SAN ANTONIO, Texas—After stints with renowned culinary establishments The French Laundry, The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, and Las Canarias at Omni La Mansión del Rio, the California born and San Antonio bred chef Robbie Nowlin has reclaimed his Texas roots and assumed the role of executive chef at Citrus, the award-winning restaurant at Hotel Valencia Riverwalk.
“I think you will see heart and soul in the food we will be offering,” Nowlin said. “I will always believe and stand behind the fact that the quality of ingredients determines the success of a menu.”
“Robbie has been coined one of the hottest young chefs in the city by San Antonio Magazine,” said Stephen Bilby, director of sales and marketing for Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. “He works hard at his craft and possesses a certain charismatic flair that fits perfectly with our brand.”
At 14 years of age with no formal training, Nowlin took a weekend job as a cook to earn some extra dough for skateboards. Soon, he was swapping wheels for sauté pans and Japanese knives. Now, 16 years later, Nowlin’s resume links him with industry tycoons Jason Dady, Damien Watel, John Brand, and most notably Thomas Keller of The French Laundry (the latter after whom he named his 3.5-year-old son, Keller).
Local foodies will remember that Nowlin won the Chaîne des Rôtissuers competition for best young chef three years in a row. “I have always liked a good challenge,” Nowlin said. “I just felt it was time and that I was ready to be an executive chef of a four-diamond hotel.” When he is isn’t conceptualizing Citrus’ new brunch menu (coming this fall), the 30-year-old dad loves sharing cheese plates with his son, dishing about his philanthropic project Hot Wells, and tasting some of the newest creations by other chefs around town.