With founding Chef de Cuisine Paul Hargrove shuffling out at the W Hotel's TRACE back in April, the downtown fancy-pants restaurant has hired Uchiko's Ben Hightower to take over the position. Per a press release sent this afternoon:
“As chef de cuisine at Trace,” concluded Hightower, “I will get to work amongst this group of extraordinary talents, in the heart of Austin’s burgeoning 2nd Street district, right next door to ACL Live. What a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow as a chef and be inspired by everything around me.”Hightower starts "later this month" and will be developing a new menu for the restaurant. The full press release is posted after the jump.
W Austin Hotel Announces Ben Hightower as New Chef de Cuisine of Trace
Chef Hightower Brings Passion of Simple, Fresh Flavors to W Austin’s Signature Restaurant
Austin, TX – [May 14, 2012] — W Austin today announced the appointment of Ben Hightower as new Chef de Cuisine of Trace, the hotel’s signature restaurant. Chef Hightower will begin his post later this month implementing a new menu that will feature his creative, inspired dishes.
"We’re thrilled to welcome Chef Hightower to Trace at W Austin,” said Sean Bradshaw, W Austin Director of Beverage and Food. “Ben brings a fresh, new perspective to our culinary repertoire that celebrates responsibility and sustainability, and we look forward to infusing his immense passion into the menu and restaurant atmosphere.”
Hightower began his career in New York training at the Culinary Institute of America, moving to Café Centro/Beer Bar and then W New York – Times Square, where he worked as executive sous chef at Blue Fin. Most recently, Hightower served as executive sous chef at the much buzzed about Austin restaurant, Uchiko, working under acclaimed Owner/Chef Tyson Cole as well as recent Top Chef champ and Uchiko Executive Chef Paul Qui.
Chef Hightower, who now rejoins W Hotels, describes his culinary style as, “simple, delicious and well-balanced, with dishes informed by what’s freshest. Each dish should be greater than the sum of its parts, with each taste creating anticipation for the next.”
“As chef de cuisine at Trace,” concluded Hightower, “I will get to work amongst this group of extraordinary talents, in the heart of Austin’s burgeoning 2nd Street district, right next door to ACL Live. What a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow as a chef and be inspired by everything around me.”
W Austin General Manager Drew McQuade added, “Austin is a culinary destination, and as a part of that community, we are thrilled to have a talented chef of Ben’s caliber creating new and exciting menus for our guests at Trace.”