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Restaurants / Openings

Bravery Chef Hall Reveals a Surprising New Addition, Giving Downtown’s New Food Palace Even More Masterchef Power

State of the Art Pop-Up Kitchen Will Attract Celebrity Chefs Galore

BY // 07.31.19
photography Shelby Hodge

Early morning and well before the doors open, Bravery Chef Hall, the newest entry into Houston’s burgeoning food hall scene, is jumping. Kokoro chefs Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham of Uchi fame are working on sushi grade salmon while chef Ben McPherson’s team at BOH Pasta & Pizza is churning out the fettuccini.

And while Bravery has been open for a few days, workmen are still hustling toward completion of a most surprising entry — a state of the art Gaggenau kitchen.

Unlike the incubator nature of the five food stalls that fill the lively hall, the posh Gaggenau will serve as an instigator for pop-up dinners, chef demonstrations, cooking classes and whatever other creative uses the Bravery Chef Hall team imagines. A soft opening is in the works, pending arrival of two pieces of kitchen equipment that are still in Germany, while a grand opening is being planned for the second or third week in October.

In the meantime, workmen are busy in the space that is a collaboration between FBS and Gaggenau, the ultra luxury kitchen appliance manufacturer, and the various local suppliers who have donated their materials and talents to the project.

“All of these custom cabinets are milled specifically to fit every single module of the latest Gaggenau equipment,” points out Shepard Ross, who is a partner in Bravery Chef Hall with Lian Nguyen and Anh Mai. “So this will be an entire suite including induction oven, range, steam ovens, wine refrigeration, regular refrigeration, a showcase kitchen.

“We want to showcase it to the design and builder community as well so that they can bring in architects and developers of projects all over Texas and beyond and show them what chefs can do in this kitchen and what can be done in your home. It’s the whole elevated experience.”

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The pop-up dinners can accommodate 12 diners and Ross explains that a website is in the works that will have information on special events and ticketing details as well as information on all the suppliers that contributed to the kitchen construction. Among those included will be Modern Surfaces which provided the porcelain countertops and backsplash.

IMG_3425 (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Houston Ballet corps member Syvert Lorenz Garcia samples the sushi at Kokoro. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)

GM Mike Boucher was on hand on this morning checking on the work and cleverly noted, “We like to say that countertops are the lipstick of the kitchen.” Likewise, The Tile Shop, which contributed the dramatic deep gray sheened ceramic tiles from Spain that form the base of the kitchen bar, will be included.

While workman hovered over the space, Suly Weissman, Gaggenau’s architecture and design manager for Texas, handled paperwork at the neighboring wine counter.

“This is going to be phenomenal,” she said. “And it’s one of a kind. This is a permanent space instead of a moving pop-up, we’ll have the first one worldwide.” A coup considering that Gaggenau is based in Germany.

“It’s a high-end wow,”  Weissman declared. “I want it. How can I get it? It’s a customized Bentley for your kitchen.”

Ross allows that already several MasterChef champs have expressed interest in doing pop-ups in the Gaggenau kitchen, that in part thanks to chef Christine Ha, winner of MasterChefs third season, who operates The Blind Goat in Bravery Chef Hall. The bonus here is that Ross and his partners have access to two apartments in the swank Aris Market Square, Hines’ luxury high-rise. Bravery Chef Hall is located on the ground level of the swank apartment building. Thus, housing visiting chefs will be no problem.

Access to Bravery Chef Hall is on both Travis and Preston streets with a parking garage and surface lot directly across Travis and soon-to-be valet parking on Preston.

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