Gov’t agency using Texas food to lure in UK travelers

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HOUSTON, TX-- There's a plot being hatched to bring foreigners to Houston. No, not from Mexico, Mr. Trump. Foreign travelers, specifically from the United Kingdom.

U.S. government group Brand USA creates campaigns through video and social media that highlight different features of the U.S., hoping to encourage more overseas travelers to come west on holiday.

Underbelly owner Chris Shepherd and Jody Shorts discuss food in Houston.

Underbelly owner Chris Shepherd and Jody Shorts discuss food in Houston.

Brit Jody Short acts as producer and host for many of the segments targeted at the English crowd, "The results have been phenomenal in bringing tourist dollars from the UK and from other countries... into this country."

This week's project is the Texas food scene. It will include trips to Austin and San Antonio, but first, Monday saw a stop at Underbelly in Montrose for a chat with that restaurant's award-winning chef and owner Chris Shepherd.

"I'll always talk about this city. That's not a problem for me because I absolutely love it," says Shepherd, "It's not a fake thing. It's a truly genuine thing."

Underbelly DishOver lunch, the chef shows Short a few of the dishes available at Underbelly, as well as talking about other great food spots around town. He is famous for telling customers, 'If you like this dish, you should try this other restaurant across town.'

He explains, "The restaurants that are in this city (are) all one big family. And we all push together to try and make it better every day."

Underbelly is the only restaurant out of Houston's 11,000-plus to represent our food here in Brand USA's campaign. And they couldn't have picked a better spokesperson. Shepherd actually hangs photos of chefs and food from other restaurants he recommends right in his establishment's entryway. "I want everybody's restaurants to be full every night," he says. "It's just everybody trying to do good things to promote our city. "

Better together-- what a concept! So when you dine out, if you hear more and more people saying how "gobsmacked" they are by the "jolly good" food, you'll know who you have to thank.