Houston Chefs Cali Bound

Two big-time Houston chefs are headed to California to join a unique pop-up scene

Two big-time Houston chefs are headed to California to join pop-up

Ryan Lachaine at Indie Chefs Week Foreign and Domestic Austin
Ned Elliott is taking Indie Chefs Week on the road to California in October.  Photo by: Kate LeSueur
Ryan Lachaine at Indie Chefs Week Foreign and Domestic Austin
Reef chef Ryan Lachaine returns for his second ICW.  Photo by: Kate LeSueur
Rebecca Masson pastry chef
Fluff Bake Bar owner Rebecca Masson is new to ICW. Courtesy photo
Ryan Lachaine at Indie Chefs Week Foreign and Domestic Austin
Ryan Lachaine at Indie Chefs Week Foreign and Domestic Austin
Rebecca Masson pastry chef

Austin restaurant Foreign & Domestic is taking its popular Indie Chefs Week pop-up on the road. From Oct. 16 to 18, more than 25 chefs from around the country will gather at Taco Maria in Orange County, California for three dinners.

Two Houston chefs, Reef's Ryan Lachaine and Fluff Bake Bar owner Rebecca Masson, will be part of the big event.

Down House owner Chris Cusack cited the energy generated by the dinners as one of the reasons he and chef Benjy Mason decided to launch their Kipper Club Test Kitchen pop-up series. Now that spirit will spread to California.

 "Last year was a blast. I made a bunch of friends. It's kind of an honor to get invited back."   

“We are excited that Indie Chefs Week is spreading out across the country while bringing together dedicated chefs to cook, collaborate, and inspire. We curated this series to showcase chefs with strong viewpoints who can share ideas and inspire each other,” Foreign & Domestic owner Ned Elliott said in a statement. “Indie Chefs Week began as a way to create a dialogue that isn't just online — it's a face-to-face meeting of the country's best young chefs.”

The first two California dinners will feature 12 courses prepared by the individual chefs. The third is a 20-course monster prepared collaboratively. Tickets are on sale now and start at $175 for the 12-course meals and $250 for the 20-course extravaganza. Seats at the chef's counter run $225 and $300.

Lachaine, who participated in last January's Indie Chefs Week in Austin prior to reuniting with chef Bryan Caswell at Reef in March, tells CultureMap he's looking forward to his trip west. "It's a great opportunity," Lachaine he says. "Last year was a blast. I made a bunch of friends. It's kind of an honor to get invited back." 

He cites Portland's B.J. Smith, Scott Vivane from Beast in Toronto and Craig Thornton from Los Angeles as three of the chefs he met in Austin that he's looking forward to cooking with again. "In all honesty, it was a great experience. There isn't a guy I have anything bad to say about."  

The collaborative nature of the meals means that Lachaine hasn't quite figured out what he's cooking yet. "No idea. Haven't thought about it," he says. Even if he came with a dish in mind, "once you see what the other guys have, you could turn it around."

"I'm excited to work in Carlos's kitchen," Lachaine adds. "He's a great guy."