Chef Frédéric Perrier has owned, co-owned and cooked in Houston area restaurants for more than 20 years. He developed a fan base and garnered critical acclaim with his inside-the-Loop restaurants Grille 5515 and Perrier Café. In time, the rigors of driving to his home in Missouri City night after exhausting night of cooking, as well as having a family, made the idea of opening a small neighborhood restaurant start to look real good.
In 2007, that's exactly what Perrier did. His French restaurant Aura started in a quaint, New England-style shopping center off of Murphy Road. It was the beginning of what would grow into multiple restaurants in the Sugar Land area. Soon after Aura came Perrier's spot, Hoggs n Chicks, where he started fulfilling diners' needs for a fast-casual option as well as indulging his own fondness for the Southern food of his adopted city.
Aura is now located in bustling, trendy Sugar Land Town Square. In its place is Coco Pazzo, Perrier's Italian restaurant. You'd think that would be enough work for one chef, but he's still not done. He has two new projects in the works, which we'll cover in Part 2 of this chef chat tomorrow.
Here in Part 1, we'll look at how he got started in the area with Aura and Hoggs N Chicks, which would soon follow. Perrier is also a father and a husband and we'll delve into his thoughts about introducing kids to fine dining. Finally, we find out if reviews really matter to a chef with a restaurant out in the suburbs.
EOW: When did you decide that what you really wanted to do was open a restaurant in Sugar Land?
FP: My wife and children always lived here in Missouri City, right down Highway 6 from Sugar Land. I said, "Well, I want to be closer to home. I don't want to do the drives at 2 o'clock in the morning. It was an easier way to be able to spend some time with my family even though I was in the restaurant industry.