Chad Houser

Executive Director/Executive Chef, Café Momentum

“I grew up believing food was about more than just nurturing the body; it also nurtures the soul. My family was steeped in Southern tradition and Sundays were always spent with them for Sunday supper. These meals taught me that breaking bread was about creating bonds. The professional bonds I formed at El Centro were instrumental in helping me build confidence and a solid culinary foundation. Most importantly, the faculty at El Centro inspired me to always cook from the heart. I am a better person and the Dallas culinary industry is better because of El Centro​. El Centro provided me with a solid foundation of skills and lessons, about not only how the restaurant industry works, but also its value to our society.”

Chad and fellow El Centro alumnus Janice Provost, with whom he worked at Parigi, are the co-founders of Café Momentum, a nonprofit restaurant and culinary training facility for at-risk youth. Café Momentum partners with Dallas County Youth Village and the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department to teach at-risk adolescents life and job skills that can break the cycle of violence and crime that many have faced.

Chad is also still a chef, and his professional contributions haven’t gone unnoticed in the food and hospitality industry. He was tapped out in Dallas Business Journal's 2016 “40 Under 40,” honoring North Texas professionals impacting their community through service, and as one of the U.S. Junior Chamber’s (Jaycee) 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Americans.

He's been named to the “Top 50 Under 40” by the Social Enterprise Alliance, an “Urban Innovator to Watch” by the New Cities Foundation, one of “30 Most Interesting People in the Metro Area” by the Dallas Observer and one of Good Magazine’s “Good 100” individuals at the cutting edge of creative impact across the globe. Awards include the 2011 Edible Dallas/Fort Worth “Local Hero – Chef” award, and multiple nominations from D Magazine for “Best Up-and-Coming Chef” (2010) and “Best Chef” (2011 and 2012).

Café Momentum restaurant and culinary training facility is located at 1510 Pacific St. at Akard in downtown Dallas, across from Thanks-Giving Square, 214-303-1234.