Brandi grew up in the small farming community of Hart, TX and spent her summers as a child canning and preserving the produce grown in the family garden. This coupled with a family appreciation of local game, like pheasant and venison, gave her the understanding of the value of local, seasonal ingredients that is so strongly represented today in her cooking style.
Brandi joins Coppa Ristorante Italiano from a 12 year stint with Pappas, working in roles as diverse as bus boy and kitchen manager. During her time at Pappas, she became the Pappadeaux Concept Chef for all 8 of the Dallas-area stores. She later moved to Houston to join the R&D Department and work with a group of chefs on the numerous Pappas concepts. There she created, documented, implemented and taught countless dishes for the Pappas menus. After making her way up through the Pappas ranks, Brandi took a leave of absence to attend Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco, then participated in an externship with Cindy Pawlcyn working in Napa Valley at her three restaurants at the time: Mustard’s, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, and formerly Go Fish.
Brandi brings an ingredient-centric, straightforward cooking style to the Coppa menu by skillfully reinventing Italian classics with local ingredients and a determination to make as much as possible from scratch daily.
She says it best: “I like things that take time. I like making things from scratch, with my hands. I like to keep things simple, get really amazing products and let it be. All of me believes that making food, from scratch, with attention to detail and technique but with more emphasis on loving what you do, will always produce the best tasting food.”
Kris was born and raised in East Texas, but spent much of her youth travelling the world with her SCUBA instructor parents, in fact, becoming a certified instructor herself. She learned the ropes of the bar and music venue business while cutting her teeth at the college bar Bullfrogs and Annex. It didn’t take long for Kris to “graduate” from high volume shots and drafts to high end martinis and craft cocktails, as she moved to Houston in 2005 to join the groundbreaking bar team at Hotel Zaza.
Since then, Kris continues to educate and challenge herself in order to perfect her craft. She has competed in competitions like the Woodford Reserve and Esquire Magazine Well Crafted Manhattan Experience #2 in Fall of 2010, where she placed first in Houston and second in Texas, and currently serves as Houston’s only Cointreau Brand Ambassador. This position enabled Kris to travel to the Cointreau distillery in Angers, France for advanced training. This fall/winter she will begin hosting monthly cocktail and culinary Cointreau parties in Houston called Cointreau Sundays with Kris.
She has been published in Houston Chronicle (Dec 2010) and Saveur Magazine (June/July 2011). Her most recent adventure has been to head up the cocktail program for recently opened Coppa Ristorante Italiano, where she is crafting and consulting their beverage program and bringing tasty and adventurous cocktails to a patio near you.