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Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Houston

August 8, 2012 6:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

It’s no question that the Houston restaurant scene is hot, but so too are the chefs. Certain chefs in town are heating things up, in some instances becoming more famous than their restaurants. Take a look at some of the hottest chefs around town.
shivapatel Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Houston

(credit: thequeenvicpub.com)

Shiva Patel
The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen
2712 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 533-0022
thequeenvicpub.com

Some chefs start out with a silver spoon in their mouth, coming from a family of chefs and attending the finest cooking schools at an early age. This is not what happened with Chef Shiva Patel. Unlike other chefs in Houston dining hot spots, Chef Patel started out in the financial industry, but a layoff in 2008 prompted her to change her focus. Her early profession gave Patel the financial means to back night classes in culinary arts. In 2009, she co-founded The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen which features creative takes on Indian and British dishes. While at The Queen Vic, be sure to sample the mulligatawny soup (chicken, lentils, chili, apple, zucchini, coconut milk and mushrooms) or any of the flavorful curries, which are inspired by a recipe from chef Patel’s mother.

bryancaswell Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Houston

(credit: reefhouston.com)

Bryan Caswell
Reef
2600 Travis St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 526-8282
reefhouston.com

Chef Bryan Caswell must be one of the busiest and perhaps most diversified chefs in the city, but also one of the best. Previous honors include a James Beard Award nomination. He has been a contestant on Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” and opened two more eateries: Little Bigs for hamburgers and Stella Sola for new-American and Italian cuisine. Chef Caswell was tapped by the Houston Astros to help develop new flavors for the concessions and suites at Minute Maid Park. Collaborating with food critic and cookbook author Robb Walsh, he helped found El Real Tex-Mex in Montrose. Though each restaurant he has created features a different type of cuisine, the food at all of them has been memorable. When dining at his original restaurant in midtown, Reef, you must try the crispy-skin snapper with sweet and sour chard and tomato brown butter, but don’t forget to save room for one of the best milkshakes in town: the “no minors” milkshake.

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robertdelgrande Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Houston

(credit: rdgbarannie.com)

Robert Del Grande 
RDG + Bar Annie
1800 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 840-1111
rdgbarannie.com

Chef Robert Del Grande has made one of the most significant impacts on the Houston restaurant scene. He has had a hand in the creation of Taco Milagro, the Cafe Express chain, Rio Ranch, RDG + Bar Annie and The Grove. The dishes at Chef Del Grande’s restaurants are American with a Latin-inspired, upscale flair. When at his flagship RDG + Bar Annie, be sure to try the rabbit enchiladas with red mole sauce and slaw or the coffee-roasted beef filet with potatoes and a smoked cheddar cheese crepe.

ronniekillen Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Houston

(credit: killenssteakhouse.com)

Ronnie Killen
Killen Steakhouse
2804 S Main St
Pearland, TX 77581
(281) 485-0844
killenssteakhouse.com

A former nominee for executive chef at the White House, Chef Ronnie Killen is continuing to make a beefy impact on the steak scene in Houston. His first restaurant was Killen’s Kountry BBQ and since then, he has worked in fine-dining establishments around the country. Many of his ventures have excelled at making use of beef in creative and tasty ways, including his current venture Killen’s Steakhouse in Pearland. Numbered among the best steakhouses in Texas by Texas Monthly and named the “Ultimate Steakhouse” by the Houston Chronicle, this guy knows meat. A second much-anticipated location just opened this July in the heart of Houston Heights. Whether you visit his Pearland restaurant or the new location, don’t miss Chef Killen’s signature crème brulee bread pudding to finish your meal.

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jasonchaney Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Houston

(credit: Barbed Rose/Video)

Jason Chaney
The Barbed Rose Steakhouse
113 E Sealy St
Alvin, TX 77511
(281) 585-2272
barbedrose.com

Perhaps one of the most accomplished young chefs in the Houston culinary scene is chef Jason Chaney of the Barbed Rose restaurant in Alvin. He has been working the local restaurant scene since he was 15 at the Redwood Grill. Since that time, he has graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America and spent years traveling in Europe. Chef Chaney returned to Houston at age 25 to cook for the Houstonian and later Skyline Bar and Grill. Now, just 30, his newest venture is the Barbed Rose Steakhouse, which seeks to serve innovative, yet familiar American cuisine made from Texas Gulf Coast ingredients and inspiration. When at the Barbed Rose, be sure to try Chef Chaney’s wagyu hot dog on a pretzel bun for lunch, the Texas quail stuffed with andouille sausage and crawfish for dinner and the bananas foster bread pudding for dessert. Amidst all this, he still found time to create his own food pantry to feed the homeless: the Bay Area Christian Church Pantry Kitchen.

Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. She is currently covering Home & Life. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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