Chef Chat

Chef Chat, Part 1: Randy Evans of Haven

That cool restaurant tucked back off Kirby is more than a year old. This week, we speak with Randy Evans, executive chef and partner of Haven and former executive chef at Brennan's, about his past and Haven's present.

EOW: Who were your culinary inspirations?

RE: Number one, my mom... Her father had a farm, and they raised their own animals. She always knew how to cook, can and bake. My mom's cooking really had an influence, especially on the pastry side... After that, I really admired how Carl Walker and the chefs at Brennan's really made the move and Carl was really doing the first farm-to-table in Houston... I'm sure everyone always mentions Thomas Keller as an inspiration and the way he writes cookbooks.

EOW: Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?

RE: My aptitude is math and science. I went to Baylor University out of high school and was a Biology major/Chemistry minor, thought I wanted to be a doctor and five semesters in--that's when I ended up going to culinary school... I learned a lot when I was at Baylor about anatomy of animals. The education I had in terms of the science side and the chemistry of food really helped with the whole charcuterie concepts that are so popular today.

EOW: Any downfalls along the way?

RE: The construction on Kirby and 59 has been a challenge. Food-wise, I have had a hard time getting lamb.

EOW: Would you consider yourself a perfectionist?

RE: Probably so. I'm sure my wife would say that (laughs). I would say I am. I think most chefs are. Especially ones that want to do more than be a kitchen manager. You want to see every dish come out number one. Unfortunately, you're only as good as your last dish.

EOW: Besides the opening of Haven, what have been some of the biggest accomplishments of your culinary career?

RE: For me, that cookbook [The Kitchen Table Cookbook] was huge. I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Even better, that book was recipes that I wanted to do.

Check back tomorrow as Chef Randy Evans talks about life at Haven.

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Kevin Shalin
Contact: Kevin Shalin