What Hub City Chefs Eat

Written By Maggi Gallaspy

November 09, 2023

#Culture #Eats #Nightlife #Restaurants

When you imagine the daily habits of chefs from upper-scale restaurants, you might think they cook and eat fancy, complex fare at all times.

In reality, many chefs eat rather simply, sampling what they’re cooking throughout the day and joining the staff for a communal meal in the late afternoon. In their off hours, it’s not unusual for them to cook no-fuss meals, like a simple pasta dish or a hearty meal of steak and potatoes, or for them to dine out on street tacos or a heaping plate of nachos at local Lubbock restaurants.

For most of us, attempting to create a somewhat elaborate meal, whether it be roasting an entire chicken, making pasta from scratch or trying our hand at an edible risotto, eases the monotony of our daily desk jobs. But for these local top chefs, cooking at home for their friends and family is a very different story. I sat down with three local chefs to pick their brains on what they enjoy cooking and eating, as well as where they draw their inspiration to craft mouthwatering dishes on the daily.

Jessica Fultz | Cocina de La Sirena

Behind the heartbeat of La Sirena, Executive Chef Jessica Fultz and her mom created a slow-food kitchen “that emerged from family dinners and a love of community that comes from creating beautiful home-cooked meals combined with the magic of tequila and a good bottle of wine.” This New Mexico-inspired Bistro is styled to its core, from the refined seasonal menu options to the intricate nods to mermaids and sea life placed throughout the restaurant. Read on to find out what this Lubbock chef has to say about her community’s culinary offerings:

What inspires you most about the culinary scene in the 806?

To see locally owned, chef driven restaurants become more prevalent here. We have always been a city with an abundance of chain restaurants. I love that some of these local spots have supported local farmers as well. Keeping it as local as possible is great for the overall community, not to mention making for more exciting and tasty menus.

What is your go-to dish to make for you and/or your family?

My favorite time cooking is with my family. It is always an event where everyone participates. We all love to cook and everyone has their own style. I wouldn’t say I have a go-to but what we grew up making as a family was stacked enchiladas. Green chiles, black beans, veggies, Monterey Jack cheese, fresh tomato pico, crisp lettuce all layered and topped with a fried egg. Someone would always make a guacamole and grilled jalapenos on the side for an extra kick. We would all have to help out with the “assembly line”. As my brother says “the family that cooks together, stays together”.

Where is one of your favorite places to grab a bite in Lubbock?

One of my favorite all time comfort go-to dishes that never disappoints is at Thai Thai. #34 Tom Kar Kai (Chicken Coconut Soup) spicy with extra veggies. I sub tofu for chicken. It will cure whatever ails you.

Antonio Pina | Claraboya Scratch Kitchen & Bar

Texas-born chef, Antonio (Tony) Pina, has been creating innovative cuisine in the Lubbock for the past several years. Now, with over three years as the Executive Chef at DoubleTree by Hilton, Chef Pina is helping to redefine the local dining culture. At Claraboya Scratch Kitchen and Bar, every bite is a farm-to-table experience. But what inspires him about the city he chooses to serve?

What inspires you most about the culinary scene in the 806?

The passionate foodies we have in Lubbock are beyond inspiring. I appreciate that our foodies know what they want and demand it.

Another thing that inspires me about Lubbock when creating recipes is that we have different seasons. I am all about creating food with what we have here in our own backyard and the local businesses that carry that passion into their product that you can find at our local markets like the Wolfforth’s Farmers Market and Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market.

What is your go-to dish to make for your family?

My favorite dish to make for myself and family is really simple: a good ol’ steak and potatoes. 

The steak has to be grilled over a hot flame of West Texas pecan wood, of course. 

Where is one of your favorite places to grab a bite in Lubbock?

Definitely Taqueria Autlan. I really enjoy their street tacos and variety of salsas they offer to top them off with. I really am a simple eater – just give me tacos!

Cameron West | The West Table, Dirk’s, Neighborhood F&B

While the West family is not new to Lubbock’s culinary scene, with each new menu item offered and unique eatery opened, they are keeping it fresh. Chef Cameron West is the mastermind behind several local favorites, including Dirk’s, The West Table, and, most recently, Neighborhood F&B. While the vibe and experience at each establishment is vastly different, somehow the feel is the same. Stellar food, sip-worthy cocktail menus and a feeling of community at every table. His outlook on Lubbock’s culinary scene:

What do you enjoy most about Lubbock’s culinary scene?

I enjoy the diversity of the cuisine for a town our size. There’s something for any mood and occasion.

What do you believe is Lubbock’s biggest hidden food gem?

Some of my favorite restaurants are ones off the beaten path. For Mexican food, I turn to El Ranchito Burrito for their Green Chile Pork Burrito with Rice or Jimenez Tortilleria y Taqueria for their fresh tortillas and Carne Guisada, Picadillo, Barbacoa, and Asado. For Asian food, I enjoy JinLi Szechuan/Cantonese Restaurant and Seoul for their Spicy Pork.

What is your go-to dish to make for you and/or your family?

My kids love our version of Cacio e Pepe – Lemon Butter Noodles with freshly grated parmesan.

Where is one of your favorite places to grab a bite in Lubbock?

It depends on the occasion. When I’m in a barbecue mood, my favorites are Evie Mae’s and Tom & Bingo’s. For a date night, I always enjoy Cocina La Sirena and Claraboya Scratch Kitchen & Bar. Arrandas Taqueria and Taqueria Autlan are great for any occasion.

These seasoned chefs continue to create innovative cuisine using the freshest—and often locally sourced—ingredients, all while redefining what it means to cook and eat like a Texan in the Lubbock. Be sure to check out these top chefs’ delectable dishes – we promise you won’t be disappointed! And as always, share your foodie experiences with us using #VisitLubbock!


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