Chef Stephan Pyles, a 5th generation Texan and founding father of Southwestern Cuisine, is a celebrated chef, cookbook author, philanthropist, and educator. He has created 22 restaurants in 5 cities over the past 30 years, including Routh Street Café, Baby Routh, Star Canyon, Stephan Pyles, Stampede 66 and Flora Street Café.
Pyles was first introduced to the restaurant industry at any early age, bussing tables and chopping vegetables at his family’s Truck Stop Café in Big Spring, Texas. After studying music at Texas A & M University – Commerce, his music career was sidetracked by a life-changing trip to France where he experienced haute cuisine for the first time. A few years later, his big break came when he was invited to The Great Chefs of France Cooking School at the Mondavi Winery where he served as Chef’s Assistant and worked with Michelin 3-star chefs of the day such as Michel Guerard, Jean and Pierre Troigros, Alain Chapel, Paul Bocuse and Gaston LeNotre. There he met and worked closely with Julia Child and continued a warm friendship with her until her death a few years ago.
Bon Appetit magazine has credited Pyles with “almost single-handedly changing the cooking scene in Texas” while The New York Times called him “an absolute genius in the kitchen.” Chef Pyles was named Esquire magazine’s Chef of the Year for 2006, and Texas Monthly has named him one of the 20 most influential Texans of the year. He has authored four highly successful cookbooks and hosted two seasons of the Emmy-award winning PBS series New Tastes from Texas.
The undisputed founding father of Modern Texas Cuisine, he was the first person in the Southwest to win a James Beard Award for Best Chef and was the first Texan inducted into Who’s Who of Food and Wine in America. He has cooked for dignitaries and celebrities world-wide including 6 American presidents and 7 First Ladies. He was named the 2014 “Outstanding Chef of the Year” by The Dallas Morning News.
Chef Pyles has been a cuisine consultant to American Airlines for 22 years and has consulted for the Dallas Museum of Art and a host of hotels including Hotel Zaza, The Gaylord Texan and Omni. He currently oversees the menu of Sustenio, a restaurant serving Modern Southwestern Cuisine inside Hotel Eilan in San Antonio. Pyles has licensed his name and oversees the food at 3 airport operations in Dallas. Sky Canyon by Stephan Pyles is at both Love Field and DFW-terminal D and Stampede 66 Express by Stephan Pyles is at DFW-terminal D.
A tireless philanthropist, Pyles is a founding board member of Share Our Strength, an international hunger relief organization and is a recipient of the organization’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. He is a life board member of the North Texas Food Bank and has served on the board of Goodwill Industries and The Art Institute. In 1988, he co-founded The Hunger Link, Dallas’ perishable food program that acts as a conduit between restaurants and hotels and ministries and soup kitchens. Through his Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship, he has awarded $180,000 to culinary students in Texas.