Chef Doug Wallen
A South Texas native, Chef Doug Wallen has been active in the local culinary industry for 20 years. His achievements include revitalizing Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Downtown San Antonio, launching Savor, the Goen South Catering Company, original concept design and creation of Zootenial restaurant, “Zoo Beastro” at the San Antonio Zoo and has spent time in the kitchens of The Westin La Cantera Resort, Aldacos @ Sunset Station, and Wahoo’s Cajun Seafood Café. Chef Doug is driven not just by his love for food, but by his love of South Texas and the bounty it offers.
“I was blessed to grow up in a family that put a premium not just on food, but on being able to prepare food the right way. My Mother’s side of the family gave me an appreciation for ethnic cuisine, fine foods, and culinary tradition; I remember as a child watching Graham Kerr and Julia Child on TV with my grandmother.
From my Father I learned the value of self-reliance and an appreciation for what the land around us can offer. I fondly remember the time spent with my paternal grandfather, Pappy, picking
cherry tomatoes from his garden; and not so fondly my first experience with culling livestock to cook for family gatherings. It was a lot for an 8 year old maybe, but invaluable experience, and a big part of who I am.
When people ask me what my signature dish is, or what I like to prepare most, I try to explain to them I don’t really have a specialty per se. The passion that drives me is not just cooking, but cooking for others. If there isn’t someone to enjoy what I have prepared then it has far less value to me. I seek out other creative people to work with; sometimes younger chef’s because I love to give them an opportunity to create and grow professionally. And thus we are able to work as team with a diverse and eclectic ‘recipe box’ to draw on.”