Skip to main content

The SCENE Magazine

Featured Chef Joe Amato

Mar 04, 2011 02:55AM ● By John Ennis

Chef Joe Amato Big Ben Tavern 20237 Gulf  Frwy • 281.332.9820

Background / Experience: Went to culinary school in Austin (2005). In 2007, I opened Mesa Ranch in Austin. Worked as a Sous Chef at the Oasis on Lake Travis for a while, spent some time in a French brasserie then headed back to the Houston area. I have worked as a personal chef as well as in restaurants here in Houston and Galveston.

Specialty: Cooking simple but interesting food that appeals to most customers. Utilizing different herbs and spices to put a spin on traditional dishes, i.e. chicken potpie with coconut milk and curry or tuna salad with fresh mint.

Signature Dish: Grilled flank steak and Haricot vert salad with shaved purple onion, tomato, mint and cilantro in a nuoc cham dressing.

Have you ever prepared a meal for anyone famous or infamous? I’ve cooked for most of the Astros, as well as former president Bush Sr. and his wife Barbara.

Please share one special cooking tip or technique with our readers: Don't be afraid to try new things. Spend some time in your grocery stores produce section and look at all the variety. Try a new vegetable or fruit. You might not think you like it, but it could become your new favorite.