Chef Bryan Caswell of Little Bigs - Biography

Houston, TX

March 2011

Chef Bryan Caswell,'s 2011 Rising Star Restaurateur, traveled the world just so he could come home again. And when he did come home, he made a cannonball-sized splash on Houston’s culinary scene. A native Houstonian, Caswell spent most of his childhood fishing, hunting, and boating on Gulf Coast waters. He’s still an avid outdoorsman, and his fascination with fishing is reflected in his cooking at Reef, which proudly and prolifically showcases Gulf Coast fish.

Caswell began his career with formal training at the Culinary Institute of America. While there, Caswell secured a coveted six-month externship under Chef Jose Muneisa at the Michelin-starred Via Veneto in Barcelona. Caswell continued to apprentice under New York’s finest, including Aureole Chef Charlie Palmer, Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill, March Chef Wayne Nish, and Union Pacific Chef Rocco DiSpirito. Caswell’s career progressed under Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, including stints at Trump International Hotel & Tower flagship restaurant and other Jean-Georges restaurants in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and the Bahamas.

Caswell returned home to work on the R&D team of Houston-based Pappas Restaurants. In 2004, he opened Bank, a fine dining restaurant in the Jean-Georges family; together with business partner Bill Floyd, he propelled the restaurant to national acclaim. In 2007, Caswell and Floyd formed PF&B Management Company, whose projects include the burger joint Little Bigs, seafood-centric Reef, Tuscan-Texan Stella Sola, and vintage Tex-Mex El Real. Caswell also serves as consulting chef for the Houston Astros and Minute Maid Park.

Caswell has accumulated an impressive list of accolades, including the 2009 Best New Chef Award from Food & Wine, Semifinalist for the James Beard 2011 Best Southwestern Chef, and a spot on the Continental Airlines Congress of Chefs. When he’s not cooking or considering airborne cuisine, Caswell writes on his blog, Whole Fish, about living, fishing, and cooking in southeast Texas, and works on his radio program “Southbound Food.”