James Beard Celebrity Chef Dinner Tour - SOLD OUT
Fresh local produce, wild and sustainable foods, and Cajun and Creole influences form the foundation for Brennan’s of Houston Executive Chef Danny Trace’s culinary style. “I put what I’ve been eating all of my life into it. I try to cook the best local food there is,” the Louisiana native says.
An integral veteran of the Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants, Chef Trace was the executive chef of Commander’s Palace & On The Rocks Bar at HarborWalk Village in Destin, FL before coming to Houston. Chef Trace was hand-picked by co-owner Alex Brennan-Martin to re-open and guide the landmark kitchen at Brennan’s after months of rebuilding from Hurricane Ike.
An avid outdoorsman since early childhood, Chef Trace cites his father and grandfather – who taught him hunting, fishing, crabbing and crawfishing – as two of the most influential figures in his culinary path. “I just grew up around cooking, at home with my family and outside, hunting and fishing,” he says. “My brothers and I would hunt wild ducks, rabbits, deer you name it. My grandfather and uncle were both cooks in the military. The guys I know all cook. It’s kind of all we know.”
The thrill of turning the daily catch into a fresh, savory meal became his passion, landing him in the culinary arts program at esteemed Johnson & Wales University. Trace earned his culinary degree in 1995, but says his real professional education began when he started in the kitchen at Commander’s Palace. “You think you know something until you step into a place like Commander’s,” he says. Over the next ten years at Commander’s, Danny honed his skills under late Executive Chef Jamie Shannon and his mentor, Ella Brennan, who dubbed Chef Danny “the complete package.” He quickly worked his way through all stations in the kitchen, winning the attention of the Brennan’s and becoming an integral member of the venerable culinary team.
Further education has come in the field, where Trace has made a point of spending time with food producers: going out on commercial fishing and shrimp boats, visiting catfish farms, hunting wild boar and rattlesnakes. Danny has also been the witty on-air cohort on the Commander’s Palace fishing, hunting and cooking show, “Off the Menu” that aired on the Turner South Network for five years.
Weathering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath with family in Texas, Trace was glad to come home to Louisiana to take up the culinary reins at Café Adelaide in November 2005. In early 2008, he was given the opportunity to lead the new Commander’s Palace at HarborWalk Village in beautiful Destin, Florida...although leaving New Orleans was a tough decision; Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan speculate it was the deep sea fishing that tipped the scales for Danny to make the move.
Now at this critical time of rebirth for Brennan’s of Houston, Trace is more than ready to raise this Houston culinary icon to new heights. Danny looks to balance his menu with modern Creole cooking and Brennan’s ever-evolving Texas Creole cuisine, while digging into his well of knowledge with the playful and spirit- influenced cuisine he honed at Café Adelaide, and the “Floribbean” style he created in Destin.
$170 per person, Dinner Begins at 7 PM