On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Austin Simmons, the executive chef of Hubbell & Hudson Bistro and Cureight in The Woodlands, joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his career. Simmons explains how his persistence in seeking a job at legendary Dallas restaurant the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek ultimately paid off in his first job out of culinary school.
"Me — being the novice I was, not knowing anything about the business — I drove up to the front of the restaurant and said, 'I'm here to apply,'" Simmons recalls. He was told to enter through the back, and denied a position, but still he persisted. "On the fifth Friday, after I'd seen all the chefs, the executive sous said 'you're not going to go away, are you?' I said, 'no, I want to work here' . . . That's how it started for me."
Simmons also discusses his work with famous Dallas chef John Tesar, at both the Mansion and the short-lived Woodlands restaurant Tesar's Modern Steak & Sustainable Seafood, which began the path that ultimately led him to Hubbell & Hudson. Once H&H decided to shutter its grocery store and focus on restaurant service, Simmons earned the opportunity to open Cureight, his tasting menu concept within the restaurant that's become one of the Houston area's most elegant dining experiences. The chef also describes his recent trip to Europe, explain how he became interested in barbecue, and participates in the Lighting Round.
Prior to the interview segment, Simmons joins Sandler and local restaurant consultant Nathan Ketcham to discuss the news of the week. The trio focus on the announcement about Bravery Chef Hall, a new food hall that's coming to downtown. After Sandler describes the concept, they debate the viability of the project and discuss what kind of concepts they'd like to see open there. In the Restaurants of the Week segment, Sandler and Ketcham share their thoughts on recent meals at Nancy's Hustle, Le Colonial where they dined on the duck pictured below), and breakfast favorite LePeep.