H-E-B's massive new Tanglewood store has emerged as a legitimate dining destination thanks to the presence of its in-store restaurant Table 57 Dining & Drinks. In addition to featuring a menu created by former Haven chef Randy Evans, Table 57 also benefited from the presence of Allen Duhon as executive chef, but that situation changed on Sunday. Duhon, who worked as Evans's sous chef at Haven, tells CultureMap that he has worked his last day at Table 57.
"It just wasn't a good fit for me," Duhon tells CultureMap via text message. "Time to do my own food."
"My Maw Maw and Dad (taught me). Plus I'm Cajun so its in my blood," Duhon writes.
For a Port Arthur native like Duhon, "my food" means Cajun cuisine. He's joined up with the owners of Fat Bao and will be taking over their Fat Wagon food truck. Tentatively called Maw Maw's Rustic, the truck will feature items like gumbo, fried chicken liver po' boys, skillet cornbread and a whole host of other Cajun specialties.
"My Maw Maw and Dad (taught me). Plus I'm Cajun so its in my blood," Duhon writes. The chef also had professional guidance, as he explains. "Randy helped, too. Teaching me how to do Southern food in a restaurant setting . . . I'm happy for the opportunity H-E-B gave me and glad I worked under great chefs like Randy Evans and Philippe Gaston."
H-E-B public affairs representative Cyndy Garza-Roberts provided the following statement about chef Duhon in response to a request from CultureMap. "Chef Allen Duhon is no longer with Table 57. He has decided to leave H-E-B to pursue other opportunities. Executive Chef Randy Evans continues to lead all the culinary efforts at the popular new concept restaurant, Table 57. He is assisted by stable H-E-B chefs and we are continually amazed by his creative cuisine."
Duhon expects it will take a couple of weeks for him to finalize the menu for Maw Maw's. For now, the Fat Bao truck will keep its current menu. In addition to his responsibilities on the truck, Duhon also expects to assist Fat Bao chef Pak Trui at Trui's upcoming restaurant Ka Sushi in the Heights.