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FRESH and FESTIVE: Meet Texas Chef Lou Lambert!

When it comes to Texas ranching families, Lou Lambert is the real deal. His family has been ranching out in West Texas for seven generations, and he grew up hunting turkey, deer and ducks, and helping out on the family’s big cattle roundups every year.

But when it comes to chefs, Lou is the real deal too. After studying at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Lou went to apprentice in some of the nation’s finest restaurants in New York and San Francisco, where he cooked for Wolfgang Puck.

No wonder Lou has made a reputation for himself marrying those two worlds – fine dining and ranch cuisine. In the restaurants he’s opened across Texas, including Lamberts Downtown Barbecue in Austin and Lambert’s Steaks, Seafood & Whiskey in Fort Worth, he’s built a following for his gussied-up ranch cuisine. It’s the classic Texas ranch food of his youth, refined with classical techniques and modern flavors, unpretentious but still deeply sophisticated.

Now he’s bringing his show on the road. We’re excited to bring Lou to FRESH as part of our Taste of Texas celebration. He’ll be grilling up some great Texas beef on his own personal grill from 3-5 on Saturday, June 11.

Not only will you pick up some great grilling tips, but you may hear some great stories from back in the ranch days.  Lou learned a lot by watching the ranch’s camp cook, Lilo, fix three meals a day over an open campfire: sourdough bread and cobblers made in Dutch ovens, buttermilk biscuits, steaks grilled with chiles.

But the way he’s adapted those foods into the signature dishes diners enjoy at his restaurants – now, that takes some creativity. Crispy wild boar ribs with fresh plum barbecue sauce, and beef tenderloin with blue crab and béarnaise – I’ll guarantee that’s not what the ranch hands were eating on those roundups.

Some of those recipes have made it into Lou’s first cookbook, Big Ranch Big City Cookbook: Recipes from Lambert’s Texas Kitchens, which will be released by Ten Speed Press in early September. He’ll be on PBS this fall, starring in a cooking and travel show alongside fellow Texas chef, his friend Grady Spears. And he has several additional culinary endeavors in the works, including a new restaurant at his sister Liz Lambert’s Hotel Havana in San Antonio.

Come meet Lou at FRESH and see what he’s cooking up next.