Hometown: San Antonio
After-Hours Eats: Hot Joy
School: St. Philip’s College
San Antonio’s culinary scene grow by leaps and bounds since Jacob Gonzales arrived at Feast in 2011. Gonzales began his culinary career at the Southtown restaurant, led by chef Stefan Bowers and restaurateur Andrew Goodman, and was recently named as the restaurant’s new chef.
We sat down with chef Gonzales to talk food inspiration, new menus and what visitors can look forward to seeing at the Southtown restaurant.
What sparked your passion for cooking?I guess it was Rachael Ray [laughs]. My mom was strict when I was growing up, so I would stay home with her during the summers and watch a bunch of cooking shows and make lunch. We’d watch Rachael Ray everyday. Also, I just always liked to eat... In high school, I felt I needed to find [direction]. I picked cooking and just ran with it.
What led you to work at Feast?
I was working at Sushi Zushi and running a pedicab business at the time, but I really wanted to cook. Nobody wanted to hire me. I thought Feast looked cool, and I liked what they were doing, so they told me to come back and apply. I worked there from 2011- 2014, and worked my way up from a busser to cooking in the kitchen within two weeks.
What have you learned while working with chef Bowers?
I was concerned that I was never going to be a cook, but chef Stefan Bowers helped make it happen. I had another opportunity as sous chef at Battalion but I ruined it, and left in 2017. I bounced around, working at Range and Signature, and realized how [fortunate] I was to work here. I came back to the company in 2018, and I’ve really learned to [hone] my skills.
How does Feast fit into San Antonio's culinary scene?Feast opened in 2010, and it really helped push the scene forward. Looking back at it now, I think it influenced a lot of restaurants in Southtown and made the city a [food destination]. We’re still changing the menu seasonally, and I’m grateful that Stefan let me put 11 new dishes on the menu.
What can diners look forward to seeing at Feast?We’re returning to what Feast was — a lot of simple and favorite dishes, and the 11 new sharing dishes. On the happy hour menu, I’m excited to feature the $1 beers, mussels, kebabs. I’m excited to make some changes to the brunch menu, there’s going to be more outside of what people expect.
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