Houston's much loved and respected chef, Chris Shepherd, announced in an Instagram post Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Shepherd, who operates a number of restaurants in Houston under the Underbelly Hospitality umbrella including UB Preserv, Georgia James, Hay Merchant and One Fifth, is known almost as much for his philanthropy as his creative and diverse food.
Shepherd and his team have been going above and beyond with safety protocols during the pandemic, including keeping his restaurants' capacity levels at 50 percent rather than the allowed 75 percent. However, last weekend the James Beard Award winning chef took his first out of state plane trip since the pandemic began in March to keep a prior commitment. According to Shepherd's post, he took a test as a precaution when he returned home and the test results came back positive.
Shepherd wrote, "I'm thankful to have no symptoms, and I'm feeling fine. I have also tested for antibodies and didn't have any, which shows it's a new infection that likely occurred on the trip."
The chef's post also said that staff close to him have tested negative as well as his fiancee, Lindsey Brown. Shepherd plans to quarantine for the next ten days, a difficult thing for a man who keeps a very busy schedule between his restaurants and work with his Southern Smoke Foundation.
Shepherd ended his post with " We love you all. Thank you for the support. Please stay safe."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.