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see these shows
Last year, I had a crazy idea to do a chat with chefs, restaurateurs, and journalists from around the country. We created the Table to Stage series so that you could be part of the discussion.
What’s this show like? Well, I think it’s awesome. I wanted to have these conversations because I get the opportunity to talk and be friends with these amazing people, but it’s always in private.
For the most part, when dining in their restaurants, reading their books, or watching them on TV, people don’t get the same chance to interact with them. Rarely do you get the opportunity to really get to know them. But sitting in the intimate Stages theater with a glass of wine or a cocktail, you can feel like you’re a part of the conversation. You can even ask questions!
These events also serve as a book tour for these chefs. We dive into their books and why they wrote them. Plus, Kindred Stories has a little bookshop onsite so you can get a book signed after the show.
This Monday, I have my dear friend chef Sarah Grueneberg from Monteverde in Chicago coming to join me at Stages. Sarah and I go way back to early in my career — and definitely the beginning of hers. I was a young sous chef at Brennan’s, and she was an 18-year-old kid in culinary school. I’m sure she’ll tell the story about how hard she worked to get me to hire her (we’ll save that for the show), but I got the amazing opportunity to watch her become the chef she is today.
Believe me when I say that she runs one of the most exciting Italian restaurants in the country. They make pasta to order! Not boil it. They start with flour and water to make the dough fresh for every order. And it’s not a small quiet restaurant — it’s a busy restaurant! I can’t wait to hear how this is going to go down.
What happens with these conversations? We laugh, we cry, we laugh until we cry. Even I don’t know what’s going to happen until we sit down and start talking.
We started the series off with one of my icons and restaurant legend Johnny Carrabba. We talked about the history of his family and what it was like opening and now running one of Houston’s most iconic restaurants for more than 35 years. Being the first show I wasn’t sure where it was going to go but I found out fast—I cried from laughter at least three times.
Next up was Katie Parla, acclaimed Italian cookbook author and arguably one of the foremost experts of Italian cuisine. She has written some amazing books on regional Italian cuisine, lives in Rome and hosts culinary tours there — look her up next time you’re going to Italy. I didn’t want the night to end.
In December, we had a Houston barbecue round up with Patrick Feges (Feges BBQ), Greg Gatlin (Gatlin’s BBQ), and Leonard Botello IV (Truth BBQ), and we learned all things smoke. We talked about living in a world of always being judged and having to be consistent every day with every plate for every person. The challenges of perception of what barbecue can be and how it has changed. We even spent some time deep diving into the textures of salt and how that has changed — since things are always changing (even salt!), you have to be on top of every detail to be able to live up to the expectations.
Chris Williams was next on the list, and we learned about everything that he is doing with his restaurants, his foundation ,and his community. It was a very inspiring conversation. That guy has a lot going on!
Aaron Bludorn was last week. Back in late 2020, Bludorn opened with such fan fare, then Navy Blue and now Bar Bludorn, but do we really know Aaron? Where he grew up, what his family is like, how he got into cooking, and why he came to Houston. We answered all these questions and others, including how many Phish shows he has been to (about 25, in case you were wondering).
In the next few months, my guests will include Aaron Franklin (Franklin BBQ), Priya Krishna (New York Times writer and cookbook author), and David Chang (Momofuku, book author, TV personality and pretty much everything else), which is one hell of a lineup.Sarah is this Monday March 4, and tickets are still available. I hope you will join us. I also love a good theme, so this show will be an ode to Mr. Rogers. Make sure to wear your cardigans and slippers, grab a martini at the bar, and enjoy the show. Tickets start at $45 and I promise we will learn, laugh, and cry. It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster filled with joy!