Houston’s newest restaurant’s obsession with local produce

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HOUSTON, TX – Believe it or not folks, once upon a time it was customary for restaurants to buy their meats from local farmers and butcher them themselves.  In fact, if a particular animal wasn’t available locally, it didn’t go on the menu.

But nobody does things the old fashioned way anymore. Unless, of course, you’re Chris Shepherd.

Welcome to Underbelly.

“We don’t use a produce company, per se, we don’t use a traditional meat vendor; we deal with what our farmers bring us on a daily basis.”

For the crew at Underbelly, the idea is sustainability, keeping it local, and respect for the animals that nourish us. Which is why Chef Chris insists on processing all his food himself, from butchering to curing and even canning the vegetables local farmers bring in.

But that’s not all. Chew on This: even Chef Chris’s style in the kitchen is Houston true.

“Instead of going out and going around the country and learning from other places, I learned from places in this city – textures and flavors and cultures. So people think, ‘where’d you get this from?’ and it’s like, ‘down on Longpoint.'”

While the foodies of the world might insist that the best crops come shipped from California, or the best seafood packaged from Alaska, Underbelly shines its culinary light on what the rest of us have known all along.

“We have the ocean that’s so close to us, the gulf, that just supplies us with amazing fish,” Chef Chris explains, “then you’ve got these extended growing seasons where we just have amazing produce year round, then you’ve also got all the beautiful land around here that gives us the ability to get all the varieties of the pigs you want, I mean, we have everything that you need in this area and it’s just exploring it and using it.”

Truer words have never been spoken.