What's Eric Eating Episode 272
Meet the culinary mind behind Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke Foundation, plus hottest food news
On this week’s episode of "What’s Eric Eating," chef Seth Siegel-Gardner joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler. Best known as the co-owner of The Pass & Provisions, Siegel-Gardner now serves as the culinary director for the Southern Smoke Foundation, the Houston-based non-profit that provides emergency assistance to hospitality workers in crisis situations.
The conversation begins with the chef sharing how an interest in cooking professionally ultimately led him to work for celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson in New York at his restaurant Aquavit. Eventually, he returned to Houston where he launched the Just August pop-up with chefs Terrence Gallivan, his partner at The Pass & Provisions, and Justin Yu. That success paved the way for The Pass & Provisions, widely considered one of Houston’s best restaurants during its run from 2012-19.
After moving to Marfa and opening the Marfa Spirit Co., Siegel-Gardner returned to Houston and joined the Southern Smoke Foundation. As culinary director, he works with the chefs who participate in the foundation’s annual festival to source any ingredients and equipment they need, among other responsibilities. It’s a role that keeps him tied to the culinary world even though he’s no longer working in a restaurant.
“Not being in a restaurant can be good and hard at the same time. It’s very weird not to be in a kitchen all day every day,” he says. “Getting to work with Southern Smoke is a great opportunity to be connected to the industry and giving back as well. It was a great part to continue being part of the industry.”
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Dallas-based Tex-Mex restaurant Mi Cocina’s plans to open in Houston; Texas Monthly’s list of the state’s best new restaurants; and Traveler’s Cart, the fast casual sibling of Montrose restaurant Traveler’s Table that’s opening later this year.
In the restaurant of the week segment, Fulmer and Sandler share their thoughts on LuLoo’s Day & Night. Listen to the full episode to hear their thoughts on the sandwich shop and bakery from the team behind Blood Bros. BBQ and pastry chef Alyssa Dole.