After only nine months Brennan from Houston managing Director Joey Chavezwho replaces Joe Cervantez (now at Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House in San Leon), continues. In a public Facebook post, Chavez says he’s taking on a less stressful and time-consuming role as a private chef, which allows him to spend more time with his wife and children. “With everything that has happened in the last year, it has opened my eyes to what is really important to me. It’s not about working 80+ hours a week or trying to be the one who works for everyone. It ensures that I see my kids in front of school, go to their events, put them in at night and just be there, ”he wrote. Its replacement is a household name from a restaurant by Chris Shepherd, a Brennan from Houston alum: Matt Staph of A fifth.
Joey Chavez is moving to a private chef after nine months at Brennan’s of Houston. Photo by Kimberly Park.
It’s an upward move for Staph to take on the role of Head Chef at Brennan’s of Houston. He was part of the inaugural One Fifth team in 2016 and was promoted to Chef in his sophomore year. The job change is good timing as One Fifth is almost finished with its “five restaurants in five years” concept and is slated to close later in 2021. “As this restaurant is coming to an end, we are very lucky to have been introduced [Staph] by Chris Shepherd, ”said Brennan’s Houston owner Alex Brennan-Martin. “During our visit, I felt like I was looking back to Brennan’s time in Houston, when Chris was an offspring, and we look forward to an exciting future with Matt. It couldn’t be better. “
Brennan from Houston. Courtesy photo.
Shepherd isn’t the only known cook Staph has worked for. At the beginning of his career he worked for John Tesar in the commissary in Dallas, waiting tables Graham dodds’ Central 214. He asked for a kitchen job there, and Staph worked for Dodds in that capacity for five years.
Staph’s experience working with whole animals, making sausages, using local produce, and minimizing waste reflects the current practices and philosophy of Brennan’s in Houston. Back when Shepherd was co-chef there with his friend Randy Evans (who was later promoted to Executive Chef while Shepherd expanded his knowledge by meeting the dining room floor as a sommelier), they went on a search from local farms. “There was a girl who worked at Brennan’s and lived in Alvin. She told us about Froberg’s farms. On our day off, we checked it out and started buying from them. They introduced us to a honey producer, and then we met another man and another man. We’re going the other directions and going east, north and west to find farmers, ”Evans said in a 2014 interview with Houston Press.
“We did some really amazing things at One Fifth, and now, in a way, it’s my time to follow Chris’ lead at Brennan and do better than ever. I tell Chris every day, “I’m getting better than you, just wait.” He loves that, ”Staph said in a press release. If, like many of his predecessors, he fits into his new role as head chef, he will have a sous chef Jose Arevalo decades of experience as a resource.
Nick Fine in the kitchen at One Fifth Steak. Photo by Julie Soefer.
As for a fifth, it will be in safe hands by the time it completes its five-year run. Nick Fine was the inaugural chef of the kitchen at One Fifth before Staph took the role. Since then, Fine Shepherd has been supporting the development and execution of menus in all of Underbelly Hospitality’s restaurants. Fine is returning to his old job at One Fifth while waiting for his next chef appearance at Wild Oats, which opens at the Houston Farmers Market later this year.
Now that guests are on their way again as the pandemic subsides, Staph is barely left to leave. “We went through some crazy times last year and now we’re on the verge of normal and Saturday nights feel like Saturday nights again. I’m ready to blow it up and make this place shine brighter than ever before. That is my goal.”
The current opening times of Brennan’s of Houston, which are still slightly abbreviated, are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm and from 5 to 9 pm and on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm and from 5 to 9 pm. The restaurant is temporarily closed on Mondays.
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