Austin Hospitality Goes Global

Daily Austin food news

The Uchi Group and New Waterloo take Austin on the road, Kendall Melton lands a new gig, and more local bites.

photo courtesy of Roaring Fork

We can't swear that it's as wonderful as our favorite Big Ass Cheesebugers from here, but the hearty and robust green chile mac 'n' cheese from Austin's Roaring Fork obviously has a devoted following because it will be featured in an upcoming episode of the Food Network's Guilty Pleasures on Monday, Dec. 21 at 9pm.

Kendall Melton has left the position of executive pastry chef at Al Fico, one of the bumper crop of new Italian eateries that opened locally over the past few months, to become part of the baking and pastry team at Odd Duck. She'll be working with executive pastry chef Susana Querejazu at both Odd Duck outlets. The two pastry talents got to know each other through a group of female hospitality professionals – chefs, sous chefs, pastry chefs, cook, bartenders, food writers – that Melton began assembling in the fall. “We're all about the same age and all working in the industry. I just thought we ought to get together regularly and be prepared to work with each other on community events, and just have each others backs when that was needed too,” Melton explained. “I dropped by before Susana's pop-up at Métier earlier this fall to see if she could use a hand. Then we started having conversations about working together at some point, and that's how the new job came about.”

Angela Hernandez (photo by Logan Crable/ courtesy of Top Knot)

The Uchi Group has announced that Austin-born chef Angela Hernandez will be chef de cuisine at their new Top Knot restaurant when it opens above Uchi Dallas in early 2016. Look for a menu with dishes melding Asian flavors and Mediterranean influences that will complement craft cocktails. According to Uchi executive chef Tyson Cole, his goal is that Top Knot becomes “a neighborhood fixture” where guests can enjoy “sharable plates featuring playful dishes in a relaxed atmosphere .”

Another local hospitality group, New Waterloo, is spreading their wings too. Pao restaurant, helmed by cheflebrity Paul Qui, is opening Monday, Dec. 21, in Miami Beach's new Faena Hotel. In typical Qui fashion, the menu will be an adventurous mix of Filipino, Spanish, Japanese and French influences and will feature tableside binchotan service.

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