‘You can taste how much Tony cares’

TTI’s new chef

By Deb Silverthorn

The young men of Texas Torah Institute (TTI) Yeshiva and Mesivta of Dallas needed a chef, and Anthony Philip needed a job. The chef had lost his longtime position at Westin Galleria Dallas, a casualty of the pandemic. 

“Working here is more than good, it’s more than a job,” said Philip, known as Tony to his friends, family and the TTI community. “Everyone here is about respect, religion and righteousness and it is an honor to serve them.”

The matchmaking of Philip and TTI came through Dallas Kosher’s Director of Supervision Rabbi David Shawel, as the two had worked together for years. When Shawel saw the gatherings of guests at the hotels halt almost overnight, he knew someone would need work.

“Tony and I spent a lot of time together, prepping events, and we swapped lots of stories. When I heard of the TTI opportunity, I remembered how respectful and careful a professional he was,” said Shawel. “Ein kemach ein Torah: Without sustenance, there is no Torah, and Tony provides the sustenance for these boys to learn.”

TTI, an affiliate of the Rabbinical Seminary of America/Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, has at its North Dallas campus more than 65 students, including locals and others from around the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“Tony is great. He’s a great cook and he’s a great person,” said Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Tropper. “He’s receptive and accommodating, sweet, gentle and very much a pleasure to work with.”

Five days a week, the native of St. Lucia makes breakfast, lunch and dinner, then weekend meals for TTI’s boarding students. The young men start their days with waffles, pancakes and eggs and then enjoy pastas, chicken dishes or a variety of meat specialties. Philip, a vegetarian, takes in the good reviews of those he serves.

“Tony goes out of his way to make sure that everything is delicious and it always is,” said TTI student Eli Dov Broderick, his favorite meal Thai pineapple chicken. “It’s always nice to talk to him and he always cares. The big things and the little things — he’s always caring about us.”

Philip is one of seven children of Virginia and Denery, of blessed memory. His father was a candymaker and something was always cooking at home. After studying at culinary schools in the Caribbean and in Europe, Philip spent years working in the kitchens of Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean cruise lines.

He moved to Dallas in 2003 from Jackson, Mississippi, with his wife, Donna. He spent six years at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, then moved to the Westin Park Central,  where he was exposed to kosher cooking.

“I love cooking and I love creating kosher recipes so that there’s no loss in the taste or enjoyment of a meal,” said Philip, who prides himself on providing kosher takes on traditional dishes suitable for the most observant of diners. “Sometimes it’s a challenge, but there’s almost always a way and you just have to go for it.”

Yaakov Yisroel Koss, from Queens, New York, makes the TTI dormitory his home away from home. His favorites are tacos and sesame chicken and rice. “It’s an adjustment to be away from home and lots of places the food is very processed, but not here. Tony makes it so you never want to skip a meal and everything he does is just a step above. You can taste how much Tony cares.”

Philip returns the compliment. “I love cooking and I love these young men. For them, and all guests at my table, I cook with my whole heart.”

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