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Chef Jack Gilmore

Chef Jack Gilmore

“Growing up on the Gulf Coast, Texas wild-caught brown shrimp were all I knew—I even spent a summer in high school on a shrimping boat. The sweet and firm taste of the shrimp trumps farmed ’seafood,’ period. And I love supporting the local Gulf fishermen. We serve nothing else at Jack Allen’s Kitchen.”

Jack Gilmore’s bold, flavorful style hails from his experience across the Gulf Coast region of South Texas, his upbringing in the Rio Grande Valley and extensive work with German master chefs. However, his legendary hospitality is 100 percent Texan.

Gilmore began his culinary career working with “old school” Cajun chefs in South Padre Island, Texas. Seeking new challenges, Gilmore relocated to Austin, where he helped open the original Chez Fred’s and longtime seafood favorite Louie’s on the Lake, before moving to Louisiana.

Returning to Texas in the mid-1980s, chef Gilmore worked under German master chefs in Fredericksburg, which truly helped shape his culinary vision. In those kitchens, he learned to “put everything you have learned together and use it,” Jack remembers. “The masters taught me to be humble when it does not work out and glad when it does.”

Gilmore came back to Austin in 1990 to create the culinary vision for the legendary Z’Tejas Grill, a perfect fit for his unique background and talent. As the founding executive chef for the Austin-based operation, fresh ingredients and signature elements marked his distinctive style.

In October of 2009, Jack and partner Tom Kamm left Z’Tejas to create their dream project—Jack Allen’s Kitchen, which focuses on farm-to-table fresh ingredients, spirited Texas cuisine and ‘Jacked up’ hospitality. Since its opening in December 2009, the restaurant has enjoyed rave reviews, loyal-already fans and big time crowds.

“We focus on fresh ingredients in everything we do—from the produce to the meat to the local honey and olive oil we use,” he says proudly. “Jack Allen’s is 80 percent local after only four months of operation. I tell the farmers, ‘Bring me everything you’ve got—it won’t go to waste.’ For example, if I get a bunch of great tomatoes, we might use the extras in tomato jam. I can get really creative.”

"Growing up in a coastal border town of South Texas, my meals came from the fresh seafood of the Gulf of Mexico and farm fields full of fruits and vegetables. I remember experiencing many layers of flavors,” explains Jack. “My number-one goal is to honor the ingredients, and we work hard to create bold, fresh flavors in every dish we serve.” Cocktails, using premium liquors, creative combinations, and fresh squeezed juices, are a big part of the successful equation at Jack Allen’s Kitchen.

When not in the kitchen, Jack enjoys spending free time with his wife LuAnn and their two sons, Bryce and Dylan. His hobbies include gardening, cooking in his outdoor home kitchen, water skiing and Longhorn football. He is actively involved in the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, and received the Carolyn Nelson Award in April 2010 for his dedicated support of the organization.

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