Major Chef Shuffle
Major chef shuffle: Houston restaurant power replaces rising star chef with top international prospect
For whatever changes have taken place at Triniti over its three-plus years, the presence of chef/owner Ryan Hildebrand and chef de cuisine Greg Lowry have given the kitchen a decided sense of stability.
That situation changed with Lowry revealing he's left the modern American restaurant for a position as corporate executive chef of Ogden Hospitality, the California-based company behind James Beard Award winner Bradley Ogden's three Houston restaurants: Funky Chicken, Bradley's Fine Diner and the upcoming Pour Society. (The Chronicle first reported Lowry's move.)
"I think Greg and myself both had kind of a feeling that he would always be here," Hildebrand tells CultureMap "You get to a certain point in your career where that’s kind of the goal is to find your forever home kitchen. Greg and I both thought, up until this opportunity presented itself, that this was going to be it."
"Brandon has a little more stylized version of cooking. He’s got a little more international influence just because of his background."
Replacing Lowry will be Brandon Soverall, who's been at Triniti since 2012. Having been born in Trinidad and worked in Germany, the chef brings an international perspective to his cooking that's a departure from Houston-native Lowry.
"Brandon has a little more stylized version of cooking. He’s got a little more international influence just because of his background — where he’s from, where he’s traveled, where he’s worked," Hildebrand says.
"I’m excited to see it, because Brandon has been able to channel that into a practical way of utilizing his skills here."
The Ogden Group describes Lowry's new role as "forging a new culinary identity for Bradley’s Fine Diner and Funky Chicken, meshing the sensibilities of the group led by James Beard Award winning chef, Bradley Ogden, and his own, which offers a lauded knack with local ingredients and regional flavors." The 2014 CultureMap Tastemakers Best Rising Star Chef winner will need all of his considerable skills to turn around the fortunes of Ogden's efforts in Houston, which have mostly been reviled by diners.
Lowry's new menus will begin to roll out by the end of the month, but whether they're enough to save Bradley's Fine Diner from its low sales numbers remain to be seen.
Meanwhile, Soverall steps in for Lowry and will assist Hildebrand in reconcepting his plans for FM903, which Hildebrand previously noted will be built around a version of the hamburger on Triniti's new lunch menu.
"We just finalized some budget questions, and we’ll be green-lighting the architecture firm to continue," Hildebrand says. "They’ve already gotten pretty far along, but now it’s a full court press to get it done."