Among the finalists in CultureMap's Last Chef Standing Restaurant Challenge, Liberty Kitchen is the new kid on the block.
Opened just this past December to rave reviews, the Heights cafe and its eclectic offerings of east Texas comfort food have already managed to make their mark on the Houston foodie scene thanks to chef Lance Fegen, whose Glass Wall and BRC Gastropub maintain an equally-enthusiastic following.
"I come from a big Italian family," says chef Fegen. "Huge meals and comf ort food are in my blood."
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Fegen spend a good portion of his childhood in the greater New York City area before his family relocated to Houston in the early 1980s.
"I come from a big Italian family and have these memories as a kid of going down to Trenton, New Jersey to pick up lasagna and meatballs," he tells CultureMap. "Huge meals and comfort food are in my blood."
After a success string of jobs in the kitchens of local institutions like Brennan's and the Houstonian, Fegen set his sights on opening his Glass Wall in 2006 to focus on an ever-evolving menu of season, local cuisine — a theme he's continued to develop with resto-bar BRC and the casual Liberty Kitchen.
"I like cooking American regional," he explains. "I've just never been as into Asian or European recipes."
While he has yet to finalize his menu for the Last Chef Standing tasting event on April 9, Fegen says he'll be looking to the greater Houston area for inspiration. "It may be a variation of our gumbo, with fried oysters and okra. . . definitely something seafood-y and Gulf Coast for sure."
Join CultureMap for its Last Chef Standing Restaurant Challenge Tasting Event on Monday, April 9 at Hotel Zaza. For $45, guests can sample food from a list of top Houston restaurants ranging trom The Tasting Room to The Grove and Mockingbird Bistro to Samba Grille. Click here for details and tickets.