As part of our mission, Decatur Bar & Pop-Up Factory has created a rotating chef-in-residency program.
We know that opening a restaurant is hard, so our goal is to provide talented, up-and-coming chefs the opportunity to run their own kitchen prior to making the plunge into brick-and-mortar.
Through 2019, Decatur Chef-in-Residence Evelyn Garcia curates an extensive menu of items available Tuesday through Sunday, no reservation necessary.
Chef Evelyn Garcia honed her skills at such celebrated establishments as Spice Market, Masak, Bo.lan, Nahm and Kin Shop. While at Kin Shop, Garcia was able to participate on Food Network’s Chopped where she was announced Chopped Champion in the episode "All Burger Meal.”
After traveling the world, Chef Evelyn has returned to her native Houston to live out her passion for Southeast Asian and Latin cuisine and follow her goals of opening her own restaurant. As our first resident chef at Decatur Bar & Pop-Up Factory, Chef Evelyn is helping to pave the way for those chefs that will follow in her footsteps.
From Chef Evelyn:
“My passion for the kitchen grew during high school with my parent’s restaurant. I would help them with opening and closing duties during my school days. Soon enough my summers were spent in the kitchen helping them. I remember being so excited and taking everything in. It truly became a career idea when it was time for college selections. Once I started to look into culinary schools, I knew that The Culinary Institute of America was the only one for me. I thought it would not only expose me to the most intense structure with passionate and knowledgeable professors, but it would put me on the map with all the culinary opportunities in New York City.
My family has always supported my dreams, but they were completely stunned when I mentioned that I was inspired to have my food focus on Southeast Asian cuisine. After graduating The Culinary Institute of America, I lived in New York City in order to hone my skills in cutthroat kitchens. My first stage and ultimately first job was at Jean Georges esteemed ‘Spice Market’. I was fully immersed in everything ‘Spice Market’ had to offer while working under Chef Anthony Ricco. Leaving ‘Spice Market’ was tough but necessary for my career to blossom. I travelled to India for some time, and when I arrived I landed at ‘Masak’. With the guidance of my mentor at ‘Masak’, Chef Larry Reutens, my eyes and palate were open to Singaporean cuisine.
With the support and encouragement of my family and my mentor after a year, I continued my travels through Southeast Asia. I traveled to Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and Thailand. At this point my appetite to share my interpretation of food had intensified, I knew that it was time for my first Sous Chef position. I became Sous Chef at Harold Dieterle’s modern Thai restaurant ‘Kin Shop’ in New York City. During my time at Kin Shop, I was selected to participate on Food Network's Chopped where I was announced Chopped Champion in the episode “All Burger Meal”. After leaving Kin Shop, I decided to stage for two months in Thailand at ‘Bo.lan’ and ‘Nahm’ where I was immersed in the culture.
I love Southeast Asian cuisine because of their ability to balance flavors, their use of fresh ingredients, and the way it brings people to the table family style. My food has evolved to a fusion of my heritage and my travels through Asia. After ten years in New York City, I knew I was ready to go home and settle my roots in Houston, Texas where I can showcase my passion and creativity of Southeast Asian cuisine Chef Evy style.”