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Olivia + James Holmes :: Austin

May 10, 2013

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Chef James Holmes is the owner of Olivia, named one of the “Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit magazine, and its southern sister Lucy’s Fried Chicken. We had the fortunate chance to catch up with James for brunch Sunday morning before the Austin Food & Wine Festival and sit down and talk to him about Texas, food, life and work.

“A fifth generation Texan, Chef Holmes is the quintessential proud Texan. Growing up with a father and grandfather working in the oil fields, Holmes’ memories pay special attention to food and can fondly remember his grandfather taking BBQ to the oil rigs for lunch. Holmes left Texas to attend college at the University of Oklahoma where he received his Bachelor’s degree with concentrations in Communication and Political Science. He then moved to New York to learn his craft from The Institute of Culinary Education. Upon graduation, Chef Holmes began his career working at Joseph’s Table in Taos, New Mexico. Holmes then built his resume working with renowned New York City restaurants including Craft and Picholine, and eventually moved to Strausbourg, France to work in the kitchen at La Panier du Marche.

Chef Holmes made his way back to Texas and opened Rose-Hill Manor in Fredericksburg. He then settled in Austin and worked for the Texas Culinary Academy where he was a Chef Instructor for Ventana Restaurant. After Ventana, Chef Holmes helped open the Alamo Drafthouse and shortly after made the move to Out There Catering where he managed backstage catering for popular Austin music venues.

While Holmes’ tireless work often leaves him exhausted, he still makes time for his family. Daughters Olivia and Lucy—for whom the restaurants were named——and his wife and business partner, Cristina, are his driving force every day. Next in line to his love of cooking and family, are his loves for West Texas Mexican food, live music (especially Willie Nelson) and not surprisingly, bacon.”

– Olivia

Enjoy the images and do yourself a HUGE favor and stop by for brunch, lunch or dinner!

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Claire McCormack Photography 2013

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