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Killen's Chef Joe Cervantez Heads Back To Brennan's

Joe Cervantez returns to Brennan's on June 4.
Joe Cervantez returns to Brennan's on June 4.
Photo by Chuck Cook
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Seems like it's musical chairs day for the Houston restaurant industry with several shuffles happening within the past 24 hours.

First up, Killen's chef Joe Cervantez will rejoin Brennan's as executive chef starting in June.  Cervantez, who was actually a sous at Brennan's from 2010 to 2014, comes aboard to fill the role recently (and quite shockingly) vacated by longtime Brennan's chef Danny Trace.

“We are thrilled to welcome Joe back to the Brennan’s of Houston family,” says Proprietor Alex Brennan-Martin via a press release. “Joe is one of the most talented and resourceful young chefs I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my years in the restaurant business, and on behalf of Carl Walker, Chef Jose Arevalo, Chef Martin Weaver and the rest of the team, we are ecstatic that Joe will be returning to the kitchen next month.”

In the meantime, Commander's Palace's chef and James Beard 2013 Best Chef: South winner Tory McPhail will actually be training Cervantez intensely for the next few weeks.

Over at Killen's Steakhouse, a corresponding press release also reveals that Steve Haug will now head up the kitchen. Haug spent 18 years with the Del Frisco's steakhouse group in Dallas and Houston, most recently at the Galleria location, and always was a company chef for Grazia Italian Kitchen.  Killen notes of Haug: "Besides working at one of the best steakhouses in Texas, he has a corporate restaurant background so consistency is also a strong asset that he will bring with him. And I've always loved his calamari - we'll have great calamari."

Killen also addresses Cervantez's departure, stating, "I have nothing but the utmost respect for Joe and am looking forward to continuing to watch him grow within the Brennan's family."

In other news, sommelier Evan Turner has left Helen Greek Food to seek out other opportunities, as first reported by Houston Food Finder. A press release from the Greek restaurant states the following:

Helen in the Heights has announced that Evan Turner has departed from his position as Head Sommelier at the restaurant effective immediately. Turner has been an integral part of both Helen in the Heights as well as the original Helen Greek Food and Wine in Rice Village, both of which have garnered accolades and support from the Houston community. Evan has decided to pursue other avenues, and the leadership team and staff behind Helen Family wishes him success in his future endeavors.

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