Interview With A (Star)Chef
For the last year and a half, Chef Page Pressley has been running Emmer & Rye in Austin, Texas. His restaurant is dedicated to locally sourced and seasonally inspired fare and was named in Bon Appetit’s “America’s Best New Restaurants of 2016” list. Chef Page recently represented our StarChefs partnership at the Austin Compass Community Council.
Jonathan Squibb: How did you get your start?
Chef Page Pressley: It started during my childhood in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My godmother taught me the Italian cooking she grew up with and it was all “downhill” from there. I fell in love with the adrenaline rush from experimenting in the kitchen and creating something new. After high school I attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
JS: What drove you to open your own restaurant?
Chef Page: Emmer & Rye grew out of my desire to really grow my creativity and narrow my culinary focus. Before Emmer & Rye, I was working for Star Restaurants, and going between 40 properties and was ready to slow down. Emmer & Rye offered me the opportunity to focus on creating elegant and uncomplicated dishes from our local farmers.
JS: How did you get involved in the StarChefs program?
Chef Page: As small restaurant operators we are always looking for a bigger audience to tell our story. StarChefs’ marketing director is an old friend of mine and the program felt like a great fit.
JS: What attracted you to working with Compass?
Chef Page: Fundamentally, our culinary brands and vision just fit. Being able to engage with people who have so much influence is remarkable. That is how real change happens. Sometimes doing it the right way is harder, actually it almost always is, but that’s a good thing. It keeps everyone more engaged in the process.
JS: Last question, what’s your favorite dish to prepare?
Chef Page: [Laughs] It’s so hard to choose! It really depends on what’s in season. Right now, it’s probably a caramelized sunchoke, and it happens to be what I’m serving tonight*.
*Author can personally vouch for and would highly recommend this dish.
The new partnership between Compass Group and StarChefs allows us to share our story with up-and-coming restaurant chefs and identify opportunities for collaboration. This partnership exemplifies the pillars of Envision 2020 and allows us to celebrate food, embrace a local stories, and connect with our communities.
StarChefs members are a national community of people passionate about food and hospitality. Their membership provides access to industry influencers, product innovations, and culinary events across the country. Click here to learn more.
To learn more about how to get involved with this partnership, email us here!