Say hello to chef Philip Speer and his daughter Lucia. Philip is a self taught chef and was one of the few original chefs from the award winning restaurant Uchi. He is also the first chef I’ve featured on this site from Austin. From day one my goal has been to expand the project to other cities… and what better city than the one I grew up in.
I originally met Philip in 2014 at the Lucky Dog Benefit Dinner in Houston which was put on by another chef I had on the blog, Rebecca Masson (check out the pics from my Facebook page here). Philip and I briefly spoke about the project that night but never really got a chance to talk more since we were both busy doing our thing. So I made a short list of chefs in Austin to contact when I was ready and put Philip on the top spot, but before I had the chance to contact him and set something up, Philip had some personal matters come up and I didn’t want to burden him until I knew he was ready. So I finally did reach out to do a shoot almost a year later. His answer? “I thought you’d never ask!“.
In the past year Philip has completely changed his life. He lost 95 pounds, resigned from his job at Uchi to concentrate more on taking care of himself and his family, doing more consulting work with local restaurants in and around the city, and he’s also working on a new restaurant concept which will be opening up soon in Austin.
So on a rainy Sunday morning right before Christmas I followed Philip and Lucia (his oldest daughter was out of town) on a routine run to Central Maket for our shoot. While there Lucia showed us her moves on the monkey bars, Philip picked up a few ingredients for breakfast, and I was asked to stop taking pictures of produce. During our time Lucia got interested in my camera and started asking if she could take pictures. Luckily I carry an extra body and lens in my bag as backup, so once we got back home, I strapped my little Fuji around Lucia’s wrist and let her go to town taking pictures of everything and anything in the house in between helping her dad cook.
So what did they make?
First was the Ultimate Benedict Smoked Salmon. It was made “Toad in the Hole” on Rueben Black Russian rye, with asparagus and hollandaise he made from scratch. For Lucia, they made Banana Pancakes with Nutella Gravy(!), hazelnuts, whipped cream, and a side of blueberry maple sausage.
Believe me when I say this… I will gladly pay whatever Philip wants to charge just to eat both of these again!