Paggi House has a new executive chef: Ben Huselton, formerly of Sullivan's and Kenichi. Huselton, who went to the French Culinary Institute in New York, is originally from Texas, but spent most of his childhood abroad in Saudi Arabia and Europe.
He plans on changing the Paggi House menu every three months to keep everything nice and seasonal, and will also be running the pastry program. Meanwhile, former Paggi House chef Shane Stark is off to Kenichi.
Paggi House - Executive Chef Ben "Chili" Huselton
A native Texan, Executive Chef Ben Huselton spent much of his childhood overseas having lived in Saudi Arabia and traveling extensively throughout Europe with his family. Exploring the progressive food cultures of Paris and London, he relished the rich flavors Switzerland, Germany and many other European countries had to offer, helping to influence his palate and later his innovative cooking style.
A move back to Texas found him working at a country club in Horseshoe Bay and it was there Huselton's curiosity for the restaurant business was first truly piqued. He often found himself peering into the kitchen to learn more about how the chefs prepared meals. He accepted a position at Sonny's Lakeside Bistro in Spicewood where his hard work and early ambition led him to become kitchen manager, a job that required him to hire, train and evaluate kitchen employees, purchase food products and prepare meals.
Later as a sous chef at the popular Sullivan's Steakhouse, Huselton stepped up his cooking game working in a kitchen that averaged 400 covers in one night and earning him the nickname "Chile" for his cool and calm demeanor in the kitchen.
Huselton next helped open one of Austin's most acclaimed Asian cuisine and sushi restaurants – Kenichi, where he worked as sous chef further adding additional influences to his already varied knowledge base of world cuisine.
Huselton received his grand diploma in pastry arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York, and spent several years at Del Frisco's Steakhouse before being recruited by restaurateur David Burke to be sous chef and executive sous chef at Burke's restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas and Connecticut. Huselton was recruited back to Del Frisco's in Philadelphia and then Aquaknox in Tampa, before finally moving back to Texas to be closer to family where he has ultimately accepted the position of Executive Chef at Paggi House.
Huselton will continue to keep the Paggi House menu fresh and very seasonal. Guests can expect menu changes every three months to reflect the seasons and the very produce available. He will also bring a clean and varied style of cooking to the restaurant's menu, drawing on his extensive travel and cooking experiences, all the while utilizing Paggi House's impressive on-site garden for every dish. As a progressive pastry chef, Huselton promises Paggi House's updated dessert menu will include some of the most unique and remarkably delicious offerings anywhere in Austin.
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Ben Huselton. [Photo: Emily Lim]