Terrence Gallivan Has Found Life After Alto. In Houston.


When Chris Cannon abruptly shuttered Convivio and Alto in March, the closures left plenty of people unemployed. Among them was Terrence Gallivan, who had quit his job as August’s executive chef to take over the kitchen at Alto. So how did he survive the fallout? By picking up and moving to Houston.

It turns out that Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner, another New York expat, are in the process of opening their own restaurant deep in the heart of Texas. Gallivan and Siegel-Gardner, who met as part of the opening team behind Gordon Ramsay NYC, are writing about the experience for Food Republic; today is the first of what will be weekly installments depicting their efforts to “dig deep into the trenches of opening up a restaurant.”

What have they learned so far? “We think that 99% of cooking is learning, not only about how to creatively incorporate food into a restaurant concept but about how each step we will take in order to get our restaurant off the ground starts us back off at ground zero in the knowledge bank. ”

We’re still trying to entangle that Möbius strip, but take it to mean that opening a restaurant is really damn hard, regardless of where you do it. In any case, Pilot Light Restaurant Group — the company the two chefs founded in February — plans to open the as-yet-unnamed restaurant this year. And once they do, they vow it “will change the face of dining in Houston and refocus the way people are eating and drinking.” You can take the chef out of New York …