Felix Florez doesn't work as a chef anymore. He's the owner of Black hill Ranch and a partner in the newly opened restaurant Ritual in the heights. And since the title of this whole project has the word 'Chef' in it, you might be wondering what exactly Felix is doing on here. Let me explain.
This project of mine has introduced me to people I would otherwise have never met. I meat one chef, get introduced to another, then meet fans and vendors at events, then the cycle starts all over again. Felix was one of those people I met along the way. I'd seen him around different events and even introduced to each other, but we ended up at the same table at Tessa and Danny Trace's wedding reception over at Brennan's a couple years back. While Felix and I were talking so were our wives. Turns out Felix's wife was a sales rep for a product her family had been a distributor for years. So ever since our formal introduction I've talked to Felix, have gone to events where he was hosting or attending, and even enjoy lunch at Ritual with friends from time to time. Felix has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years, is an expert in wine, and knows a thing or two about running a restaurant.
The more chefs I work with in Houston the more apparent it became these chefs are where they are because of their love for what they do and products they use day in and day out. And Felix's pork is slowly becoming the staple in the Houston market as the go to place. So I decided between chef shoots I'd highlight some of the great local vendors in town... starting with him.
While sitting with Felix at Ritual during construction I asked him what he likes doing on his time off and away from the pig farm. Our conversation quickly went to hunting. He told me where he likes going and who he likes to take there with him. So we decided after the restaurant was built and the weather had cooled a bit I'd accompany him on a hunt with his son. So on a cool and cloudy day in the fall we met at his shop, jumped in his truck, and headed out to Gonzales for some hog hunting at Independence Ranch. His friend Jeremy Hart, who is sales rep for a wine distributor, and his son also joined us for the day.
We spent most of the day waiting for hogs to come by and as soon as we decided to take a break for lunch it happened. A few of the hunters around other locations were leaving, so Felix got a text telling us to stay put since the hogs were pushing in our direction. As we walked back to our spot from the truck we spotted 3 or 4 decent sized hogs. Jeremy went first and got one of the hogs. Felix's son went next and got the second hog. In the midst of all this Felix spotted a hog going in another direction and went after it... and got it. So after waiting all morning we had 3 hogs in a matter of 5 minutes and decided our day was done. After dragging the hogs back to the truck, waiting for the ranch crew to come retrieve the hogs for cleaning, we headed out to lunch. After lunch we headed back, picked up the hogs, then started heading back to Houston at a decent hour. This was a whole new experience for me. I'll be the first to admit I've never gone hunting... but after this shoot with Felix, I told him next time he's out hog hunting I want to go. I don't know when that'll be, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.
With Felix's shoot I wanted to highlight a local vendor who has been in the industry working with chefs for years. Their product matters. They matter. Vendors like Felix and his products are what make the local farm to table movement a big deal. I want to showcase this alongside the chefs around town to show their lives outside of the industry, what they like doing, and how they spend their time. I don't want to take away from the chefs, so I'll only be doing select spots for vendors throughout the year. So if you're a local vendor and would like a feature like Felix, drop me a line on here, my facebook page, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat.