OWNER / EXECUTIVE CHEF
Jack Gilmore’s bold, flavorful style hails from his experience across the Gulf Coast Region of the South, his upbringing in the Rio Grande Valley, and extensive work with Master German chefs. However, his legendary hospitality is 100% Texan.
Gilmore began his culinary career working with “old school” Cajun chefs in South Padre Island, Texas. Seeking new challenges, Gilmore relocated to Austin where he helped open the original Chez Fred’s and longtime seafood favorite, Louie’s on the Lake, before moving to Louisiana.
Returning to Texas in the mid-1980s, chef Gilmore worked under German chefs in Fredericksburg, which truly helped shape his culinary vision. In those kitchens, he learned to “put everything you have learned together and use it,” Gilmore remembers. “The Masters taught me to be humble when it does not work out and glad when it does.”
Gilmore returned to Austin in 1990 to create the culinary vision for the legendary Z’Tejas Grill, a perfect fit for his unique background and talent. As the founding executive chef for the Austin-based operation, fresh ingredients and signature elements marked his distinctive style.
In October of 2009, Jack and managing partner Tom Kamm left Z’Tejas to create their dream project - Jack Allen’s Kitchen, a restaurant focusing on farm to table fresh ingredients, spirited Texas cuisine, and true southern hospitality. Since the opening of Jack Allen’s Kitchen Oak Hill in 2009, Gilmore and Kamm have opened locations in Round Rock and on 360 in the Westlake area. With the recent release of Gilmore’s first cookbook, Jack Allen’s Kitchen: Celebrating the Taste of Texas, Jack Allen’s Kitchen is truly an Austin staple and has stuck to its philosophy of “pull up a chair – there are no strangers here.”
Committed to Texas farmers and purveyors, Gilmore has pledged himself and his restaurants to supporting his community—no matter what the ups and downs of working with Mother Nature may be. On any given day, you can find Gilmore scouring the farmers’ markets for the best finds of the season. He is there to celebrate and buy them out during the ups, and there during the downs to help when he can. But at the end of the day, Gilmore tells all of the farmers, “You grow it, we will use it.”
When not in the kitchen, Gilmore is out representing his restaurant, supporting farmers, cheering on the Longhorns and Round Rock Express and giving back to charities that are near and dear to his heart, including the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation—who receives a portion of proceeds from every Carl Miller Queso sold at the restaurant. Gilmore also enjoys spending free time with his wife LuAnn, their two sons, who also found themselves in the restaurant industry, Bryce (chef and owner of Odd Duck and Barley Swine) and Dylan (partner at Odd Duck), his grandchildren and dog, Mr. Maker.
Tyson Cole will tell you that his early memories of food were far from exotic. He grew up in Florida with typical suburban fare and didn’t crave anything beyond spaghetti and sandwiches. After heading to Texas for school and finding himself unable to pay for his classes at the University of Texas, Student Cole needed a job, and fast. After days of pavement pounding, he finally ended up with a dishwashing job at Kyoto. He admits that before he took the job he had never even tried sushi. But once he did, he was hooked, and not just on sushi, but on Japanese culture and language.
Cole educated himself on every aspect of the cuisine. Even surprising himself with his skill and dexterity with the knife, he quickly worked his way from dishwasher to head sushi chef. Cole then moved to Austin's top sushi restaurant at the time, Musashino, where he completed an intensive traditional apprenticeship under owner Takehiko Fuse. The two spent time in Japan, where Cole experienced the food and culture while gaining technical skill.
Fuse challenged him to learn the Japanese language, which helped Cole learn more about the cuisine. Staging at restaurants like Bond Street gave him insight into running an intensely busy restaurant with razor sharp execution. He spent a final year at Musashino, experimenting with new ideas about flavors, influences and ingredients, often running the restaurant in Fuse's absence.
In May of 2003, Uchi opened with Cole as Executive Chef and co-owner. Cole's seamless blending of global ingredients with traditional Japanese flavors to create his celebrated “perfect bite” gained him local, regional and national attention and Uchi soon became one of the top fine dining destinations in Austin. The accolades continued when he was awarded a coveted spot on Food and Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs of 2005 list. In May 2011, Cole received a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest. Cole celebrated a James Beard Foundation Semi-Finalist nod for Outstanding Chef in 2016.
"Ingredients and flavors from all over the world are easily accessible now," Cole says. "The food we create is playfully multi-cultural, combining Japanese traditions with unexpected ."
Cole opened his second restaurant in Austin, Uchiko, in July 2010 and celebrated the release of Uchi the Cookbook in March 2011. In 2012, he opened an Uchi in Houston, Uchi Dallas in June 2015, and a new concept, Top Knot, in Dallas in February 2016. In 2015 what was formerly known as Uchi Restaurant Group changed its name to Hai Hospitality, a sign of the evolution of the brand and the path ahead. Chef Cole will open a new concept, Loro, in Austin in fall 2017.
While awards and accolades have accumulated through the years, he relishes in deflecting praise in the direction of his talented team, some of whom have been with Uchi since the beginning. “There is no Uchi, no Hai Hospitality in fact, without this team. Their talent and ideas have made this collaboration that is Hai Hospitality so successful,” offers Cole. As Hai Hospitality grows, he relishes in the talented team that has made it all possible and remains grateful that his detour into Kyoto to wash dishes led him down this extraordinary path. One which inevitably leads to the perfect bite.
DIRECTOR OF CULINARY OPERATIONS
Chef Tripi’s culinary beginnings started in the gardens of his grandmothers in Upstate New York, each with a strong sense of their heritage, Polish and Italian. At the young age of 10, he was an integral part of bringing the food from the garden to the table or pantry as he harvested sweet peas, heirloom tomatoes, beets, carrots, cucumbers, concord grapes, plums from the plants and trees in their garden. He would have apple-peeling contests with his grandmother when she made Polish crepes, he would cut the vegetables for soups, stews, prepped fruits for canning, but little did he know how this would influence his career choices later. The principles of using high quality, fresh, local and seasonal foods when preparing meals would always stay close to his heart as he moved throughout the country to grow and fulfill his culinary dreams.
At 16, he began working at Samuels Grande Manor, in Williamsville, New York, while still in high school,where he started as a dishwasher and busboy, after a short time he was promoted to a prep cook. He was given the jobs that others found mundane and these would ultimately help hone skills necessary for his life in the kitchen, such as shucking the oysters, clams, butchering meats, cleaning and prepping fruits and cutting vegetables.
At 17, he moved to Nacogdoches, Texas and began working at Crown Colony Country Club as well as a family restaurant alongside his chef father, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Working along side his father, Jim received some of the best advice ever, working with an “old school” chef and father who instilled the insights and realities ofbeing a chef, he established his strong work ethic and basic culinary skills.
Soon after, he was hired by Marriott hotels where he began what would be a long, dedicated career. This new endeavourer would bring him to work in some of the company’s largest hotels in Dallas, Chicago, San Antonio, Austin, and resorts in New Jersey and Horseshoe Bay and on task force in New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans, Kansas City, Orlando and Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The spectrum of his training quickly ran the span of the Hotel Restaurant and Banquet Kitchens. He started his progressive career as a Line Cook, Kitchen supervisor, Senior Banquet Chef, Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director. His gradual rise to the top was recognized not only by his associates but by the company, he received many awards for his dedication and expertise in the culinary field, as Executive Chef, in 2001, and 2005, he was honored with the ACE (Award of Culinary Excellence) which recognized Chef Tripi as one of the top ten chefs in all of corporate Marriott International.
His 6th property, the historic Seaview Marriott Resort and Spa in Southern New Jersey, hosts the LPGA annual Shoprite Classic which first introduced him to Professional Golfing events and would later lure him back to Austin to open the Horseshoe Bay Golf Resort. Under Chef Tripi, the Hotel hosted several Texas Food and Wine Events showcasing the flavors of the Hill country. He built a team that would be recognized as one of the top for quality of food for special events within the Marriott network.
While in Austin, he had an opportunity to assist in the opening of the Flagship Whole Foods Market on Lamar Street as Team Leader of the Prepared Foods department, which ended his 15 year career with Marriott. Having the largest staff in the entire company, he was able to engage his culinary expertise in the retail arena using the finest organic products and a healthier style of living.
When approached in October of 2005 to work for the private residential community of Spanish Oaks Golf Club in Bee Cave, www.spanishoaksgolfclub.com, Chef Tripi could not pass up this opportunity. His versatility in creating seasonally sensitive, locally grown, elegant menus on small and large scales for a variety of outlets and events made Chef Tripi a perfect fit with this growing Private Membership Golf Club. He led a progressive team focused on delivering the highest quality ingredients to a very discerning membership while keeping comfort and farm to table close to the forefront of menus and presentations.
In September of 2009, Chef Tripi was offered an opportunity to be the regional chef of the Pacific Northwest for Discovery land Co. www.discoverylandco.com , the parent company of Spanish Oaks at the time. He joined Yellowstone Club, in Big Sky, Montana as the Executive Chef as well asthe Executive Chef of Gozzer Ranch in Coure d’ Alene, Idaho where he spent the summers. Chef Tripi was the regional Chef for Discovery land Co. where he again was recognized a leader at the property and continued the farm to table lifestyle for those who dined at the property, he regained the member’s trust by ensuring that wholesome innovative food, creative events and newly developed menus are here to stay under his watch. The Yellowstone Club, the only private ski club of its kind in the USA and a membership consisting of some of the country’s most elite families enjoyed Chef Tripi and his team’s farm to table regional cuisine. The Restaurants menus focused on Pacific Northwestern fare, and always offered vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dietary restrictions as a standard. During his time away from the Austin Hill Country, Chef Tripi maintained relationships with the team at Spanish Oaks, and was offered an opportunity to come back and head up the program under new ownership. He also began building a relationship with the Salt Lick, in 2011, and while Spanish Oaks reemerged as a premier private golf club under new management in April he began assisting the Salt Lick with high end events and there Texas Wine Country Catering. The club and food and beverage program continues to be a leader in the Austin market as members and guests of Spanish Oak enjoyed the “fruits of his labor.” Spanish Oaks is ranked among the top restaurants in Austin and Texas.
2017 has brought a new and bright page as Chef Tripi has a year under is belt as the Executive Chef and one of the managing partners of Eberly, at 615 south Lamar. The restaurant delivers contemporary American farmhouse cuisine in approx. 14500 sq ft of dining spaces, he and his team deliver brunch on weekends, dinner service nightly, and with a new rooftop catering venue opening this fall Chef Tripi will be busier than ever creating food that inspires the soul, while showcasing the best ingredients from foragers of the land and sea.
Many years in the “trenches”, vocational culinary training, and continuing education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and Greystone combine with his creative vision and discerning palette bring him to the forefront of culinary innovation and refinement. His sensitivity to guest/member tastes and needs are balanced with his unwavering professionalism in the kitchen. Although it seems so natural and effortless, delivering a unique culinary experience requires constant attention to quality, customer service and a dedicated team focused on the pursuit of food and beverage excellence.
Chef Tripi's true pride and joy come from his family: wife of 15 years, Maria, also a culinarian, and his three little boys Alec (12) Cole 11) Everett (6).
Is it any wonder that his kids love to cook, too?
Chef Casey has a long history working at some of Austin’s best restaurants. He realized food was more than a job for him while working at Commander’s Palace, in Las Vegas. He spent time at Fiamma in Las Vegas, Mirbeau Inn & Spa in upstate NY, Erling Jensen in Memphis. Since moving to Austin 10 years ago, he has worked as a Sous at Uchi, Executive Chef at Justine’s and Second Bar and Kitchen, and most recently helping Paul Qui open Kuneho. Casey relishes his relationships within the Austin food community, and keeps an eye to representing our city.