Chef Chat

Where the Chefs Eat: Chris Shepherd, Ryan Pera, Antoine Ware

Since 2010, the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GHCVB) has been conducting "Where the Chefs Eat" Houston Culinary Tours, in which chefs take a group of people to visit secret gems centered around a theme. Past tours have included world barbecue, Korean/Japanese food, Mediterranean food and more.

One of the most active chefs on the tour has been Chris Shepherd of Underbelly. This week, though Shepherd is not physically leading a group of 20 people to share his favorite eats, he and chefs Ryan Pera of Revival Market and Antoine Ware of Hay Merchant will be taking us on a virtual tour of some of their favorite eats.

Chris Shepherd Executive Chef/Owner of Underbelly

Standard go-to: Asia Market on Cavalcade in The Heights. The standard for us is the kee mow noodles, the green papaya salad, their chicken wings are delicious even though there's nothing on them, the fried pork is good, and if you're feeling really adventurous, ask them to do the black eggs because that's not on the menu -- you have to ask.

Cheap eats: Café TH outside of East downtown for their banh mi and other Vietnamese dishes. For us, we order a lot, so we call ahead. But just go in and talk to Minh (the owner), and it's just really tasty. Or just find the Rice Box food truck wherever they are, because it's always really good.

Other faves: For me, it would be anywhere in Chinatown, really. But one of my favorite spots is Lucky Pot for their Peking duck and duck wings.

Ryan Pera Co-owner Revival Market

Standard go-to: Hugo's, where I always sit at the bar. Carlos is my favorite bartender in Houston, and he makes the best margaritas in town. Hugo's Vuelva La Vida seafood dish is one of my all-time favorite dishes.

Cheap eats: Fu Fu for soup dumplings, Saigon Pagolac for family-style Vietnamese -- their hot pot is great.

Other faves: For meatless Monday, I'll go to Pondicheri for dinner. I visit Cafe Rabelais for whatever classic dish I'm in the mood for -- it always reminds me of the great times I had when I was cooking in France. I also like doing lunch solo at Underbelly on my day off -- I have a large-format beer, kick back with Shepherd and let him serve me whatever he wants to cook.

Antoine Ware Executive Chef at Hay Merchant

Standard go-to: Thai Lanna on 18th and 610. I get the fresh spring rolls, papaya salad and cashew ginger shrimp. 

Cheap eats: Spaghetti Western Italian Cafe. I order buffalo wings, but get the sauce on the side, it's better that way. The Italian Nachos are the sh*t! Oh, and the fried ravioli is pretty good, too. 

Chinese: The Flying Dragon on 18th Street. They have great Chinese food -- get the beef and broccoli.

If you missed our previous posts, click below to see more of Where the Chefs Eat:

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham