“they” say your opinion counts……….so give it up!!!

ive been waiting for a longtime for starchefs.com to cover the houston area’s “rising star” chefs but no dice as of yet.

im gonna leave this one up to yall.  please submit your recommendations (and why) for your favorite houston area chef.  i will compose the results, post them & have a party to celebrate these chefs.  this is not a joke!  im very serious about this. 

houston has many talented chefs such as mark cox, del grande, john sheeley, marco wiles, charles clark, gadsby & many others………………………….BUT this is for our up & coming bad asses! 

with all due respect to the what i have heard  them  referred to as “the dinosaurs”, who made houston the fine dining city it is today, it’s time to unleash all this homegrown gulf coast talent!!!

alright people, boards are open and awaiting your recommendations (and why)!  your choice can be any culinary professional and not just our “up-scale restaurant chefs”.  it can be a serious sandwich artist or a master of the “tongue” taco.  i’m ready to celebrate these chefs and give them the honor they deserve! 

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About greensandbeans

this blog focuses on the trials & tribulations of the culinary evolution and explorations in the kitchen. it is also an open forum to discuss food ideas, techniques & most of all to expose the "happenings" and discoveries that are occurring in our very own backyard. "feedin my dreams by eatin greens & beans"... cheers, randy rucker
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47 Responses to “they” say your opinion counts……….so give it up!!!

  1. Pingback: Top Chef Houston at Tasty Bits

  2. Brad says:

    How about Dax McAnear from Beaver’s Ice House? Dax is doing some really fun things inside the BBQ/Ice House constraints.

  3. the party huh? its really just a reason to get a bunch of cooks together and get drunk, but you usually dont need a reason for that to happen…………………

  4. Cory Crow says:

    Dae Young-Jo of J’s Bistro on the far Northwest side. Good, ever-changing seasonal menu. And there are few in Houston that are as good pairing beer with food.

    Now….about that party.

  5. Ed says:

    Ryan Hildebrand. Check out his food on the Corleone side of Pantrenellas.

  6. tastybits says:

    After my first experience with America’s in the Woodlands I think JJ and Plinio make up one of the most talented teams in the city. Turning a Cordua establishment into one of the most interesting restaurants in the city is a real accomplishment. Plinio, specifically is one of the most talented pastry chefs not just in Houston, but anywhere in the country.

    Also, Srifah Vorarittinapa at Lemongrass is really starting to come into her own. First few years were up and down, but lately the cooking at Lemongrass is getting better and better.

  7. neverfull says:

    i second the nominations for jonathan jones and ryan hildebrand. do you have to pick just one?
    btw, ryan cooks for both patrenella’s and corleone.

  8. jaywsp1013 says:

    I love it….PANIC and GOOD FOOD! I throw in Michael Kramer, Voice in the Hotel Icon. Former Chef at McCrady’s in Charleston. Worked for him for a couple of years.

    Do you post on the stream? Where are you at? “still want more…more fishwater”

  9. Pingback: James Beard Awards 2008 mark another year of irrelevance at Tasty Bits

  10. Gonzesse Du Vin says:

    Chris Shepherd from Catalan – for his natural talent and die-hard and relentless support of our local farmers. At last! Someone in Houston to get us out of our culinary rut! What’s fresh and local in Houston? Go to Catalan to find out!

  11. ChiquitaB says:

    Chris Shepherd of Catalan is my choice for the most talented chef in Houston. Get in there for an amazing dining experience!

  12. Peter Sachs says:

    Catalan’s Chef has my vote for his innovative food, especially the delicious tidbits, his food in general, his service and wines.

  13. it's me! it's me! says:

    what about Jason Gould at Gravitas?
    or Brian Caswell at Reef?

  14. Duff says:

    Duff and the siegle=gardner holding it down in Chi-town, houston transplants.

  15. RC McDaniel says:

    My vote is for Chris Shepherd at Catalan. Amazing and intovating!!!

  16. i am a bit surprised by the words used to describe chris shepard’s food. i really dig on his food but “innovative” he is not. his style is very traditional and market driven……………not innovative

    just to clarify…

    1. ahead of the times; “the advanced teaching methods”; “had advanced views on the subject”; “a forward-looking corporation”; “is British industry innovative enough?” [syn: advanced]

    2. being or producing something like nothing done or experienced or created before; “stylistically innovative works”; “innovative members of the artistic community”; “a mind so innovational, so original”

  17. plinio says:

    my vote’s for Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi from Kubo’s. hands down, the best sushi in houston!

  18. Tiger says:

    How about chef Olivier at Tony’s? He’s brought the place into the 21st century, and his execution is always spot on. (Heck, I never thought of Tony’s as a steakhouse, but their Akaushi sirloin is the best steak I’ve ever tasted, bar none.)

  19. sonjachow says:

    Are you talking taste or innovation –
    Some plates are beautiful – but cannot (written
    with the greatest respect here) be eaten – much
    less desired of a return visits at current serious
    prices. One of the most difficult aspects of cooking
    is restraint…..and respect. It is far easier to
    hot dog than to go deep inside and pull out your
    geographical guts and have the courage to put
    that on a plate.If a musician were to play his
    horn exactly like Miles Davis – well that would be
    fine – however – we already have a Miles Davis…..
    Influlence yes…copy…well…
    “To thine own self be true” – that takes the greatest
    courage – even in food composition.

  20. sonjachow…

    i dig what ur saying. i was refering to the words used to describe something not appling merit to innovation over taste. oui?

  21. eatLOCALorDIE says:

    wow…lots of good comments. i am honored just to be mentioned…last year i was the “king of dive bar decadance” and now i am included here!!!
    i don’t belive people even know some of the techniques we plinio and i are using these days because we do not menu them. however any techniques i am currently using…sous vide cooking, liquid nitrogen superfrozen corn, the use of gums, tapioca maltodextrin for powders, transglutaminase for better meat shaping, vacuume compressed items, etc…were all taught(or at the very least introduced) to me by RANDY RUCKER of Tenacity (tomball, Tx.)!!!
    Randy Rucker has my vote.
    So does JUSTIN BAYSE (pronounced bay-yeah-zizza-zee for some odd reason!)
    Plinio Sandalio and all the talented sous’ that make the chefs look good.
    Jj

  22. eatLOCALorDIE says:

    One point people…sunjachow has a great point, beautiful plates which cannot be eaten have no place. what is a beautiful plate? soft polenta, topped with braised pork cheek and crispy pigs ears all pale yellow and brown? YES…to someone with this gastronomic pursuit in mind it is beautiful…or manipulations of a single vegetable such as beets as it were at Icon (seven ways, seven textures)? YES….are these both innovative? Sure!..maybe the polenta is local made, the pigs cheek heritage pork from jolivieu confit’d in its own rendered fat under vacuum in a low temp water bath using an immersion circulator for a massive flavor concentration and perfect texture? same with the pigs ears. maybe it is even finished with a foam of the rendered pigs juices acidified with red wine to cut the fat!
    What is hot dogging? I thought i did that at the Wine Dive with the Texas Haute Dog???
    are people still doing this? going..bam baM bAM BAM!

    and anything that is wholely mine in the world of food comes from deep within the geograohical rainforest of my guts…but i cook for a BRAND restaurant so its hard…remember that when you come see me…look for the interesting.

    By Randys definition you would have to be Homaru Cantu, jose andres, ferand, wylie…lets “levitate” on that.
    It is hard to do something that no one else has done in the world of food…but its not so hard to keep trying!!! plinio thought he was a genius for making custard in a micro wave, than he read a michelle richard book and low & behold what did he find! DAMN IT he said! But for a minute he was innovative…and he keeps trying every day…being bested by someone you respect is awesome.

    I take a back seat to people like randy, justin, duff, ryan, etc…every day “the back seat”
    but i keep striving for the front…and in the mean time my food always tastes good.
    Jj

  23. Foodie says:

    When a Chef is adamant about supporting local farmers is a wonderful thing! No one does it better than Chris Shepherd from Catalan, and his creations are orgasmic. Go Chris!

  24. TheBigG says:

    So, when you say market driven as in the above comment about Chris Shepherd from Catalan, are you referring to market as in a “farmers market” or as in a social structure, trendy way? I think as far as the former, it takes tremendous skill to be noble, popular, unique AND delicious. To me, if someone can create super tasty food, creatively, and essentially on the fly, with what is available to him locally, and in small amounts, then I think they can be innovative, and commendable, but most importantly as for the point of this whole thing, YUMMY! My vote is for Chris Shepherd from Catalan.

  25. thats the answer we are looking for! i was only trying to provoke people to give reasons for their nomination. chris has got moves, no dought about it, but i think his knack for sourcing local stuff gives him the ability to be creative. in that way, chris is innovative…

  26. tastybits says:

    I have a big problem with people who use words like “yummy” and “delish”. Unless you are a high school girl trying to sound kute, please stop.

  27. el sheriff says:

    catalan and chris shepherd have my vote, not only for the excellence in cuisine but also for the no farm no food support of all of houstons local produce providers. that say alot about his commitment to the freshest of ingredients and how he likes to keep customers sometimes guessing as to what he may have found in his weekly forays to the local markets.

    hats off to chris! he gets my vote!!

  28. YEAH CHRIS SHEPHARD!!! Chris and I go way back and I have to say if anyone has helped push the local movement, he and randy evans have…Chris also has the ability and freedom to use local…working for a brand is difficult and can create many challenges in using local farmers produce. It will be a slow battle to get more local items on the menu where i work…but it will happen eventually.
    Jj
    In the mean time…go CHRIS!!!
    for all of you local houstonites you might want to venture far north 45 and see what new things await out here!

  29. I have to say, wow. There is seems to be a bit of talk about the food that I represent. I have to say Thank you to all those who support. I am not sure if our food falls into the “Innovative” category of what people think that is. I am not sure if gums, sous vide and all those fancy things will every come out of our kitchen. I respect them tremendously, understand them, no. Our belief is using as much local product as possible whatever that is. It is our JOB as chefs to offer the best and freshest product to our customers. That is what people expect from us. This is not innovative, it is very old school. When was the last time you broke down a 260 pound hog and didn’t throw anything away. I did the other day. Kidney fat for pastry, Belly’s for bacon, Back fat for Lardo, Scraps for sausage and terrine. This is what we love. I would rather make it than call and order it. I don’t know if market driven is the exact word for it. I can remember someone not so long ago very giddy when I laid a over easy local goose egg in front of them or “buffalo” local chicken feet. We are just doing what we are supposed to do. Trying to accurately express the products that come into our kitchen. If you were to do a tasting menu on the night that we get a pig in you would probably get offal and fun stuff. It is what is freshest and tasty. We want the products to speak for them self, not to manipulate them to be something that they are not. It comes down to the integrity of the product. Jonathon, I put you up there with the best and brightest. My sous Antoine and Justin Baysse are right up there as well. The boys at feast are “innovative” in the way that they change the way in this city eat. That is what is innovative. I can’t remember the last time I had to ask “How was your crab cake?” do you? Hori is the Bomb! I will see you on sat mornings after the Farmers market. It is our dream to see more and more chefs at our local markets buying stuff for their customers, not just themselves. That is our goal and you should hang your head low every time you see a farmer going home with something.

  30. ok ok ok. chris has a big one!
    i think my innovative comment has been translated into a negitive comment. i didnt mean it to sound negitive. i dig chris’s food and im pretty sure he is talking about me when discussing the goose egg & chicken feet. i guess in more ways than one a person can be innovative. feast is doing things that are new to the city as a whole and i value that but the no waste aspect has been around as long as people have attempted to survive. no waste is more of a respect issue for the animal and a way to make money out of something that may have gone in the trash. this takes technique and passion! i think jj hit the nail right on the head when saying that chris and randy (evans) both have played huge roles in the local movement and for that i say “thanks”…

    …and as far as the crab cake question? well? i better keep that comment to myself!

    and on another funny note, justin’s name was misspelled…………….again.

  31. plinio says:

    i have yet to eat at catalan and feast. i grew up eating bits and pieces that end up in the trash. living in a third world country really helps you appreciate the animal. unfortunately, for me, all was lost when i moved to this country. i was introduced to fast food, french cuisine, haute cuisine, american cuisine (brand cuisine!). and i was sold. it was new, it was exciting. but it never satisfied. it only filled a void. it only stuffed me when i was hungry. i was never really happy eating what i ate. i missed the food of bolivia. i miss the respect for the animal and all its parts.

    one day, jj got an order in of veal hearts. my face lit up. i knew what to do with it. it brought many many childhood memories of when food was more than food. it reminded me of when food was food and was delicious. i immediately went into a food zone. everything disappeared. i was zone on the veal heart. skewer it. brush it with oil, salt and pepper, and barely seared it on a grill. ate it. and i was lost in happiness.

    i have not experienced this sort of food coma in a long time.

    i dont understand why the american palette thinks that the best cut of meat is the tenderloin!

    jj has been a huge influence in my culinary career. im difficult to work with. he’s had patience with me and introduced me to local products and a devout passion for food.

    im coming to houston this sunday. where to eat? catalan? feast?

    my votes are for jj, hori, randy, justin

  32. dax says:

    I throw my vote in for Senior Shephard. I love his reply, and I like how he just does his own thing, the right way. Plus, the guy is a complete sweet heart. Keep on keepin on man.

  33. rebecca masson says:

    First, I would like to say that I respect everyone’s opinions listed above. With that being said, my support would go with Chris as well. I have been working for him for 6 months now and he is hands down, the most passionate man about what he does. You should come to line up at Catalan. The way he explains the dishes to the staff…sometimes, I think he making love to that dish he is describing.
    To say that he uses a whole pig is almost an understatement. When he came to me and asked me what did I think about using the suet for pastry….well, I kind of giggled. But you know what, he made it work and made it stunning. He doesn’t do it with the attitude that he is getting every last dime out of that pig, he does it because he wants to.
    A while back, he purchased a few of the hydrocolloids to play with. He watched me mess around with them and that was it. Chris’s food is pure. It is real. It hasn’t been manipulated by six different people. In some ways it is “innovative” because it is so real. I know it is all the rage to try and be different, but I think this city has shown that they don’t want it. They want food to satisfy them, to make them happy, to remind them of what food is supposed to be like. If I had a dollar for everytime someone has told me they left Catalan in a food coma…well, I would be in business for myself!
    As far as the other chefs that ought to be on your list…Ryan Pera, Dax McAnear, Jason Gould. These guys all make beautiful food because they love what they do and it shows.
    And the sous should get credit as well. What would I do with Tracie Hartman teaching me how to make the best damn gravy and Duff (you know that gnocchi with the venison made me dance in my chair!)

  34. eatLOCALorDIE says:

    yaaaayyyy….chris does have a big one. thanks bro for the vote of confidence…one day i dream that i will be able to serve farm to fork again…i am working with a brand thats focus is no where near tat idea…but in time, as water chisels the mountain, i may have farm to fork again!!!
    which one of us really cares about being innovative…i’d rather be enlightening…raising the culinary bar in the city by “whole beast” cookery as with chris and richard knight( of feast), or by using scientific specific cooking by manipulating textures and the way we perceive ingredients. we are still educating, sharing and enlightening…oh what fun we will have!
    do it your way and continue to share!!!
    Jj
    ps. without chris shephard, randy rucker, randy evans, jason gould, scott tycer, the very under appreciated yet genius CHAD FUCKING FRY, justin bayse(bazyizzazzee), plinio sandalio, matthew fucking mclaughlin, justin gasper and a few others…i would just be a boy from la porte.(not that there is anything wrong with that!)

  35. thought u where from eastern louisiana, like your boy “papa mali”

  36. lovefood says:

    How about pastry chef David Cordua at Americas Woodlands? I understand he was behind the design of the menu of A’s. He seems to stay UTR while leading others!

  37. lovefood.

    david is not the pastry chef at americas, nor is he the chef. his concentration is the operations. he plays a key role in every aspect and is respected by all the cordua employees. he had a major influence on their wine and cocktail program and did have a some say in the redesigning of the “new” menu but jj, plinio and the staff deserve the credit for the food coming outta that kitchen. david is one to watch over the next couple of years and deserves to be mentioned on this list!

    david has been a key asset to the cordua group since he joined a little over a year ago. ive said it once and i will say it again, david is the next danny myers.

  38. Pingback: how in the good lords name did “they” miss bobby & his crew?? « feeding curiosity

  39. Caz says:

    I gotta tell you, that comment by Chris is Insane!

    Another vote for Shepherd

    btw, I love crab cakes

  40. Pingback: the wheels are turning… « feeding curiosity

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