Chef Genealogy

Tracing culinary family trees to the roots of four local mentors

Making the rounds of restaurant openings the past couple of years, it became apparent that many of the new generation of young chefs could trace their local work history through the kitchens of four important local mentors. This previous generation of chefs helped train and encourage many of the players responsible for our current restaurant boom.

It's bound to be gratifying for chefs Alan Lazarus, Emmett Fox, David Bull, and Tyson Cole to see all these talented young people becoming their respected colleagues and in many cases, fellow restaurant owners. After picking the brains of the established mentors, we've come up with something of a culinary family tree for each restaurant group. Some of our young chefs have even worked for more than one mentor. Though the chefs who provided us with these lists don't claim they are totally comprehensive, here's a pretty good look at Austin's culinary begats. To make the lists easier to decipher, executive chef is abbreviated as EC, chef de cuisine is CDC, and general manager is GM.


Chef Alan Lazarus has been the chef partner of two seminal Austin Italian restaurants: Basil's in the Eighties, and Vespaio and Enoteca which he founded with three friends over the past 15 years. Here are some of the alums of the Vespaio kitchens:

Jesse Griffiths - owner Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club

Andrew Francisco - formerly EC at Mettle, now co-owner of Aqua Crisps, a snack food company

Mat Clouser - EC partner at Swift's Attic

Jason Dodge - most recently chef at Péché

Zach Davis - most recently chef at Lamberts

Tom Micklethwait - EC and co-owner Micklethwait Craft Meats

Sebastien Bonneau - EC and owner Countryside Farms

Daniel Brooks - former GM at Mettle; co-owner Licha's Cantina

Breton Childs - director of operations, East Side Pies

Janelle Reynolds - local Chopped champion; EC for the Austin outlet of Dinner Lab

Olivier Calmut - co-owner of Justine's

Susan Shields & Nathan Baumann - co-owners Lux Catering

Matthew Grimes - EC at Cipollina Bistro

Clinton Bertrand - EC at Red's Porch

Abby Love - pastry chef at Dai Due

Barrie Cullinan - until recently owner of Amity Bakery


Chef Emmett Fox was executive chef for Reed Clemons' Restaurant Group (Granite Cafe, Mezzaluna, Bitter End) from 1993-1999 before opening Asti Trattoria (2000) and Fino Restaurant & Patio Bar (2005) with wife Lisa Fox. Look for their new Cantine in the Lamar Union center in 2015.

Michael Fojtasek - owner and EC at Olamaie

Andrew MacArthur - EC Dai Due

Morgan Angelone - chef at Dai Due

Kristie Sasser - baker, instructor Make It Sweet

Andy Sasser - Whole Foods Market, SW region

Jason Donoho - Research and Concept chef, Alamo Drafthouse

Kenzie Allen - chef at Asti, now ECDC at Searsucker

Brad Sorenson - EC, co-owner, NoVa Kitchen & Bar

John Bates - EC, co-owner Noble Sandwich Co.

Sam Dickey - Whole Foods Market, SW region in Dallas

Andrew Francisco - formerly EC at Mettle, now co-owner of Aqua Crisps

Adam Puskorius - EC Eddie V's in Chicago


Chef David Bull was raised in his family's restaurant in New York, graduated from the CIA in 1994, and brought national attention to Austin's historic Driskill Hotel during his tenure there from 1999-2007. He returned to Austin as part of La Corsha Hospitality to open Congress and Second Bar + Kitchen in late 2010.

Josh Watkins - Driskill CDC, then EC; then EC at the Carillon

Chris Andrews - formerly CDC at the Carillon, now CDC for the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center

Jason Maddy - EC at Oak in Dallas, now working in the Caribbean

Emily Maddy - met Jason at the Driskill; chef at Charlie Palmer at the Joule in Dallas; now in the Caribbean

Tien Ho - former EC Má Pêche, Montmarte in NYC, now EC of the Morgans Hotel Group

Christina Bowerman - was chef at the Driskill, is now chef at Michelin-starred Glass Hostaria in Rome

Lawrence Kocurek - recently CDC at Trace at the W, now EC and co-owner of upcoming Counter 3. Five. VII on Congress Ave.

Erica Waksmunski – owner and EC Red Star Southern trailer

Jason Stude - Chopped champion, left Austin to open the Stoneleigh in Dallas, now CDC at Congress

Stephen Trevino - former dishwasher at the Stoneleigh, now sous chef at Congress

John Hajash - Citywide 86'd champ 2013, now line cook for Sean Brock at Husk in Charleston

Rebecca Meeker - started at the Driskill, worked for Joel Robuchon, was then CDC at Congress; now EC at Jeffrey's

Curtis Cooke - now EC at Cad-a-Vie near Santa Monica

Oscar Marquez - formerly EC for Mandola's Italian Markets, now EC Napa Flats restaurant in College Station


Chef Tyson Cole is one of the few American chefs who can claim mastery of the art of sushi. His passion for Japanese cuisine led him to spend more than six years training under chef Takehiko Fuse at Austin's Musashino Sushi Dokoro as well as masters in Japan before opening Uchi (2003) and Uchiko (2010) to national acclaim.

Shawn Cirkiel - chef/owner Parkside Projects restaurant group: parkside, the backspace, Olive & June, chavez, the upcoming Bullfight tapas

Paul Qui - Top Chef winner 2011, founding member of East Side King, EC and owner qui

Casey Wilcox - CDC at Justine's

Deegan McClung - CDC at Danji in NYC

Tim Dornon - sous chef at Eleven Madison Park in NYC

Ek Timrerk - founding member of East Side King, EC and co-owner of former Spin Modern Thai Cuisine, now EC and co-owner of Kin and Comfort

Moto Utsonomaya - founding member of East Side King

Mat Clouser - EC and co-owner of Swift's Attic

Thai Chanthong - EC and co-owner Thai Kun trailer, named one of the Top 10 New Restaurants of 2014 by Bon Appetit

Shion Aikawa - chef and co-owner Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Ben McBride - CDC at chavez

Monica Glenn - pastry chef at qui

Sharon Gofreed - pastry chef JW Marriott in Houston

Fermin Nunez - concept chef for Rene Ortiz

Zach Hunter - CDC at the upcoming Fixe

Casey Fannin - EC and co-owner of the upcoming Fork & Taco

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