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Chef Dorzon plans to bring a Michelin star to Texas

ThirteenJames Harden’s foray into cooking, has been opening in Midtown since the spring of 2021. Led by chef Tobias Dorzon and his interpretation of Maryland and Southern cuisine, the restaurant and lounge has been a success since its doors opened , navigating through a pandemic and its owner’s departure for a new NBA team. Many other restaurants have closed their doors for a lot less, but Thirteen has managed to gain a foothold in the city with its food, atmosphere and style. For Dorzon, this is just the beginning, with plans for multiple locations for Thirteen in the works and his restaurant, Huncho House.

“I want to please people, but I also want to turn the tables,” says the chef as he takes a break after serving a multi-course dinner at Thirteen. “This place has 90 seats but with Huncho House I want to do something different. I have a classical training in French and I want to show it. I want to slow things down and really give people something beyond good food. I want to give them the experience of refined cuisine ”

Located in the DMV, Huncho House is pint-sized with seating for 46, ten rooftop bars, and a private chef’s table, but focuses on a much more intimate multi-course dining experience. It’s a multi-course experience that Dorzon premiered to Houstonians last August.

Offerings of deluxe deviled eggs topped with jalapeno, bacon jam, and fried shrimp welcomed guests to their seats as waiters brought out Palomas and spicy pineapple margaritas. Crab soup, Tuscan soup, pan-seared scallops and Rockefeller oysters set the stage for main courses like royal salmon, marsala chicken, and braised prime rib. For Dorzon this is an opportunity to show his skills and take the first step towards his ultimate goal.

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Everybody Eats was a private dinner offered by Chef Dorzon to preview the direction he was headed with Huncho House.

Photo by Lauren Cowart

“My plan is to get a Michelin star. Huncho House is the first starting point to achieve this goal. Texas doesn’t have a Michelin star restaurant and my plan is to go home to Washington, practice at Honcho House and bring him back here. “

While Houston has become a prime spot for food and, in the eyes of some chefs, the culinary capital of the world, it doesn’t have a Michelin star because the international food guide doesn’t publish here in Texas. There is a lot of speculation that the state will get a Michelin star, but Dorzon is confident in his abilities and wants to prove that he is more than some might perceive.

“I think black chefs are known for cooking mostly southern food and I have cooked for many athletes and entertainers. I haven’t really had a chance to show people that there are other sides to me. Also, I’m tired of the fried lamb chops with a lot of cream sauce, ”she laughs.

Working with Harden, Dorzon plans to open a Huncho House in Washington and eventually Texas, while also opening more locations for Thirteen. It’s a challenge she plans to tackle head-on, while also making sure people know that his influence on both brands doesn’t fade with expansion.

“The biggest question I get is whether I will still be Thirteen’s chef. I will always be the chef of Thirteen. James and I had a relationship before thirteen and he knows my culinary mind which is why we decided to work together. I haven’t physically cooked at Thirteen in the last six months, but we have worked hard to train a staff capable of enhancing the quality we are known for. Once I start Huncho in Washington, I want to do the same thing and bring him back to Houston. “

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Rockefeller oysters

Photo by Lauren Cowart

Dorzon has spent his career traveling as a private chef for celebrities, appearing and winning in Food Network shows such as Guy’s grocery gamesranking in Guy’s Tournament of Champions, opening a food truck in Maryland, a restaurant in Miami and working in Los Angeles. Even though he is from the Washington metropolitan area, he considers Houston a home and is definitely planning to return.

“I’ve never bought a house in any of the places I’ve traveled to, except Houston. I thought I was going to stay in Miami forever and still haven’t bought a house. I came to Houston for five months and bought a house. It is this city. I bought here because of the southern hospitality, the food and the people. I just want to give it back to the city. ”