On this week's episode of What's Eric Eating, Agricole Hospitality chef-owner Ryan Pera joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss both the current state of his Heights-based group as well as his involvement in the upcoming Houston’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry fundraiser. Pera serves as the culinary chair for the event that's happening Tuesday, May 22 at Silver Street Studios.
Taste of the Nation is part of a national effort that unites chefs to combat childhood hunger. The event will feature over 40 of the city's top restaurants serving bites and libations; participants include BCN Taste & Tradition, Louie Mueller Barbecue, UB Preserv, and Indianola, Agricole's new restaurant that will open in EaDo later this summer. The company recently announced that Paul Lewis (Cullen's, Osteria Mazzantini) will serve as Indianola's executive chef. As Pera explains, Lewis joining Agricole constitutes a reunion for the chefs.
"When I moved to Houston in 2003, the first job I had was chef de cuisine at the Four Seasons. Paul was working there. Paul was the sous chef and I was the chef de cuisine. We got along amazing," Pera says. "I respect him to no end. When we decided to go [forward] on the project, he was the first person I thought of, and he was the first person we reached out to. Was lucky he was in a place where he could take the job."
Prior to Pera joining the show, L'Olivier owner Mary Clarkson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Anthony Calleo's plans after departing Cherry Pie Hospitality, the new Whole Foods Market 365 comes to Houston this summer, and the sort of restaurants that might be a fit for a new space in the Heights. In the restaurants of the week segment, the two share their recent dining experiences at UB Preserv, Poitín, and State of Grace.