Food & Drink
Future Star Chefs Show-off at Texas Cooks' Co-Op
Published: September 18, 2013
You’ve eaten their food whether you know it or not. If your regular haunts within the last few years have included Sandbar, Laurent’s Modern Cuisine, Bella on the River or Tre Trattoria, members of the Texas Cooks’ Co-Op have likely prepared your favorite dish many times over. But you probably don’t even know their names, not yet, anyway.
Made up of line cooks, executive sous chefs, a bartender and a sommelier (and funnily enough, an internal management consulting analyst), the TCCO is the brainchild of Tapa Tapa Truck owner and Culinary Institute of America-Hyde Park alum Rudolfo Martinez and Luis Colon, a Johnson & Wales University-trained chef that’s worked everywhere from Lüke to Bella on the River and will help open Tuk Tuk Taproom. The group’s mission is to encourage support within the food community while expanding their skillset.
But Texas Cooks’ Co-Op had a questionable conception, which most members don’t like discussing. After being excluded from the then-newly formed SA Chef Coalition, an organization that included executive chefs and restaurant owners, in March 2012, Martinez and Colon decided to take matters into their own hands. The pair created the SA Cooks’ Coalition as what Martinez calls, “a knee-jerk reaction” to the other partnership.
“We felt slighted. A lot of our members have Michelin restaurant experience in their resumes and have been cooking in town for a good little while,” Martinez said. “We started without the most positive reason.”
The SA Chef Coalition began as a way for chefs and hospitality professionals to support and promote food culture. The group was comprised of Andrew Weissman, Jason Dady, Chad Carey, Steven McHugh, Michael Sohocki, John Brand, David Gilbert of Sustenio and Il Sogno sommelier Gabe Howe. They held several events including a fried chicken and beer pop-up, an intimate, yet rowdy crawfish boil, and the group also donated $6,000 to SAISD schools with culinary programs. But the Chef Coalition has been pretty quiet since December when they posted their last tweet.