Shepherd Chris 350x350 - Shepherd, Chris

Chris Shepherd

Biography

Midwest-raised, James Beard Award-winning Chef Chris Shepherd has helped change the landscape of the Houston culinary scene since opening Underbelly in 2012. He built the restaurant to support the Houston food community and its suppliers by buying local and drawing inspiration from the people and cultures that live in the city. Thanks to Chris’ vision and passion, Underbelly was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit and Esquire and was named one of 38 essential restaurants in America by... READ MORE

Midwest-raised, James Beard Award-winning Chef Chris Shepherd has helped change the landscape of the Houston culinary scene since opening Underbelly in 2012. He built the restaurant to support the Houston food community and its suppliers by buying local and drawing inspiration from the people and cultures that live in the city. Thanks to Chris’ vision and passion, Underbelly was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit and Esquire and was named one of 38 essential restaurants in America by Eater. Chris was named one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2013 and was then awarded the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest.

In 2017, Chris opened One Fifth, a five-year restaurant project that changes concepts every year. He closed Underbelly in March 2018 to convert the building into Georgia James, his take on a steakhouse. He also opened UB Preserv as his culinary interpretation of Houston’s evolution. He continues to tell the story of Houston food, but without limitations of locality and whole animal butchery. He formed Underbelly Hospitality in 2018 to preserve the ethos of Underbelly—learning about diverse cultures through food. In 2019, all three restaurants—UB Preserv, One Fifth Mediterranean and Georgia James—nabbed the No. 1 spot on Texas Monthly‘s list of the Best New Restaurants in Texas. He was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2019.

Chris began his fine dining career at Brennan’s of Houston, where he spent seven years in the kitchen and then ran the wine program for two. He left Brennan’s in 2006 to open Catalan Food & Wine, which was named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America that same year.

Chris’ foundation Southern Smoke has donated more than $1.3 million to the National MS Society, in honor of his friend who lives with multiple sclerosis, and to those in the food and beverage industry in crisis.

READ LESS
What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? Cosme. Chef Daniela Soto-Innes opened Underbelly with me, so I always visit when I'm in New York. Her duck carnitas are incredible. What is your favorite beverage? Bourbon, water. In that order. What three things are always in your pantry? Sambal, coffee, fish sauce. If you weren't a chef, what would you be? A butcher If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? My staff. I love cooking with my staff. What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? Ask me in October!