About Chef Brian West:
A native Texan, Chef Brian West exploded onto San Antonio's culinary scene a decade ago with his Café Paladar. After his successful run as a restaurateur, he opened his own consulting practice. He also served as a chef/instructor at the Culinary Institute of America --San Antonio and led the school's barbecue team to many smoking victories. He served as the Operational Chef of the Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible,” and draws upon that experience when he consults with restaurants. In addition to his consulting practice, he has issued a culinary manifesto on Texas Cuisine and is working to build support for it.
Owner, Texas Culinary Alliance:
The Texas Culinary Alliance is a comprehensive and accurate resource for best practices. Our members get the inside scoop from professional restaurant consultant, Chef Brian West. He brings to the table specific product recommendations, seasonal food selections and recipe tips, as well as addressing topics on what’s trending in the industry. Our Advisory Board, consisting of local culinary leaders, contribute their stories from the front-line, discussing solutions for common problems.
SHARED INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE
By working together, we can get maximum value from the experience base of our members. The Texas Culinary Alliance offers a platform that is interactive, encouraging sharing and collaborating. Opening a conversation with those who have firsthand experience about what the industry is going through, helps the whole. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute and succeed.
Just because Restaurant Impossible is off the air and star chef Robert Irvine isn't saving any more failing businesses, his work of improving restaurants continues with one of his former associates:
Chef Brian West, menu creator, restaurant consultant, culinary instructor and all-around force of nature.
A former restaurateur and chef/instructor at the Culinary Institute of America--San Antonio who appeared on television and online cooking segments, West can enlighten your viewers or readers about culinary techniques, how to evaluate a restaurant, what it was like working for Robert Irvine and the Food Network show, and how to make the most out of a restaurant experience.
As a consultant, he helps clients as when he worked with Irvine -- but without his former boss's British accent and intimidation.
West starts by meeting with a restaurant's owners or management to discuss what they need for their business. Sometimes a client wants to start a restaurant. Other times, a restaurant needs to overhaul its menu. Or perhaps it's a place that needs to improve in everything.
Once he's clear on the client's needs, he designs an individualized program and turns that plan into reality.
One of his clients, Downtown Social bar and restaurant in New Braunfels, describes West as "the best thing that has happened to us."
For that business, West helped the owners create the restaurant side from scratch: developing a menu and creating recipes based on ideas that the owners provided, hiring a kitchen and service staff, and training everybody.
"We are new to the restaurant side of the hospitality industry and needed someone who could guide us in the right direction," said Mike Keyser, one of the owners. "Brian has helped us in so many ways and has become a huge part of our business."
At Drink Texas, a San Antonio bar with four locations, owner Greg Barrineau wanted a Texas Cuisine menu and food program. West created a menu based on his own vision (attached) of the state's six culinary regions: South Texas, Central Texas, North Texas, Gulf Coast, West Texas and East Texas. West also helped train Barrineau's staff to operate more efficiently and effectively.
As a result of West's work, Drink Texas' food sales more than doubled and continue to grow.
"He really knows his business," Barrineau said.
And in the Central Texas town of Salado, the Inn on the Creek hired West to overhaul the operations of its main restaurant, Alexander's Distillery. It had been a fine dining destination but grew tired and had lost its appeal. The inn hired West to revive it.
West came in and transformed the menu into an upscale casual spot, rewrote the menu, trained the kitchen and service staff and stayed at the property an entire week while the restaurant launched its new menu. Barely a month into the new concept, the restaurant's sales are up at least 20 percent, said Colleen Kalinoski, operations manager for the Inn on the Creek.
"It has been very well received, not just by our local community but our out of town guests, too," she said. "He's done a great job with the staff, both the back of the house and the front of the house. He's the whole package. "West would serve as an ideal expert on any story about cooking, restaurants, Restaurant Impossible, food television or what happens behind a kitchen door.
”We are new to the restaurant side of the hospitality industry and needed someone who could guide us in the right direction, Brian has helped us in so many ways and has become a huge part of our business.”
/ Mike Kaiser, downtown social /
Growing up in San Antonio, Chef West was always fond of grilling and being the host of every party, so Chef West's decision to study Culinary Arts was no surprise to anyone. Chef West enrolled in the Culinary Program at the Art Institute of Houston in the fall of 1997. After working in kitchens in Houston, Chef West graduated with honors and moved back to his home, San Antonio.
Chef West has since worked in every managerial position in restaurants and hotels throughout San Antonio. He began with a Sous Chef position at the La Cantera Resort. He then worked as the Banquet Chef at Biga under Bruce Auden, Executive Chef of Fresh Horizon Catering Co, and Executive Chef at Hotel Contessa, Las Ramblas.
Chef West has owned and operated his own restaurant, Café Paladar, which received rave reviews and placed Brian as one of San Antonio’s top chefs. In 2011, Brian left the kitchen and went back into the classroom, but this time as an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. While teaching at CIA, Chef West found a lack of understanding of Texas Cuisine, its origins and flavors. After 3 years at the CIA, he had the opportunity to open a venue that elevated BBQ and smoked meats in a restaurant setting for 2 years until he saw the need to branch out on his own.
Chef West is now the owner and operator of Chef Brian West Inc. a restaurant consulting company with over 10 restaurant groups and is as focused on giving voice to Texas Cuisine within his favorite city in Texas.