Few chefs can lay claim to being the founding father of an entire culinary style, but Stephan Pyles is no ordinary chef. Widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of Southwestern cuisine, Stephan utilizes a vast array of culinary influences to his advantage, and his reputation is a testament to how successful he has been thus far. Born and raised in Texas, Stephan began his culinary career apprenticing in the kitchen of his family’s truck stop before training in classic French cuisine. With two diverse styles under his belt, Stephan started his career with one goal in mind: to show the world that there is more to Texas cooking than Tex-Mex and barbecue.
Stephan’s early success in his solo restaurants was compounded by the success of his cookbooks (he has written five). Bon Appetit magazine names Stephan as the chef most responsible for changing the Texas cooking scene, and the New York Times called Stephan “an absolute genius in the kitchen.” Stephan has also won the AAA Five Diamond Award, the Restaurants and Institutions’ “Ivy Award,” the American Academy of Achievement award, and a James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Southwest” (the first chef to receive that award).
Specialties & Resources
Stephan uses a variety of culinary elements in his cooking to create new, exciting dishes. His influences include traditional Southern cooking, Southwestern food, Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines, Cajun cuisine and Creole cooking. Stephan has been at the helm of a series of restaurants over his long and storied career, but his most recent endeavor is Flora Street Café in Dallas.
Dedicated to “elevated Texas cuisine,” offerings include smoked king salmon belly with spiced purple camote, pickled sweet corn and garlic chips; butternut squash-pomegranate salad with pumpkin panna cotta, hibiscus sorbet and heirloom apple; sea scallops with coconut gelée, pineapple textures, chipotle buckwheat groats and jasmine sea essence; kona kampachi with passion fruit aguachile, quinoa, marcona almonds and pineapple tomatillo; autumn golden squash soup with head-on spot prawn, piquillo pepper, black lime and saffron; Alaskan king crab with plum, avocado, hearts of palm, and yellow spoon bread; lobster tamale pie with wild paddlefish caviar and ancho glass; wood-grilled scallop with aji-smoked corn espuma, fingerling potatoes and padron peppers; wild coho salmon with mussel escabeche, corn & huitlacoche, okra and chanterelles; and striped Colorado lamb loin & saddle with caramelized banana, chewy beet and black rice.