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Chef David Garrido

Chef David Garrido

“I prefer to cook with Texas wild-caught Gulf shrimp, because they’re sweet and plump, and my customers rave about their taste. One of our regular guests told me how it reminded him of his childhood at the beach vacationing with his family and how it brought back delicious memories! At Garrido’s Kitchen, we like to experiment with organic Texas ingredients, spices and wild-caught shrimp and always end up with fabulous flavors that complement the sweet and original flavor that the Texas Gulf brings.”

Many find his crispy oysters on yucca chips with habanero honey aioli downright addictive. Others wonder how in the world he imagined that black bean ravioli paired with duck and shrimp in a black truffle sherry cream sauce would taste so sublime. However, they’re too busy savoring the dish to ponder these for long. These are just two of the signature dishes that showcase the inventiveness and depth of David Garrido, executive chef of Austin’s celebrated Jeffrey’s Restaurant & Bar.

David has originated his own culinary style, a masterful blend of Southwest and Latin tastes with continental technique that pairs beautifully with wine. With a worldly palate and a penchant for adventure shaped by this international background, he mines diverse tastes and textures for surprising affinities. He is nationally lauded for accenting regional flavors and ingredients with a cosmopolitan flair.

The son of a Mexican diplomat, David was born in Canada, grew up in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, and was schooled in Switzerland. At age 19, his desire to become a chef first emerged when he experienced the high art of French cooking at the home of his Parisian girlfriend. He spent his early career in Texas working with two of the state’s most acclaimed chefs. His tenure with Stephan Pyles in Dallas began at Baby Routh’s and Routh Street Café. He then went on to help Pyles open Star Canyon. In San Antonio, he worked with Bruce Auden at both the Fairmont Hotel and restaurant BIGA.

David became Jeffrey’s executive chef in 1991, renewing raves for the restaurant and raising its already elevated position in the culinary firmament. In 1998, he teamed with longtime restaurateur Ron Weiss, of Jeffrey’s and Shoreline Grill, to develop and launch The Josephine House next door to Jeffrey’s. The vintage cottage serves as both a private dining room and a venue for promoting awareness of and education in food and wine through vintner dinners and cooking classes. Additionally, in 1999, he was involved in opening O’s Campus Café on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Located in the new ACES Building, O’s fuses the concepts of healthy and fast food. O’s Campus Café serves 3,000 students and faculty per day during school days.

David also opened Fresh Planet Café inside of Whole foods in 1997, as well as Cipollina bistro and café in 2000 with Ron and Peggy Weiss of Jeffrey’s.

David was most recently involved in opening Jeffrey’s at the Watergate in Washington D.C. Peggy and Ron Weiss and David were invited to cook the Jeffrey’s menu during the inaugural celebrations at the Watergate Hotel. David’s signature dish of “crispy oysters” was served to former President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Carter, and it remains a favorite of former President George Bush and Mrs. Bush. David and the Weiss’ continued their association with the Watergate Hotel, and Jeffrey’s at the Watergate opened in April 2001.

Together with food writer Robb Walsh, David is the author of Nuevo Tex-Mex, a cookbook published in 1998 by Chronicle Books.

“Of all the talented chefs who have ever worked for me and run my kitchen, no one has ever shown a greater depth of passion and knowledge than David,” said Chef Stephan Pyles in his foreword to Nuevo Tex-Mex. “An intuitive chef composes menus like symphonies, so that individual ingredients come together in harmonious blends and vibrant explosions of flavors. David is just such a chef.”

David’s cooking has won national accolades in print and at food events, and he has been invited on several occasions to cook at the esteemed James Beard House. He speaks across the country about Texas food and agriculture. He also donates time and talent to several community and food industry organizations.

In 2002, David received the International Award of Excellence from the International Restaurant and Hospitality Rating Bureau as a tribute to acknowledge his extraordinary culinary skills, and continuing dedication and contribution to the hospitality industry. He also was awarded Community Chef Minded award by the Junior League of Austin in 2000 for all his contributions to the community.

David’s other activities are being involved with different community agencies. He’s been on the board of Share Our Strength since 1990, where they do very high-end dinners and all the proceeds go to childhood hunger. He also started an event for communities in schools called “Food For Thought,” which now raise more than $70,000 a year to help children who have been abused finish high school. Another project has been helping on the board of the Sustainable Food Center.

David works for Chuy’s Comida Deluxe. The owners, Mike Young and John Zapp, will be the investors for the new concept Garrido’s. Young and Zapp started in the restaurant business in the 1970s with fine dining restaurants like Mike and Charlie's and Giani’s, and now they operate 10 Chuy’s restaurants, Hula Hut and Shady Grove.

In June 2009, Garrido’s Restaurant began serving modern Mexican cooking with Spanish influences and a healthy attitude. The philosophy of Garrido’s is all-natural cuisine serving the freshest and market available ingredients using Austin resources and around the globe.

Garrido’s has won accolades from The Wall Street Journal and Texas Monthly.

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