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 premium full-service off-premise catering operations.
Since selling Abuso Catering Co. in 2007, Joe has consulted to restaurants, bars, hotels, universities, caterers, breweries and retirement communities. With both startups and established businesses, he has worked with owners and managers on business plans, financials, human resource matters, kitchen designs, coordinated every aspect of openings, written menus and recipes, sourced products, developed wine and liquor programs, developed back-office operations, and established and refined various systems and procedures, both front- and back-of-the-house.
Joe is also a Certified Sommelier, holds a Masters Degree from Rice University and is an active lecturer and writer, with regular articles appearing 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, as well as a board member of the Culinary Institute LeNôtre. He has been a member 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 currently the President of The Whitehall Club, a group of business owners founded in 1968. Joe has given presentations for the National Restaurant Association on kitchen design and lectures on wine at the LeNôtre Culinary Institute.