After only nine months Brennan’s of Houston managing Director Joey Chavezwho replaces Joe Cervantez (now at Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House in San Leon), moves on. In a public Facebook post, Chavez says that as a private chef, he is taking on a less stressful and time-consuming role that allows him to spend more time with his wife and children. “With everything that has happened in the past year, it has opened my eyes to what is really important to me. It’s not about working over 80 hours a week or trying to be the one who makes it all. It ensures that I see my children in front of school, go to their events, entertain them at night and just be present, ”he wrote. His successor is a household name from a restaurant from Chris Schäferpher, an alum from Brennan’s of Houston: Matt Staph of A fifth.
Joey Chavez is moving to a private chef role after nine months at Brennan’s of Houston. Photo by Kimberly-Park.
For Staph, taking on the role of head chef at Brennan’s of Houston is an upward trend. He was part of the inaugural One Fifth crew in 2016 and was promoted to Chef in his sophomore year. The job change is good timing as One Fifth is almost complete with its “five restaurants in five years” concept and will close later in 2021 [Staph] by Chris Shepherd, ”said the owner of Brennan’s of Houston Alex Brennan-Martin. “During our visit, I felt like looking back on the history of Brennan of Houston when Chris was a newcomer, and we look forward to an exciting future with Matt. It will not get better.”
Brennans of 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 at The Commissary in Dallas and served tables at Graham dodds’ Central 214. There he asked for a job in the kitchen, 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 is a great reflection of the current practices and philosophies at Brennan’s in Houston. Back when Shepherd was co-sous-chef there with his friend Randy Evans (who was later promoted to head chef while Shepherd expanded his knowledge by stepping on the dining room floor as a sommelier), they went looking for farms there regional products. “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 meet another guy and another. We’re going the other way 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 time to follow Chris’s lead at Brennan and do better than ever. I tell Chris every day, ‘I’ll be better than you, just wait and see.’ He loves that, ”Staph said in a press release. As he fits into his new position as head chef, like many of his predecessors, he will have a sous chef Jose Arevalos decades of experience as a resource.
Nick Fine in the kitchen at One Fifth Steak. Photo by Julie Soefer.
As for One Fifth, it will be in safe hands when it concludes its five-year term. Nick Fine was the first chef at One Fifth before Staph took the role. Since then, Fine Shepherd has been helping with menu development and execution in all Underbelly Hospitality restaurants. While waiting for his next chef appearance at Wild Oats, which opens later this year at the Houston Farmers Market, Fine will return to his old job at One Fifth.
Now that guests are on their way again as the pandemic subsides, Staph is ready to go. “We went through some insane times last year and now it’s like we’re on the cusp 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. 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 5 pm to 9 pm and on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm.
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