Food Editor Virginia B. Wood has news from Central Market Cooking Schools and restaurants reinventing themselves in this week's "Food-o-File."
Central Market has announced the promotion of popular San Antonio culinary instructor and cooking school director Shelley Grieshaber to replace Cathy Cochran-Lewis as coordinator of the Central Market Cooking Schools. The specialty foods retailer operates in-house cooking schools in each of its stores in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Ft. Worth, Plano, and Dallas, and has achieved national acclaim for hosting the country's brightest culinary stars, cookbook authors, and regional and local chefs to teach cooking classes. Grieshaber is a San Antonio native who graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and was the first recipient of the Craig Claborne Endowed Scholarship awarded for culinary expertise and food-writing skills. She then spent more than four years working at top restaurants and owning her own takeout and catering business in New York City before returning to San Antonio. Grieshaber took over the coordinator's position and relocated to Austin early this month. Welcome to Austin, Shelley!
The restaurant news just keeps on coming. Two high-profile fine-dining outlets closed last week, taking some time out to reinvent themselves with new décor, concepts, menus, and price ranges. Look for Girasole (219 W. Fourth, 481-0219) to become Coyote Grill & Tequila Bar later this month, with a focus on a more moderately priced Southwestern cuisine and a variety of tequilas. It turns out that chef Dan Nemec has a wealth of experience with Southwestern foods, and will remain in control of the kitchen. Al Zare will also continue as managing partner with the new concept... San Gabriel Restaurant Group owner Reed Clemons announced the closing of Mezzaluna Gateway (Gateway Shopping Center, 372-8030) but promised the two-story northwest eatery would be completely redecorated and reopened this fall as Reed's Jazz & Supper Club, with an upscale steak and seafood menu. We'll keep you posted on them both... Meanwhile, Henry Wang has taken over the former Mother of Pearl's location on the northeast corner of Burnet Road and Research and turned it into Mikado (9033 Research Blvd., 833-8188). While the new restaurant does feature a small sushi bar, Wang emphasizes that his menu is geared more toward what he describes as the new trend in Japanese dining -- Japanese-style tapas. Asian food aficionados will want to check Mikado out in a hurry... Restaurant partners Gerald Stone and Tony Villegas have added a fourth outlet to their company. El Mercado West (6507 Jester, 231-1071) debuted earlier this month in the former home of Tequila Texas in the Jester Shopping Center off RR 2222... Coming this fall, look for a new Pok-e-Jo's Barbecue to open in the Brodie Oaks Shopping Center near Trudy's... Granite Cafe (2905 San Gabriel, 472-6483) chef/owner Sam Dickey has been in touch from South Korea to let us know both his foreign correspondence and his menu development work for the Texas Beef Council have been delayed by the fact that Korea turns out to be a Mac-unfriendly zone. He's hard at work helping a South Korean restaurant implement a completely new menu and is homesick for his family. We'll have more on that story when we hear from Sam again... Speaking of globetrotting chefs, chef de cuisine Kristie Moore and her fiancé, sous chef Andy Sasser, have returned from their culinary vacation in France and Italy and are back at work in the kitchens at Asti (408-C 43rd, 451-1218) and the Granite Cafe, respectively. They'll be tying the knot later this summer.