Houston Astros owner’s downtown Italian eateries land former Brennan’s chef

 A new chef is leading the kitchens at Potente and Osso & Kristalla in downtown Houston.

Danny Trace, former executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston, has taken over as executive chef at the Italian restaurants, according to a press release. Earlier this year, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane opened the restaurants at 1515 Texas Ave., on the ground floor of The Finger Cos.’ new 500 Crawford apartment complex across from Minute Maid Park.

At the time, Crane’s personal chef, Michael Parker, was named executive chef for the restaurants’ culinary team. Micah Rideout was named chef de cuisine, and David Berg was named executive pastry chef. Rideout and Berg remain in place, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Parker played an integral role in hiring Trace and continues to oversee Crane’s culinary operations in Florida.

“I am excited to have Chef Trace in Houston to oversee the culinary operations at Potente and Osso & Kristalla,” Parker said in the release. “A remarkably talented chef, I know that he will embrace and elevate what we have created at both concepts.”

Bryan Caswell was originally attached to the concepts, but he mutually split with Crane and the eateries in November to pursue new projects with his company, Bryan Caswell Concepts. Bill Floyd remains general manager for both restaurants.

Trace left his position as executive chef of Brennan’s on March 31. He had worked in Brennan-family restaurants for two decades and was hired to his latest position in 2009.

Earlier this week, Brennan’s announced it hired Joe Cervantez, the former executive chef of Killen’s Steakhouse, as its top chef. On the same day, Killen’s also announced it hired Steve Haug, most recently of Peska Prime Steaks & Seafood and Grazia Italian Kitchen, to replace Cervantez.

Growing up in Louisiana, Trace learned about cooking from his Italian grandmother and Cajun grandfather.

“The most memorable meals for me are of my grandparents in the kitchen. My grandmother’s family was from Milan and Naples and my grandfather was from Thibodaux, Louisiana,” Trace said in the release. “From étouffée to grand bowls of pasta, the marriage of these traditional dishes and family experiences is the very reason I am a chef. I look forward to returning to my Italian roots at Potente and Osso & Kristalla.”

Olivia Pulsinelli is the senior web editor for the Houston Business Journal’s award-winning website. Follow her on Twitter for more.

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