About Chef Stephan Pyles:
Chef Stephan Pyles has been a major player in the restaurant business for over 30 years. He is an award-winning chef and restaurateur who’s famed Routh Street Cafe was named by Texas Monthly as one of the top 35 moments in Texas history in the past 40 years and Pyles’ cuisine singlehandedly made Texas a contender on the global culinary scene.
A fifth generation Texan, he has opened over 20 restaurants in 5 cities over the past 30 years, including Routh Street Café, Baby Routh, Star Canyon, and Stampede 66. He has authored four highly successful cookbooks and hosted two seasons of the Emmy Award-Winning PBS series New Tastes from Texas.
Pyles is consistently nominated for the James Beard Awards as Outstanding Chef and was the first Texas Chef to win a James Beard Award for Best New Chef-Southwest. Chef/Owner Stephan Pyles is the founding father of Southwestern Cuisine and is known internationally as a pioneer of New American Cuisine.
A tireless philanthropist, Pyles is a founding board member of Share Our Strength, an international hunger relief organization and is a recipient of the organization’s most distinguished award, Humanitarian of the Year. He is a life board member of the North Texas Food Bank and also serves on the board of Goodwill Industries. In 1988, he founded The Hunger Link, Dallas’ perishable food program that acts as a conduit between restaurants and hotels and ministries and soup kitchens.
For the last 12 years, Pyles has offered a $15,000 annual scholarship in his name to a rising star culinary student in Texas. The Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship is one of the most prestigious in America. Pyles’ protégés and past culinary team members, who are many, historically become the finest up and coming talent in the industry.
Now read our exclusive interview with the amazing Chef Pyles:
H2FAL: What’s your favorite memory as a child growing up in Texas?
SP: Going to Moss Creek Lake in Big Spring on July 4th, having a picnic of Barbecue and fried chicken under a pavilion on the lake’s cliffs, then shooting fireworks as soon as the sunset.
H2FAL: Did you learn to cook at home, in addition to cooking school?
SP: I made cobblers and pies with my grandmother at her home and learned to make tacos and stuffed jalapeños from my dad in our truck stop cafe.
H2FAL: Have you traveled anywhere that has influenced your flavors and recipes?
SP: I have tracked the world and it has influenced my cooking greatly, but especially my travels to Peru, Mexico, Spain, Turkey and Morocco.
H2FAL: You are considered the founder of ‘Modern Texas Cuisine’…for those who don’t know what that means, how would you describe it?
SP: It’s the cooking of our state which incorporates Mexican, Southern, Range and Cowboy Cooking and a bit of Cajun-Creole. I take those styles and classic indigenous recipes and interpret them with lightness, modern cooking techniques and refined presentations.
H2FAL: What’s your indulgence food?
SP: Honey Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and red-eye gravy.
H2FAL: Is there anything you won’t eat?
SP: Calves’s liver
H2FAL: What was your inspiration for creating Stampede 66?
SP: My restaurant, Star Canyon, but more so this time, my childhood. Especially my experience in our truck stop cafe.
H2FAL: Your commitment to giving back to the community is unparalleled. Can you tell us your thoughts on why you feel this is so important?
SP: it’s important that those of us who make a handsome living from feeding folks also feed those folks that can’t afford to feed themselves.