Chef Brian Zenner of Belly & Trumpet in Uptown has been around a bit. Born in Bangkok, his family moved to Dubai and London before finally settling in Texas. And while on paper his culinary career started at the Texas Culinary Academy, one might say the cooking wheels started churning on a dock in Thailand when he was just 14 years old. Zenner has spent time in kitchens in Austin, Portland, and most recently under the tutelage of chef Bruno Davaillon at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, then alongside chef Jason Maddy at Oak.
Here's a recent chat:
Where are you from originally? I'm mostly grew up in Houston. I was born overseas, but moved back to the states when I was 8, lived in Houston for a while, then finished high school in Dallas.
From a culinary perspective, would you say most of your influences came from Texas? Yeah, but, living overseas early was pretty influential for the whole family. We went to a lot of Thai restaurants growing up and we traveled to a lot of places even after we moved to Texas.