Chef Chris Shepherd’s “Eat Like a Local” TV Show Debuts
Chef Chris Shepherd is no stranger to being in front of the camera (he even has an IMDB page), having been featured on such shows as Top Chef, Ugly Delicious and the Zimmern List . In his latest venture, though, Shepherd takes center stage as host of his own show, “Eat Like a Local” which debuted on KPRC 2 September 16.
Although he was raised in the Midwest, Shepherd is a Houstonian through and through, having built a successful culinary career during his days at Brennan’s, Catalan and Underbelly Hospitality. He was awarded a James Beard Award for his work at Underbelly restaurant in 2014, where he told the “story of Houston food”. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for the local Houston food scene. His cookbook, Cook Like a Local, wasn’t just pages filled with recipes, but was an ode to the ingredients and techniques used by the myriad of cultures and communities in and around Houston.
On Eat Like a Local, Shepherd takes the opportunity to go even further in showcasing what makes the Houston food scene so dynamic, taking viewers from hot new spots to classic neighborhood joints that have been a part of the Houston landscape for generations.
In the first episode, it’s all about burgers. Shepherd starts the episode with a visit to Burger Bodega to chat with owner Abbas Dhanani about his New York-meets-H-Town smash burgers and chopped cheese sandwiches. Next up is Houston classic Champ Burger, an East End gem that has been around for over forty years. There, he dives into a nostalgic classic burger and the famous “Texas-Size Steak Sandwich”. Shepherd visits Champ Burger with fellow chef Ryan Lachaine, who rounds out the show by giving us a peek at how he puts together Riel’s butter burger. (Hint: there’s a lot of butter involved.)
The 22 minute run time went by quickly, leaving me wanting more. Shepherd is an engaging host and his conversations with the guests are free-flowing and insightful, likely due to these being people Shepherd knows personally and respects. For those who devour food shows like I do, the camera work does not disappoint, tempting viewers with zoom-ins of the glistening burgers and action shots of the perfect bite. It is also always a pleasure to see our fair city featured in a positive light. She is certainly a beauty on camera.
Based on previews, we can expect to see local favorites like Cali Sandwich, Candente, Gatlin’s BBQ and Fung’s Kitchen on future weekly episodes. The show will air at 10am, right after KPRC 2 News Saturday, and stream on KPRC 2+ and click2houston.com.
As we wait patiently to see if a return to the kitchen is in his future, Shepherd is staying more-than-busy with projects such as Table to Stage, a series of conversations with celebrity chefs, and his foundation Southern Smoke, which has distributed more than $10.9 million directly to people in the food and beverage industry in need. One of the biggest culinary events in the city, the Southern Smoke Festival returns for its seventh year in October. Now with his turn on television, Shepherd is ready for his close-up.
Minh Truong is an avid lover of the Houston food scene and has written about it since 2011, starting as a freelance contributor for the Houston Press. She never stopped exploring all that Houston has to offer, and after a seven-year hiatus returned to writing about it, this time with Houston Food Finder.