In Part 1 of our chat with Kevin Naderi, he related a fond memory of the special Persian dinners he made at Roost alongside his mom and grandmother. Does cooking run in the family? In Part 2, we find out and along the way delve into some deeper issues that affect many of Houston's independent restaurants. Naderi voices some strong opinions on the support independent restaurants need from Houston's dining public if the scene is to continue to evolve.
|Photo by Phaedra Cook|
|Chef Kevin Naderi on the sunny patio of Lillo & Ella|
Additionally, we talk about the ambitious cocktail program that some veteran Houston bartenders created for Lillo & Ella, the food at both of Naderi's restaurants and how the dark, fun and funky former home of El Big Bad became the light, colorful and airy Lillo & Ella.
EOW: Did anyone in your family ever cook professionally?
KN: No, not at all, but when my dad came from Iran originally about 40 years ago, he worked at Rotisserie For Beef & Bird back in the day. My uncle Barry, who's a partner with me on [Lillo & Ella], used to work at countless restaurants and he's a walking encyclopedia. He knows where everybody came from, who the manager was, who the chef was, signature dishes from back in the day--it blows my mind. Customers will come in and say, "Oh, down the street there used to be this restaurant that I remember and he'll jump in and be like, "Oh, I know exactly who owned it."
It's important to remember history. Houston, as fast as we're growing, we're really like letting go of a lot of history. We're not keeping a lot of historical buildings and all these restaurants, as good as they are or were back then--they're just shutting down. It's really sad to see. More »