When chef David Garrido and writer Robb Walsh started testing recipes for their cookbook-in-progress three years ago, the one question they did not have was where to cook. The answer was obvious: They would use the professional kitchen at Jeffrey’s, the highly regarded Austin restaurant where Garrido was chef. So one morning, after working the night before, Garrido went to the restaurant and whipped up three or four original recipes. That afternoon Walsh came in, and the two friends tasted and critiqued the dishes. The food was delicious, but they quickly agreed that something was seriously wrong. The very next day, they abandoned Jeffrey’s and fled to Walsh’s vintage kitchen in a fifties subdivision. The restaurant kitchen, with its serious equipment and mounds of already prepped foods, was too seductive. Says Garrido, only half-joking: “I couldn’t keep my hands off the caviar and lobster stock.” At Walsh’s kitchen they were liberated. In that setting they could write the book they wanted to. The result, Nuevo Tex-Mex: Festive New Recipes From Just North of the Border, released this month by Chronicle Books, is a tale of two authors and how they blended disparate ideas. It is also a tale of two cuisines—Southwestern and Tex-Mex—and as such, it marks a melding of two cooking styles that, to a large extent, define latter-day Texas food.
That Garrido and Walsh should have both ended up in Austin, much less written a book together, is quite a coincidence given the diversity of their backgrounds. Garrido, who is 37, is the son of a Mexican diplomat. He has lived all over the world—Canada (where he was born), Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Washington State, France, and Switzerland. In his twenties, intending to pursue a career in the international hotel business, he enrolled at the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management in Houston. He was getting some hands-on