The passion and pride Executive Chef Neal Cox exhibits in
his professional career makes him a formidable presence within one of the top
culinary destinations in the country. A lifelong Houstonian, Chef Cox
draws inspiration from the cultural influences of the city to create dishes
that make him one of Houston’s most talented culinary leaders, and he is an instrumental
part of The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa.
Chef Cox made the decision to pursue a career in culinary –
blending his budding interest and growing knowledge of the industry and
enrolled in the Art Institute of Houston in 1998. He has seen much success since
then and has worked in many of Houston’s premier establishments including
Churrasco’s, Americas and Trevisio. He has held positions as Chef at Zula,
later transitioning to become Chef at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, where under his
leadership earned the title of "No. 1 Steakhouse in Texas” by Texas Monthly
A native Texan, Chef Cox is an active member of the
community, and volunteers with organizations like Recipe for Success to help educate
and encourage children to prevent childhood obesity and promote long-term
Chef Rodriguez began her carreer at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Glion, Switzerland, where she studied the Cordon Bleu method of cooking. Upon her return from Switzerland, she worked in catering for Peggy Dark at the The Kitchen for Exploring Foods in Pasadena, California. Her passion for food continued when she enrolled at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. During her student externship and employment at Bradley Ogden's Lark Creek Inn, she developed her skills in plated desserts and pastries. Her career and education continued at Farallon, where she was part of the original pastry staff with Executive Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti. Catherine then went to work with Joy Jessup as Assistant Pastry Chef at Kokkari Restaurant on Jackson Square.
In 2000, Catherine attended a course in chocolate techniques and plated desserts taught by Yann Duytsche at L'Ecole de Grand Chocolat at the Valrhona Chocolate Factory in France. She then moved to Bay Village Bakery in Mill Valley where she worked for Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson. At Bay Village Bakery she developed her skills in preparing a variety of tarts, cakes, laminated dough and other fine pastries, and later became Pastry Chef at Tartine Bakery. She served in that capacity until she moved to Houston in 2004 and accepted a position as Pastry Chef at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse.
In 2006, Catherine joined The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. In her role as Pastry Chef, she and her staff provide the pastries, confections and breads for Olivette, The Manor House and The Houstonian banquet and spa facilities. Each December, Catherine and her staff design and create the Gingerbread Village that decorates the fireplace in the hotel's lobby. In 2008, My Table magazine presented her with an award as Pastry Chef of the Year. in 2010, she was chosen as one of 12 pastry chefs in the United States to attend the Valrhona Chocolate School in France for one week to study the latest chocolate techniques under Philippe Givre and Derek Poirier.
Catherine continues taking professional courses to improve and expand her mastery of pastries. Recently, she completed an advanced course in chocolate centerpiece designs taught by Stephane Leroux - M.O.F. at the French Pastry School in Chicago. She also completed a professional course on Italian pastry and gelato taught by Leonardo Di Carlo - 2004 World Champion at the French Pastry School in Chicago. Among other activities, Catherine has helped many organizations raise money for special causes including the Houston Food Bank, March of Dimes, AVDA, and the SPCA. In January 2013, Catherine was invited to attend the Coupe du Monde Pastry Competition in Lyon, France, as a guest of the Valrhona Chocolate Company.