Antoine Ware has been the executive sous chef underneath Chris Shepherd since Catalan (5555 Washington Ave.) opened. We caught up with the New Orleans native in, well, New Orleans. Here is his take on culinary cuisine:
Eating Our Words: Everyone sees your beaming smile behind the kitchen at Catalan. Tell us a little about your journey there.
Antoine Ware: I have been at Catalan with Chris (Shepherd) and Antonio (Gianola) since day one. I was the first person Chris hired while Catalan was in development. Before Catalan I was a sous chef at Mr. B's Bistro for 8 years, working under the Brennans. They brought me under their wing and taught me the principles I apply to my work at Catalan.
EOW: You are a New Orleans native. What brought you to Houston?
AW: I was a displaced Katrina refugee. I packed up everything I could and ended up here in Houston. I was still employed by the Brennans, and they put me up with Randy Evans [former chef of Brennan's, now at Haven]. And Randy said I should meet his friend Chris who was opening up a restaurant. I met Chris Shepherd, and the rest is history.
EOW: The Catalan team is known for being the tightest kitchen in Houston. What makes Catalan's back end so dynamic?
AW: Working and learning with each other every day, since day one. It is so important to work with each other as a team, a unit. No one is [above] serving a dish or bussing a table. Our kitchen is so diverse, with so many ethnic backgrounds included. We can even communicate using hand signs and gestures. We know each other and make it a point to communicate all day, every day. We call this being "seasoned" chefs.
We continue our interview with Ware tomorrow. Did you know that his girlfriend is a bodybuilder? Stay tuned...