Clayton Kahler Brown is the lead singer of Preston Hollow

In his garden, Brown grows herbs, tomatoes and okra.

How was the transition back to Texas?
For a very long time, I felt like I was failing when I left New York. I was like, what’s wrong? Why don’t I have the pocket to be able to stay here and weather the storm? But I did not do it. I am so happy to be here. Starting a business in New York is obviously very different from starting a business in Texas. Here in Texas, it’s just not that expensive… The pandemic has really shown us how fragile the entertainment industry is. It depends on an audience and an audience that can’t sit six feet apart. You have to fill a house just so you can break even with a lot of these shows. I don’t think this will be the last pandemic. Hopefully the last of our lives, but I mean, probably not. And I can’t imagine building a career on stage to get it back. It will always come back, of course, but I guess I’m just grateful to start a business where I can make money doing the things I love which is cooking and singing. And I don’t necessarily depend on the bartender and stage work to pay the bills.

How did you decide to launch Crescendo Culinary?
Whenever I get the chance, I travel. I have an old ’95 pickup truck with a mattress topper in the back, and I’m going to put my full size mattress in it. First, I’ll go to Palo Duro State Canyon Park, and spend the night there. And then I go to a place in New Mexico, Santa Fe. Then I go to Colorado. I am camping in Colorado and I see my sister. When things were cut short during the pandemic, I took a long time to do it. It was then that I was alone and I walked in the woods, where I was able to have the silence so that I could just cook with a fire and cook for myself, where I was like, I think I want to do this in Dallas. I think I want to pursue cooking for people, and I can be a private chef. I like to cook for clients at their homes. And I like to get people together for a party and not have to be in the back of the kitchen. I am an interpreter. You have me as a cook, singer and personality.

How did you choose a name?
I knew the backbone of my job would be preparing weekly meals. But I also wanted to serve, and I wanted to provide the whole experience of food and entertainment. Crescendo is a musical term that means to grow. And I like to think it starts with sautéing onions or boiling water until I play and sing at the end, to eat, party, drink and cheer.

Do you choose the songs you sing?
I do, but I’m 110% open to people. If anyone wants to hear a song by Garth Brooks or James Taylor, I’m happy to learn music and play that kind of music. I’ve sung a wide variety of things, from Italian opera in Tuscany to trips with Wynton Marsalis in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Jazz, musical, opera, country, folk songs – I do it all.

What’s the kitchen tool you can’t live without?
Chef’s knife. I have a really cool one. It is a 67-layer Damascus steel knife. And I like having my Google Assistant so I can tell him things, I can ask for things, and he can play Vulfpeck while I’m cooking.

The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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