Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s Dynamic Duo at parkside and olive & june

Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s Dynamic Duo:
Longtime Parkside Chef Justin Rupp Named Chef de Cuisine at Olive & June:
Chef Jeffrey Rhodes Promoted to Chef de Cuisine at Parkside

Chef Shawn Cirkiel, one of Texas’ most revered chefs and restaurateurs, is continuing his celebrated culinary legacy by mentoring and passing the knife to the next generation of Austin talent. With the recent opening of Chef Cirkiel’s Southern Italian-style neighborhood eatery, Olive & June, Chef Justin Rupp — the five-year parkside kitchen veteran and chef de cuisine at Chef Cirkiel’s award-winning Sixth Street gastro pub — is now leading the Olive & June kitchen as chef de cuisine.
 As a longtime protégé of Chef Cirkiel’s, Chef Rupp spent years helping Chef Cirkiel hone parkside into the success it is today, assisted in opening Chef Cirkiel’s charming Neapolitan pizzeria, the backspace, and has been integral in developing the rustic and comforting Italian dishes Olive & June is quickly becoming renowned for. In fact, Chef Rupp accompanied Chef Cirkiel to New York City to conduct culinary research before the opening of Olive & June — an excursion that found the two chefs immersed in authentic Italian cuisine and culture, and provided plenty of inspiration for their creation of the Olive & June menu. As chef de cuisine at Olive & June, Chef Rupp manages the kitchen, develops recipes and personally handpicks ingredients, among a variety of other endless chef duties. As part of his dedication to keeping the restaurant’s offerings fresh, seasonal and unique, Chef Rupp creates a new menu each week for Olive & June’s wildly successful Sunday night family dinners, incorporating traditional Italian-style fish dishes, fresh and robust vegetables, house-made pastas paired with locally raised proteins, and rich yet delicate dessert courses that dance on the palate.
“Justin is unbelievable at what he does,” Chef Cirkiel says. “He’s been with me from the beginning, and he’s an incredibly important part of everything we do. We’re a team in how we think about the restaurants. If I’m not around, Justin is me. Even when I am around, Justin is me. We’re that connected in our vision.”

With Chef Rupp’s move to Olive & June, Chef Cirkiel has promoted a newer member of his restaurant family to chef de cuisine at parkside. Chef Jeffrey Rhodes, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland, Ore., who has been learning the ins and outs of the parkside kitchen from Chef Cirkiel for several months, was recently promoted to chef de cuisine at parkside. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Chef Rhodes has worked in restaurant kitchens for more than half his life, gaining experience at a variety of genre-inspired and Michelin-rated restaurants throughout the country before settling in Austin. Chef Rhodes joined the parkside team in early 2012, continuing to hone his culinary skills while staging for the restaurant before joining the staff as a formidable kitchen force. He has a penchant for cooking with local, seasonal ingredients, and a flair for creating contemporary, Southern American-style dishes. In his new position, Chef Rhodes provides much input on menu items and the overall management of the parkside kitchen. Working alongside Chef Cirkiel, Chef Rhodes collaborates on new dishes and helps fine-tune each recipe to parkside’s exacting standards. Currently, Chef Rhodes is smitten by parkside’s Eden Farm Pork Chop, served with seasonal vegetables, but he’s also looking forward to creating recipes with regionally raised proteins like Texas quail, as well as peaches, corn, beets, fennel, tomatoes and other summer produce that will augment parkside’s seasonally updated menu.
“Jeffery is still learning our processes and how we do everything. He’s learning quickly and really growing into who and what we are in the restaurant world,” Chef Cirkiel says. “Both of these chefs are incredibly calm and level-headed. And because of that, we are able to operate really cool and collected kitchens. Because Justin has been with me so long, he is an extension of me, and Jeffrey will progress and become that too. It’s a really exciting time at both parkside and Olive & June.”

Olive & June is located at 3411 Glenview Ave. in Central Austin, and serves handmade Southern Italian-style cuisine. For more information about Olive & June and Chef de Cuisine Justin Rupp, please call (512) 467-9898, or visit www.OliveandJune-Austin.com. parkside is located in downtown Austin at 301 E. Sixth St., and is renowned for its upscale and satisfying American cuisine. For more information about parkside and Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Rhodes, please call (512) 474-9898, or visit www.parkside-austin.com.

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