Rising Star Chef Kaitlin Steets of Theodore Rex - Biography

Houston, TX

November 2019

Growing up in Houston, Kaitlin Steets and her family dined out often. For meals at home, she would happily take the reins of the kitchen from her mother who was an accomplished but reluctant cook. When it came time for college, Steets enrolled at The College of Charleston, choosing the major she could earn a degree in quickest: French. While a student, she was part of the opening team of Husk as a hostess. After graduation, she cooked on the line at Houston’s Alto Pizzeria in order to fulfill the experience requirement for entry into the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

During her time at CIA, Steets landed an externship back in Houston at Underbelly. Following graduation, she returned to Underbelly, expanding her skill sets in flavor development, creativity, and organization. She also began to inuit the rhythms of Houston’s growing seasons and realized she thrived on the adrenaline of a high-octane service. Next, Steets staged for a month at Blaine Wetzel's Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington, learning precision and honing her technique. The experience confirmed a desire to push her own culinary limits under Justin Yu at Oxheart. When Oxheart closed, Steets chose to stay on as part of the opening team of Theodore Rex, eventually becoming chef de cuisine. In 2018, the restaurant was named one of Eater’s “18 Best New Restaurants in America” and ranked 4th among The Houston Chronicle’s “Top 100 Restaurants.” To Steets, her greatest accomplishment is her son Oliver, who she and her husband Marcelo welcomed into the world in 2018.