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of chefs, and Andrew stood out because he was authentic and had his hands in everything that went on at the restaurant.”
Cantera says he doesn’t cook for money, sustenance or even passion. He cooks to express an intrinsic desire to create.
“If I’m not creating, then I’m not living,” he says.
Resident Taqueria, 9661 Audelia Road, 972.685.5280, residenttaqueria.com