2012 Rising Star Artisan Chef John Bates has earned his Austin swagger. Before launching The Noble Pig—the charcuterie, bread, and heavenly sandwich shop on the far edges of North Austin—the chef spent formative years in some major city kitchens, including sous cheffing at Wink and executive cheffing at Asti for two and a half years (not to mention a decade-plus working his way up the industry). Influential though these were, it was Bates’ early training—at Del Mar College—that would prove a decisive influence in his future success.
A Corpus Christi native, Bates attended culinary school at Del Mar, and that’s where he met friend, fellow chef, and future business partner Brandon Martinez. The Fates didn’t join the two immediately; Martinez briefly finished training at New England Culinary Institute, and spent time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and San Francisco.
But once home, Martinez teamed up with former classmate Bates to open a restaurant built on scratch-cooking and a simple philosophy: “make it, and make it better than the guy down the street.” With more than enough experience in the standards and practices of contemporary upscale dining between them, the duo created something that had the guts—but none of the daintiness—of modern, sophisticated cuisine. The Noble Pig, now open for almost one and a half years, solidifies Bates’s and Martinez’s shared passion for applying the highest standards to the most straightforward, delicious food.