Peska and Grazia Italian Kitchen Owner Hires New Executive Chef
As noted last month, when executive chef Steve Haug departed Grazia Italian Kitchen and Peska—which is rebranding to PesKarne—to join Killen’s Steakhouse, it left an opening to be filled. Owner Jade Hospitality announced today who will be taking the executive chef position: Chris Loftis, who interestingly is an alumnus of Killen’s Steakhouse twice over.
Loftis worked at Killen’s during two different timeframes, including when the restaurant moved to a newer, nicer facility in Pearland. More recently, Loftis helped open The Pearl restaurant at the Sam Houston Hotel in downtown Houston.
According to Jade Hospitality owner Adrian Hembree, the new chef’s first priority is to put a Gulf Coast touch on the menu as Peska continues transitioning into PesKarne. With past experience not only at The Pearl but also at seafood and steakhouse Number 13 in Galveston, it seems like something Loftis should be well-equipped to do.
In fairness, Loftis has been something of a rolling stone in recent years, having also worked a stint with James Beard award-winning chef Hugo Ortega. Now, though he will be responsible for all of the group’s restaurants, including Grazia Italian Kitchen in Pearland and Clear Lake as well as Gracia Mexican Cantina in Corpus Christi.
Via a press release, Hembree said, “I am very excited to work with Chris. I am more than confident that we share the same vision across the board for all of the Jade family restaurants, but I know without a doubt that he brings the best of both worlds to really take our new PesKarne concept to where it needs to be.”
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.