Food-o-File

Chef news and upcoming culinary events in town.


Chef News

While local stars David Garrido and Alma Alcocer-Thomas were ably representing Austin in a national media blitz and serving up those famous crispy oysters by the thousands to rich Republicans during inauguration week, other Austin chefs were changing and rearranging jobs here at home: Former Asti sous chef Jesse Griffiths has taken over the top job in the Tocai kitchen since Betsy Johnston married a Nashville cat and moved to Music City. After graduation from the French Culinary Institute in New York, James Brockman has returned to Fonda San Miguel, where he's sous chef to Roberto Santibanez. For many months, chef Kevin Quinn was doing double duty, teaching at the Culinary Academy of Austin during the week and catering weddings and other functions at the Barr Mansion on weekends. As of the first of the year, Quinn is now a full-time instructor at CAA. Former Zoot chef Patrick Eammon has returned to River City after a two-year hiatus wherein he spent some time cooking with Gary Danko in San Francisco; now he's taking over the Barr Mansion kitchen. Though he's still the main man in the broiler department at Central Market Westgate every morning, chef Chris Shirley has given up his longtime evening private chef position and is in the market for another.


Bocaditos

Lots of hot little bites this week. The January debut of Romeo's Supper Club was so successful, the owners have decided to make it a regular monthly feature at the new Romeo's location (5800 Burnet, 476-1090). The first Thursday of every month, Romeo's will host the "Supper Club" featuring dinner and music for dancing provided by the Lucky Strikes with no cover charge. Call for reservations... The Monday night wine tasting series is back at Ella's (#1 Jefferson Sq., 458-2148) with four wines paired with four tasting plates and informed commentary by the GrapeVine Market guys. Check out "Champagnes and Sparkling Wines" on Monday, Feb. 5, at 7pm, for $69 plus tax and tip. While you're at Ella's, ask them about the upcoming cooking classes at their Little Ranch Bakery (814 W. 12th, 474-4822). New bakery manager Jeffrey Currier reports their "Tamales & Tecate" class was so popular last month, they've added two more on Feb. 6 & 20 from 6:30-8:30pm. The bakery is also open for business again weekdays... The Merry Malsters will meet at Opal Divine's Freehouse (700 W. Sixth, 477-3308) to sample Islay Malts, the most richly flavored of all single malts, on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 8pm. Make reservations now... The winter/spring wine tasting series at Malaga (208 W. Fourth, 447-7405) is in full swing, with Shiraz being the featured wines on Monday, Feb.5, 6-7:30pm. Price is $20 with complimentary tapas; reservations are suggested... The increasingly popular Appetizer Atlas Supper Club has a few spaces available for their spring series. As you may recall, this is the supper series created by former chefs and cookbook authors Arthur Meyer and frequent Chronicle contributor Mick Vann to test the appetizer recipes for their upcoming cookbook, The Appetizer Atlas: A World of Small Bites, due out from John Wiley & Sons in the fall of 2002. Guests pay $50 per person for a meal of regional appetizers and souvenir copies of the evening's recipes. Remaining dinners include Italy on Feb. 10, the Mediterranean on Feb. 24, Central Europe on April 14, France on April 28, and Spain & Portugal on May 12. Contact ameyer@texas.net to make reservations.

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