The Woodlands’ trendiest food scene was a natural spot for me to explore. Much of Howard Hughes’ popup efforts and Food & Wine events/competitions highlighted the Waterway area.— Taylor Viriña and The Woodlands’ Waterway Square
Viriña shares “Chef Ryan Witcher (formerly with Marina Sands and Tavern on the Green) gave me my first break into the industry. I’ll forever be grateful for his mentorship, as well as the support of the other executive chefs at Howard Hughes at the time.”
“It was a dynamic moment in my career — the chaos of Hurricane Harvey, the award-winning drive of my bosses, and a team composed of folks from everywhere willing to take risks,” Viriña adds. “What I do now I strive to meet that baseline I learned early on with these chefs who took a risk bringing me on-board.”
After graduating from New York Film Academy, I did production work for ad agencies on both sides of the Pacific. And upon meeting 1 of the people whom I most admired, I took his advice and left New York City to join Howard Hughes Corp. (being a cinephile, I was of course a Scorsese fan and loved ‘The Aviator’).
I focused on Social Media Marketing for the brand, creating content for publishing and online. I would then get my break and join the Culinary Team under Executive Chef Ryan Witcher alongside Exec Sous Chef Charlie James and Exec Corporate Chef David Morris.
PROJECT ASIA BISTRO
Chef Willis is not just an invaluable colleague and partner, myself and the rest of the team learn so much from his experience opening restaurants for Tillman Fertitta and his 20+ years in the industry.— Taylor Viriña on Executive Chef Jason WIllis
Chef Willis’ long line-up of achievements after graduating from Culinary Inst. of America are of course impressive, but what I enjoy most about his style is his growing up in Singapore and London — and how he brings that to the plate.
— Taylor Viriña on Executive Chef Willis and the Asian Bistro Project