Movie star chef Chris Shepherd steps away from his Houston eating places to deal with Southern Smoke Basis

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — In a seismic shift within the Houston restaurant scene, James Beard award-winning chef Chris Shepherd is stepping away from Underbelly Hospitality, a restaurant group that runs a few of the most well-known eateries within the metropolis.

As first reported by ABC13, sources confirmed the pending separation earlier this week.

The pending separation has been the main target of Houston’s vibrant restaurant scene discussions for the previous few weeks, as Underbelly has been a pacesetter in Houston’s efforts to showcase itself as a foodie vacation spot in the USA.

SEE RELATED STORY: Chef Chris Shepherd impressed by meeting with teen heart patient

Up till now, Shepherd has been the face of the corporate and its eating places.

At present, the group operates Georgia James, GJ Tavern, Underbelly Burger, and Wild Oats. At the least one different restaurant is ready to nonetheless open.

This afternoon, the 2 sides issued an announcement that centered on the constructive facets of the separation.

“We have finished quite a bit in 10 years,” Shepherd mentioned in his assertion.

“It is time for me to deal with smaller tasks and dedicate extra time to Southern Smoke. Underbelly Hospitality is in nice arms with MLB Capital Companions and the workforce we’ve got assembled over the past 5 years. They’ve supplied great assist and have been instrumental in Underbelly Hospitality’s success.

I’ve put my coronary heart and soul into these eating places, and I am so pleased with what we have achieved. I wish to thank your entire Underbelly household for at all times being there, exhibiting up, and giving it every thing, at all times.

Southern Smoke is on a path that myself, Lindsey, and the entire workforce are very pleased with, and it is time to push that even additional. We’re about to hit $10 million in grants and we’re increasing the free psychological well being initiatives into 5 states throughout the subsequent few months we plan to be in all 50 by 2028.

Thanks, Houston, for the previous, current and future assist. That is my dwelling, and I am not going anyplace. I am excited to see what the long run holds for all of us.

As I at all times say, Underbelly is now not a restaurant it is a lifestyle. Discover your environment. Find out about individuals, the place they’re from, and easy methods to dine on the identical desk. Study from anybody, no matter race, faith, ethnicity, age, or gender. Perceive that everybody has a narrative to inform. We’re at all times studying. It is time for me to be taught a brand new chapter.”

Within the joint assertion, Underbelly additionally referred to as Shepherd an unbelievable expertise and grateful for his contributions.

“Chris is an unbelievable expertise. We’re grateful for his immense contributions to each Underbelly and the trade as an entire, mentioned Todd Mason, Managing Associate, MLB Capital Companions. Our gifted workforce will proceed to ship Underbellys signature fare with unmatched approach and hospitality. Our focus has been and can proceed to be the supply of considerate meals and beverage experiences.”

The Southern Smoke Basis, a nonprofit that raises cash to assist meals and beverage staff, will proceed. The inspiration’s signature occasion, Southern Smoke Competition, is at the moment scheduled for October.

SEE RELATED STORY: Southern Smoke awards $4.5M to hospitality works since start of pandemic

For information updates, comply with Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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