Chef Changes at Pax Americana

Rising star chef takes over at one of Houston's best restaurants

Rising star chef takes over at one of Houston's best restaurants

Martha de Leon Pax Americana
Martha de Leon is Pax Americana's new executive chef. Photo by Chuck Cook

One of Houston's best restaurants has a new executive chef, but she's not new to the restaurant. Pax Americana owners Dan Zimmerman and Shepard Ross announced that they have promoted chef de cuisine Martha de Leon to executive chef. 

De Leon, a CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Rising Star Chef of the Year finalist in 2016, arrived at Pax Americana shortly after it opened and quickly rose to the position of chef de cuisine. Her resume includes stints at Cafe Annie and The Pass & Provisions.

Although she has continued founding chef Adam Dorris' commitment to sourcing high quality local ingredients, the chef has already begun to put her stamp on the menu. While staples like smoked beef tartare and togarashi-spiced pork ribs remain on the menu, De Leon has dropped some old favorites like the nine spice brisket and introduced a number of new dishes including Portuguese octopus and a Denver-cut steak from Marble Ranch with purple sweet potatoes. Thankfully, the 32-ounce, dry-aged Texas akaushi ribeye remains available. 

“We aim for awe-inspiring vs. ordinary,” said Ross in a statement. “Martha’s dedication, work ethic, and commitment delivers a unique experience for our guests. She and I are of the same mind-set. She works as fast and furious as I do to always put true hospitality first.”

The move comes in the wake of Dorris's departure in January to open Presidio, a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant in The Heights. When Dorris originally joined that restaurant, he planned to stay with Pax but later opted to focus his attention on the new venture. Presidio looks poised to open next week.