Joe Apa, Rudyard's
Born and raised in Houston, Joseph credits his mother, grandmother and father for his interest in cooking. Family life was centered in the kitchen rather than around the television. His mother cooked regional specialties and Southern Italian food for the family weekly and for the extended family at his grandparents' farm near Palestine, TX.
Starting at eighteen, Joseph has worked in the restaurant industry holding every job from busboy to line cook. He worked his way through college graduating with a B.S. from then Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. His work in the Hill Country and Austin was an education in itself, cooking many cuisines and learning new recipes and techniques. From Mediterranean-Indian California fusion cuisine of Mars Restaurant to Southwestern inspired Nuevo Tex-Mex style at Jeffrey's, in addition to Max's Catering, Shoreline Grill and a stint as a private chef, Austin was wonderful but Houston beckoned.
Returning to his hometown in 2000, he became Executive Chef for Jim Manning Catered Affairs, designing menus and recipes and catering parties all across the city, state and at the Food and Wine Festival in Aspen, CO. His next challenge was an instructor position at the Art Institute of Houston. While this fulfilled a need, he wanted to be back in the kitchen. After forming a professional interest with Monica Pope in the slow-food, local cuisine movement, t'afia opened for business. Monica called on Joe to fulfill a multi-faceted position of catering chef, farm-forager, and to assist with the Midtown Farmer's Market.
He now cooks at Rudyard's Pub in Montrose. Utilizing fresh ingredients that are locally produced, he elevates burgers, tacos, and pizzas to culinary heights. He produces a five course dinner paired with craft beers every month that keeps local foodies and beer connoisseurs coming back for more, in addition to nightly and monthly specials.