started in the Hospitality Industry as a teenager, washing pots. From this humble but useful starting point, he went on to graduate with High Honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After that, he cooked at some of the Country’s finest restaurants, including Café Annie in Houston, The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and, was Executive Chef/Food & Beverage Director, at Elk Canyon Ranch in White Sulfur Springs, Montana. In 1994 he and his wife, Leslie, founded Abuso Catering Co., growing it into one of Houston’s most popular, successful and respected full-service off-premise catering operations.
Since selling Abuso Catering Co. in 2007, Joe has consulted to restaurants - both startups and established businesses - on business plans, kitchen designs, coordinated every aspect of restaurant openings, written menus, recipes and sourced products, developed wine and liquor programs, and established and refined various systems and operations.
In addition, he offers both front and back of the house assessments and strategies for improvement.
Joe is also a Certified Sommelier, holds a Masters Degree from Rice University and is an active lecturer and writer, with regular articles in Restaurant Startup & Growth magazine, among others. His food has appeared on the cover of Food & Wine magazine. He has been Vice Chargé de Missions Honoraire of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, is a past President of the International Wine and Food Society, and is a board member of the Culinary Institute LeNôtre. He is also the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, as well as holding memberships in the National Restaurant Association and the Texas Restaurant Association. He is an Associate Member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International. Joe has given presentations for the National Restaurant Association on kitchen design, lectures on wine at the LeNôtre Culinary Institute, and is a member of the FCSI/NAFEM liaison committee.