CultureMap columnist and Congress' chef de cuisine, Rebecca Meeker, has been tapped by leading restaurateur Larry McGuire for a custom-made position that will focus on "new concepts" and charity outreach.
In late March, the New York Times profiled McGuire's enterprise, McGuire Moorman Hospitality, revealing it's now a $25 million company with 400 employees and includes top Austin destinations Perla's Seafood & Oyster Bar, Clark's Oyster Bar, Fresa's Chicken al Carbon, Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, Josephine House and the soon-to-reopen Jeffrey's — all of which make their mark by blending smart design with consummate culinary experiences.
"If there is a stopping point for a chef after reaching a certain level, I'm not there yet. I love being a chef in Austin and look forward to growing with the city." - Rebecca Meeker
A skilled fine-dining chef who has studied and worked around the world under the likes of Joel Robuchon, Meeker's position will have her overseeing menus and culinary concepts at all of McGuire's businesses.
She tells CultureMap that it was "a very hard decision" to leave her role at Congress. "I loved my job at Congress. It was a pleasure working with Chef David Bull, Scott Walker and the Congress Austin Team — [The team is] very small and very close."
Par for the course for a big fish in a small pond, opportunity came knocking on Meeker's door — and Meeker couldn't decline.
"I'm most excited about being a part of the restaurant group that Larry, Tom and team have created — it's a group with endless ideas and possibilities," she says. "[I'm] also excited about being part of the reopening of Jeffrey's. I'm an Austinite and Jeffrey's has always been an Austin destination."
Meeker's appointment furthers the case that talent doesn't have to leave Austin in order to grow his or her career, and that the city's culinary scene is one that's simply beginning to build what will make a lasting national impression.
"I think Austin is a great place to be a chef right now. I have to give credit to the Austin community for the growth of the culinary scene. People are dining out during the week, not just on the weekend," Meeker explains.
"If there is a stopping point for a chef after reaching a certain level, I'm not there yet. I love being a chef in Austin and look forward to growing with the city."
See Rebecca Meeker's "Light & fresh lunches" column on CultureMap.