A day in the life of one of Houston’s favorite chefs: Eat Like a Local’s Chris Shepherd

Houstonians far and wide are well aware of the name Chris Shepherd. The popular chef has solidified himself as a beloved part of everything that is Houston.

Maybe you know that he began rooting himself within the Houston culinary community in 2012 when he opened the restaurant Underbelly. Chris built the restaurant to support the Houston food community and its suppliers by buying local and drawing inspiration from the people and cultures that live within the city.

In recent years, he has also helped to create the Southern Smoke nonprofit, with the help of sponsors like Lexus and donations made from countless local restaurants and organizations.

Chris was named one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2013 and was then awarded the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest.

While these all might be things you’ve heard about Chris before, what you might not know is how hard he works on a daily basis to bring everything he’s got to the people of the city, while still pouring into his home life with his wife, Lindsey Brown.

Here’s a peak into what an average day looks like for one of Houston’s favorite chefs.

7:00 a.m.: Workout at the gym

Chris gets in an early workout. (Julie Soefer.)

Chris starts his day with a workout. He said he prefers weight training and boxing, and he does so along some fellow chefs from the area. Perhaps you might recognize a few of them: Ryan Pera from Coltivare, Manabu Horiuchi from Kata Robata and Katami, Graham Laborde from Winnie’s, Benjy Mason from Johnny’s Gold Brick and Winnie’s, and Felipe Riccio from Goodnight Hospitality.

When asked what his most challenging workout is, Chris replied: “As with most people, cardio is the worst.”

9:00 a.m.: Breakfast and a hangout with his cats before he hits the ground running

You might be surprised to learn that Chris isn’t necessarily a big breakfast person, but he said coffee is an absolute must.

“I will usually get some from the house, but, if not, iced coffee,” he said.

While Chris is getting ready for the day, he is always hanging out with his cats Rosie and Beans. When you hear him describe them, you quickly understand how important they are to him and his wife Lindsey.

“They are the most amazing kitties of all time,” he said. “They are a brother and sister duo we rescued when they were 8 weeks old. They have saved us.”

Chris said Rosie is the adventurer while Beans is afraid of his own shadow.

“But when it comes to snuggling, they both are the best,” he said.

Chris Shepherd with his cats Rosie and Beans. (KPRC-TV)

10:30 a.m.: Interview with KPRC 2

Chris’s first stop of the day is none other than KPRC 2, to explain how last summer’s drought could impact this year’s crawfish season.

“We will see how this season unfolds, but the drought last year -- the intense heat -- when that happens, if you’re not a crawfish farm that also produces rice, where you’re flooding the fields, you’re going to have a hard time this year,” he said.

Chris explained this is because the drought pushed the crawfish in deeper where mud dries.

“When you’re 100-plus degrees for three months at a time with no rain, it makes it a little tougher for crawfish to live,” he said.

Watch the video below to see the full interview:

11:00 a.m.: Planning meeting for Eat Like a Local

After his interview, Chris meets with the Eat Like a Local crew to talk about the shows that will be filmed.

He said this first season is plenty of shows they already know they want to do, but he’s got his ear to the ground, too.

“I love hearing from our viewers about the places they love,” he said.

11:30 a.m.: Southern Smoke branding call

Next up is a call about Chris’s nonprofit Southern Smoke, which helps support hospitality workers in crisis.

The nonprofit raised a record-breaking $1.8 million in one weekend last year.

1:30 p.m.: Lunch

Though he does make a stop for lunch, it’s still in a day’s work for Chris. On this particular day, he uses the opportunity to scout a restaurant for an upcoming Eat Like a Local episode.

2:00 p.m.: Call about Southern Smoke

After lunch, Chris spends more of his day giving attention to Southern Smoke.

He said working on this is always exciting because they deal with the food and beverage world that’s always changing.

“We have 11 employees who are always busy helping people get out of crisis,” he said. “We strive to continue building a better way to help those people by expanding our mental health program or events.”

3:00 p.m.: Pick up wife Lindsey for a date night

Nearing the evening, after what’s been a typical day on the go, Chris heads home to pick up his wife Lindsey for a date night.

Chris lovingly calls Lindsey his rock and best friend.

“I am so lucky to be her husband,” he said. “We work so well together, and when not working, we relax just as well. We understand and support each other so well in all the things we do.”

3:30 p.m.: Interview at Brennan’s for Eat Like a Local

For the first stop on date night, Chris and Lindsey stop by Brennan’s -- where he worked for more than nine years -- to record an interview for an upcoming Eat Like a Local segment.

“We still frequent Brennan’s,” Chris said. “It’s a very special place for us. Having worked there for over 9 years, I built a bond with the team.”

While making their stop, Chris and Lindsey run into longtime friend Marcelino Cantu, who has worked at Brennan’s for more than 50 years.

“Marcelino is an absolute fixture and legend at Brennan’s,” Chris said. “He is so special.”

Chris and wife Lindsey visit Brennan's and visit with longtime friend Marcelino Cantu. (KPRC-TV)

5:00 p.m.: Cocktails and appetizers at Montrose Cheese and Wine

Chris admittedly visits Montrose Cheese and Wine relatively often, but instead of making his own selections, he lets the staff choose for him and Lindsey.

“When we visit MCW, we generally let them choose it for us: what’s drinking good or what they have open that they love,” he said.

6:30 p.m.: Dinner at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

After cocktails and appetizers, Chris and Lindsey head over to Pappas Bros. Steakhouse for their dinner.

Chris said their go-to order is always to split a ribeye, creamed spinach, a potato of Lindsey’s choosing, onion rings (on occasion) and an off-menu jalapeno side.

For drinks, “Whatever the sommelier helps me with,” Chris joked.

After a full day, we asked Chris: What else is there to a day in the life of Chris Shepherd?

“I’m going to honest: every day is different,” he said. “Almost all of them are equally as busy -- sometimes more, but rarely less. Depending on if it’s Eat Like a Local, Stages, meat company, consulting, writing wine columns, Southern Smoke or anything else, it’s always a new day with new challenges.”

Eat Like a Local with Chris Shepherd’ is your guide to the best food in Houston. Watch new episodes Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KPRC 2 and the KPRC 2+ livestream.

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