Chef Chris Shepherd is getting back in the kitchen. 

Image: Julie Soefer

 

The mastermind behind Houston’s beloved restaurant, Underbelly, is making a comeback in the kitchen with a new intimate dinner series. Chef Chris Shepherd has been feeling nostalgic and is ready to feed hungry guests with exclusive, multi-course meals.

Underbelly was Shepherd’s career’s defining moment, however, in 2018, he decided to retire his chef apron, closing the restaurant down to focus on a bigger picture一 Underbelly Hospitality, the restaurant group responsible for Georgia James, Underbelly Burger, UB Preserv, Blacksmith, The Hay Merchant, One/Fifth Houston, Southern Smoke, Georgia James Tavern and Wild Oats

Though his roots are in the kitchen, Shepherd's job now is to supervise his executive chefs as they run their kitchen's day-to-day operations and carry the Underbelly philosophy of quality sourcing. “My job now is to teach,” Shepherd said in a statement.

“I want each of my chefs to have better opportunities and greater success than I’ve had, and I’m here to help them achieve that. Whether that’s helping Nick Wong determine his vision for the future of UB Preserv or to provide an opportunity for Greg Peters to make cast iron-seared magic in a brand new kitchen built to his specs, I’m all in. But I also miss cooking every day, and I’m excited to feed guests again.”

The first dinner in Shepherd’s series will be open to only 10 people on November 1. Those who are interested in attending can enter a lottery by donating $20 to Southern Smoke, Shepherd's non-profit organization that provides relief to people in the food and beverage industry.

On October 29, five names from the lottery will be chosen at random. According to a release, winners of the lottery and their guests will be seated at a community table, "old-school Underbelly style," with a view of Shepherd as he prepares the meals from start to finish for the night. The dinner series won't include an advance menu, but will be a multi-course meal.

Guests invited to the dinner are encouraged to come hungry. 

The dinner will take place at Georgia James, 1100 Westheimer, beverages and gratuity are additional. For more information, visit Underbelly Hospitality.