Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Austin Chef Heritage Tree 2014 Social Graph Edition

Heritage, Pedigree, and Lineage are words can be used to describe any industry that has a culture of apprenticeship. Characteristics of mentor are passed down to mentee in a systematic fashion.  
I experienced this during my graduate studies. Sometime in the early 2000s, I was reading a paper by Mark Snyder, and the writing style was familiar and distinct. It read just like my advisor’s, Jeffry Simpson, work. Mark Snyder was Jeffry Simpson’s advisor. Since Jeff was my advisor, some of that writing style rubbed off on me too - in technical writing. I have different styles for different audiences.

When I interviewed chefs at the 2013 Austin Food and Wine Festival, many of them said something in a similar vein.  
“A sign of a truly great food city is one where you see the local chefs training others to be chefs and eventually open their own restaurants.” The training here is emphasized. 

*Save the graph to view full size.  *Updated 10:25 pm 8.25.14


It could not be more true of Austin with its blooming food scene. It isn’t difficult to taste the influences that many of the new young chefs carry with them from their mentors. Chef David Bull of Congress Austin and formerly the Driskill makes a very distinct and delicious gnocchi. You can taste that same technique in the style of chefs that have trained under him. The gnocchi are fluffy pockets of carby sunshine.  

I can also pick out plating style out of a line up if the chef has ever trained at Uchi or Uchiko. I’ve done it before looking at Instagram streams. The marriage of juxtapositioned flavors and textures along with vertical garnishes (think the house made cornflakes) are distinct characteristics of their style. That plating style must have been forced into their genes via X-man like mutations.  
I started collecting chef and restaurant data a few years ago, and here it is. *I’m a data nerd during my day job. The hubs of chef training is obvious: Driskill and Uchi/Uchiko. It is also easy to see powerhouses like Sonya Cote and Shawn Cirkiel owning multiple establishments. This graph is to inform readers about the food history in Austin. It is important to document history so that we can someday learn from it.

This is a work in progress. Chefs and restaurant data changes constantly, and I do expect to be updating this social graph on a regular basis. If you would like to submit additions, please do email me at  


  1. Fantastic work, girl. I will definitely be referring back to this often, and look forward to seeing more.