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ONE on ONE with HOUSTON Chefs Robb Walsh & Bryan Caswell

Robb Walsh

El Real Tex-Mex

“Houston’s food scene is unique because of the many cultures that rub up against each other here.”


Three-time James Beard award-winning food writer Robb Walsh has devoted his career to exploring and interpreting foodways. As a child, Walsh watched his Eastern European grandmother communicate through her cooking, while his father worked as a restaurant purveyor. Today, the veteran critic has enjoyed stints on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, as a food columnist for Natural History magazine and a writer for Gourmet, Saveur, Garden and Gun and Fine Cooking. He has authored several books including Sex, Death & Oysters, which was voted one of the Best Cookbooks of 2009 by Eat Me Daily, and the just-released The Tex-Mex Grill. Walsh recently partnered with veteran restaurateurs Bill Floyd and Bryan Caswell to open El Real Tex-Mex in early 2011.


-Houston culinary scene in one word:


-Favorite local ingredients:


-Always in my refrigerator at home:

Saint Arnold’s beer of the season

-If I weren’t a food writer, I’d…

be a chef

-Favorite cocktail:

Perro Rojo
(Texas red Grapefruit juice and tequila 
in a salted glass over ice)



Oyster Nachos

Oyster nachos were invented by Austin chef David Garrido, the recipe first appeared in the 1995 cookbook we co-authored, Nuevo Tex-Mex. Yield: 12 nachos

Peanut oil, for frying

12 fresh raw oysters

Buttermilk, for dredging

Flour, for dredging

12 large tortilla chips (round shape preferred)

1/2 cup favorite salsa

Fill a small skillet to a depth of 1 inch with oil and heat to 375 degrees. Put the buttermilk and flour into two shallow bowls. Soak the oysters in buttermilk, then dip them in flour.

Fry each oyster for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until lightly brown. Transfer the oysters to paper towels to drain. Put a teaspoonful of salsa on each chip, then a fried oyster. Serve immediately.

Bryan Caswell

Reef Founding Chef, Houston Culinary Tours

“All of our food is born from these types of places. It’s the foundation of what we do.”

–Bryan Caswell, Founding Chef, Houston Culinary Tours


Staying true to his Gulf Coast roots, Chef/Owner Bryan Caswell imparts his love for fishing and the ocean in his seasonally changing, award-winning restaurant, Reef. Diners love the spot’s refined blend of locally-grown produce and use of Third-Coast-caught seafood, as do foodies on the national stage. Caswell has expanded his restaurant empire with Little Bigs, Stella Sola and the recently-opened El Real Tex-Mex. He has twice been named a Finalist for a James Beard Award, Food & Wine magazine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs,” and he was named to Continental Airlines’ Congress of Chefs. In 2010, Caswell also competed on the third season of The Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef and hosted Best in Smoke, also on The Food Network.


The Houston culinary scene in one word:


Favorite local ingredients:

Underutilized Gulf fish—tripletail, trigger fish, amberjack, cobia, wahoo, croaker,
blacktip shark

Always in my refrigerator at home:

Blue Bell ice cream, La Espiga de Oro tortillas, La Croix with lime

If I was not a chef, I’d . . .

be an outfitter
(hunting and fishing guide)

Favorite pre-dinner cocktail:

Wild Turkey and club soda, no fruit

Inspiration for my menu:

Houston—its diverse group of cultures— Southeast and Southern Texas



2012 Culinary Tour Schedule


Oyster with Robb Walsh/ Bryan Caswell


Crawfish with Mark Holley/ Jonathan Jones

MAY 13

Street Food with Rebecca Masson/ Jonathan Jones

MAY 20

Chef’s Day Off with Seth Siegel-Gardner/Terrence Gallivan


Hong Kong City Mall/Secrets of Bellaire with Chris Shepherd/Randy Evans


Long Point Road with Bryan Caswell/Chris Shepherd


Southern Comfort with Mark Holley/Randy Evans


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

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