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ONE on ONE with HOUSTON Chefs Monica Pope & Chris Shepherd

Monica Pope


“We always say that it’s people that make Houston what it is. Small restaurant owners are the people that make Houston.”

– Monica Pope, Founding Chef, Houston Culinary Tours


Dubbed the “Alice Waters of the Third Coast,” Germanborn, Houston-reared chef Monica Pope has revolutionized Houston’s culinary scene since she opened her first restaurant in 1992. She shares her passion for connecting local farmers and consumers in her successful Midtown Farmers Market, weekly cooking classes, online cookbook, and t’afia and Beaver’s restaurants. Pope has also enjoyed national recognition in the form of a James Beard award nomination and a spot competing on 2010’s second season of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. She is the only Texas woman chef to be named Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine thanks to her inventive, “eat where your food lives” cooking style.

Houston culinary scene in one word:



Favorite local ingredients:

Too many to mention… red okra, wasabina, pinto beans


Always in my refrigerator at home:

Green curry paste from Green Plum Kitchen


If I weren’t a chef, I’d…

be a film writer


Favorite cocktail:

The Final Word at Beaver’s (rye whiskey, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino liqueur, lemon)


Inspiration for my menu:

The stories behind the people/community that grow or raise the food in Houston



Chris Shepherd


“There are actually very few people living in Houston that are originally from here, so we have access to so many cultures – things to see and things to taste. People need to take advantage of that”.

–Chris Shepherd, Founding Chef, Houston Culinary Tours


Midwest-raised Chef Chris Shepherd spent weekends as a child scouring farms throughout Oklahoma in search of straight-from-the-vine tomatoes, fresh corn and peas. He left boundary-pushing Catalan restaurant – a place Robb Report declared one of its 100 favorite restaurants in the world – to begin work on Underbelly, featuring locally-sourced food inspired by the ethnic diversity of Houston. The Art Institute-alum and former Executive Sous Chef-turned-Sommelier of Brennan’s has brought his farm-to-table passion to fruition at the new spot, which opened in March 2012. Shepherd’s creations also  can be sampled in the new food menu he developed for Anvil Bar & Refuge.


Houston culinary scene in one word:



Favorite local ingredients:



Always in my refrigerator at home:

Kewpie mayonnaise


If I weren’t a chef, I’d…

be a butcher


Favorite cocktail:

The Brave at Anvil (Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal, Hacienda de Chihuahua Sotol Plata, Averna amaro, orange curacao, Angostura bitters, flamed orange zest)


Inspiration for my menu:

Houston’s culinary scene




2012 Culinary Tour Schedule


Indian with Monica Pope/Chris Shepherd


Day of the Dead/Airline with Hugo Ortega/David Cordua


Coffee & Dessert with Rebecca Masson/Ruben Ortega/Avi Katz


Farm Tour with Claire Smith/Randy Evans


Vietnamese with Byan Caswell/Ryan Pera


Visit HOUSTON.comHOUSTONCulinaryTours.com

Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

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