Hot Chef Defects

A hot new Houston restaurant loses its chef to a hip hotel with serious kitchen plans

A hot new Houston restaurant loses its chef to hip Hotel ZaZa

Darla, five best date spots, March 2013, Brooklyn Athletic Club, 2, Chef Jeff Axline and owner Shepard Ross
Chef Jeff Axline and Brooklyn Athletic Club owner Shepard Ross may no longer be working together, but they remain good friends. Photo by Claire Dorfman

Jeff Axline has left his position as executive chef at Brooklyn Athletic Club to become the executive banquet chef at the Hotel ZaZa. Axline tells CultureMap that the plan was always for him to help owner Shepard Ross launch Brooklyn Athletic Club and then move on.

When the ZaZa approached him a month ago about taking the position, Axline says it was a "no brainer." He described his role as a co-executive chef with Monarch's Jonathan Jones, with Jones running the restaurant and Axline's in charge of "everything else."

Together, they give the Museum District hotel some serious firepower in the kitchen.

 BAC owner Shepard Ross says he wishes Axline, who he considers "My brother from another mother," nothing but the best. 

Showing what future wedding guests can expect, Axline's menu at his quiet "Party in Pink" debut event last week included watermelon and heirloom tomato gazpacho and mini lobster rolls with sweet chili aioli. 

BAC owner Shepard Ross tells CultureMap that he wishes Axline, who he considers "My brother from another mother," nothing but the best in his new role. Ross brought Axline back to Houston from Austin to help with BAC.

The two had worked together previously at both Glass Wall and BRC. As for BAC, sous chef Anthony Ortega has been promoted to executive chef and will continue to serve the restaurant's signature mix of upscale comfort food.

Fear not, porkobucco fans; that dish isn't going anywhere.