Cohen's New Career

“I'm feeling really good about this. I've wanted to teach for a very long time, but I had to have a career first. This comes at a really good time for me.” So said Scott Cohen in response to a press release declaring his move from Executive Chef at Pavil Restaurant and Bar and the Watermark Grill to a teaching position at the Austin branch of France's prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

This is the kind of release that could easily have been a polite kiss-off. Though he was still “advising”, Cohen hadn't been cooking at Pavil for some time, in fact, and considering their closing for lunch, the tentative breakfast overturesâ?¦and the restaurant climate in general, it was easy to imagine a cost-cutting scenario. But, as Cohen has nothing but good words for Pat Kennedy, the owner of the Watermark Hotel Company that has both Pavil and the Watermark Grill, and is staying on as an Advisor ( caps theirs) and member of the company's Board of Directors, we will take him at his word. Besides, he has moved his family to Round Rock. This is serious.

But why nor stay and work with the local C.I.A.? Cohen is a graduate of the Hyde Park campus, after all, and such a move might have been logical. “I've had a relationship with them `the Austin branch of the Cordon Bleu` from the start,” says Cohen, who, in the absence of a local school espousing French technique, routinely hired aspiring chefs from there for Las Canarias, his first and previous post in San Antonio. Plus, “I got an early award from the French Cordon Bleu in New York,” says Cohen, “and it's really more my thing, despite the C.I.A.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, two chefs Cohen trained at Las Canarias and Pesca are at the helm of the Kennedy restaurantsâ??Jose Yañez at Pavil and Tyler Horstman at Watermark. “Man, they really don't need me,” said Cohen of a recent inspection tour of both restaurants. But Isaac Cantu, another Cohen alum from Las Canarias, has left his top toque post at Watermark for the Westin La Cantera. No, we don't know why, but Watermark's loss is also potentially Westin's gain, as Cantu had a good hand. We'll watch them all.

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