Artist Spotlight: Jacob Bounds
Backyard on Bell’s head chef’s cultivated love for cooking began with his mother placing importance on making meals at home. Jacob Bounds and his two siblings shared preparation and cleaning duties with their mother as they grew up in a household with unique homemade recipes. After serving in the Army, he moved to Denton in 2013 for school, and he got a job as a delivery driver for TJ’s pizza.
Bounds then took a journey through various kitchens of Denton. He worked his way up to being a chef for TJ’s. His passion for cooking led him through gigs in the kitchens of Coney Island, Pizza Snob, and The Loophole. He didn’t work as a chef in the Army, but he took the time to learn from his friends who did. That experience taught him the difference between making meals at home for a small group of people and large-scale servings.
It would have been easy to take in ingredients from food distribution companies and follow a basic recipe to result in a pizza that tastes likes any chain offering. But in Denton there are characteristic styles of pizza tastes with J&Js, Pizza Snob, and TJ’s. Bounds walked a fine line in developing recipes that aren’t too simple or too complicated. He took time to pinpoint how to prepare marinara and dough so that he’s bringing out the best flavor after his pies come out of the oven.
Knowing how to run a kitchen is just as important as a zesty approach to cooking. Bounds credits the mentorship of Linsey and Charlie Nolet from the Loophole. Another key contributor to his recipe building is his former TJ’s colleague, Jacobi Roberts. “Everyone needs a little help. Even head chefs have that one person who’s there to back them,” says Bounds. He’s supported by a crew that are all passionate about cooking.
Like a filmmaker or stagewright, a chef is appreciative of seeing a positive response to their creative recipes. When the first order for pizza came through at Backyard on Bell, Bounds was anxious to see what the response would be. He says, “it’s rewarding to know I’m not the only who thinks my food is good.” The menu at Backyard on Bell’s menu is comparable to pizza ovens such as The Grateful Head(Oklahoma) and Olivella’s (Dallas).
In the future Bounds plans to add a breakfast pizza to the menu. His advice to anyone who wants to be more creative with their recipes is, “accept that some things you make are not going to taste good and don’t get discouraged by that.” There is a trial and error portion with any creative endeavour. It takes passion to persevere through making mistakes.
Photos by Mateo Granados
Header image design by Sara Button