Celebrated pastry chef Johnny Wesley, formerly of Killen's Steakhouse and most recently at Mr. Peeples, has joined newly appointed executive chef David Coffman and sous chef Ryan Louviere at Cullen's, located at 11500 Space Center Blvd.
The restaurant kitchen, which had been run by noted chef Paul Lewis before he departed for Osteria Mazzantini (now a part of the team working to open Union Kitchen in the former Haven space) is a "dream kitchen for any chef," according to GM Ryan Roberts. The chef's pedigree includes stints at Katsuya, Benjy's, 17 Restaurant, The Tasting Room and Goro & Gun feels that he's found his rightful home at Cullen's. "Everybody says they're chef-driven but often times that really means owner-driven, and that can make it tough for a chef to really do their thing." According to both Roberts and Coffman, the chef has now been given freedom to fully express his culinary point of view, utilizing the hotel-style kitchen that includes "toys for days" and ingredients of choice, including the best from local farmers and purveyors. "For the weekend, we've got venison coming in … truffles, chanterelles … just beautiful ingredients." Coffman says his style includes new-age/organic plating and cooking techniques, utilizing the negative space and taking "that extra moment" with each plate.
Of Wesley, Coffman says, "Johnny is so talented and has a huge following. I love how he takes old world desserts and re-creates them with modern techniques. We're a great team. We're bringing our city out here with our own style and we can't wait for everyone to experience what we're doing." Both Coffman and Wesley have features on the menu now and are tweaking menus overall.
· All Cullen's Coverage [EHOU]