On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Killen's Restaurants director of operations Graham Laborde joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his role helping acclaimed local chef Ronnie Killen manage his growing company. Laborde, who won the CultureMap Tastemaker Award Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2016, shares some of his family history that led him to the kitchen, as well as the professional experiences he had in New Orleans and Houston prior to joining up with Killen.
So why did Laborde choose to sign on with Killen's after closing Bernadine's, the Gulf Coast-inspired restaurant he led for the Treadsack Group?
"He offered me something that didn't necessarily exist with a number of other offers I had, and that was the ability to really, really learn something," Laborde says. "The ability to learn different kinds of concepts that I hadn't done in the past. I'd never done a fast casual concept. I've never done a burger restaurant. I've never done barbecue before. Not only learning those cuisines, but really learning how to run those different businesses and the different challenges that come with it."
Prior to the interview, Houston Life producer/reporter Stephanie Gerry and Sandler discuss the news of the week. Even though the podcast primarily discusses food, Gerry and Sandler take a couple of minutes to discuss the Astros World Series victory. Then, they move on to Brasserie 19's plans to mitigate the effects of construction at its shopping center, celebrity chef Michael Mina's announcement that International Smoke, his globally-inspired barbecue restaurant with cookbook author Ayesha Curry, is coming to Houston next year, and the latest addition to UberEATS: caviar and truffles from DR Delicacy.
In the restaurant of the week segment, Sandler shares his impressions of two Dallas restaurants: Town Hearth, an over-the-top steakhouse that features a 300-gallon fish tank, and Zoli's, the New York-inspired pizza restaurant from the owner of Cane Rosso. Gerry recommends taking a road trip to Pete's Burger Place in Porter for a classic chili cheeseburger done right.