Chef Chat

Chef Chat, Part 1: Ozzie Rogers of III Forks

Located in Houston Pavilions downtown, III Forks is an upscale dining establishment that encourages patrons to relax with a nice bottle of wine and a big steak. Ozzie Rogers is the man mostly responsible for those impressively behemoth cuts of beef (as well as the decadent side dishes). EOW recently sat down with Rogers to find out why he is so insistent on serving Houstonians quality cuts of meat.

Eating Our Words: Hello, Ozzie. Would you please begin by telling us how you became the chef and proprietor of III Forks Houston?

Ozzie Rogers: I have been in the restaurant business for 27 years now. I began when I was 15 years old. I started out washing dishes because I wanted to get a car. Dale Wamstad, Del Frisco, said that I was the worst dishwasher he had ever seen. So he moved me to the line and I worked my way up from a line cook to the manager at Del Frisco's when I was 17. I really enjoyed broiling steaks. I knew how to do that. Then they sold Del Frisco's to Lone Star and I stayed on for about a year. Eventually I moved my way on up, and when it was time to open III Forks in Houston, they sent me here.

EOW: Because there are several III Forks, correct?

OR: There is one in Houston now, one in Dallas, one in Austin, and several other locations. I like the look of the Houston location. It's different, more modern and well-lighted.

EOW: And where are you from originally?

OR: I'm from Fort Worth. I like Fort Worth. My family is still there, so I travel back often on the weekends. My son recently came down to visit me, and the first thing he wanted to do was to come to the restaurant and get a steak.

EOW: Because you are the steak man! Tell us about the food at our Houston location. Does it differ from the other locations?

OR: At some of the other locations, they do sided plates. Here everything is a la carte, which just gives people more options to choose what they want to eat. We only use USDA Prime Beef, which is the top 2 percent of beef produced. We are very picky about our beef. When the shipment arrives, if it was not aged properly or it is not up to our standards, we automatically send it back.

EOW: What are some of your favorite menu items?

OR: My favorite is the Bone-in Ribeye. I love a flavorful, well-marbled steak. I like the local favorites, too, like the chicken fried steak, and the Kobe Beef hotdog. The Tomahawk is also something I order from time to time, and it's very popular. It's a huge, expensive cut of meat, but people come in and finish the whole thing. People in Houston know how to eat well. They come in, order a bottle of wine, and relax for two or three hours. And we will never rush them out. Even if they're ordering only a burger and a coke, they will be treated as well as someone ordering the Tomahawk and expensive wine.

EOW: Can you finish the whole Tomahawk yourself?

OR: I have before, but I like our sides too much, so I'm always eating things with the steak which makes it harder to finish the whole thing.

Check back tomorrow, when we get Chef Ozzie to divulge his secret to a great steak.

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Geri Maria Harris