Randy Rucker is passionate about food & wine and all that it inhabits. His drive to find the freshest ingredients and to uphold them so that their natural integrity is not lost is only one example of his dedication to his career and his craft. His respect for classic techniques and his quest to find new and exciting ways to re-introduce food is a story that can only be experienced through his cuisine.
His style is unique to Houston, upholding southern classics and integrating new and exciting techniques have made him one of the most exciting chefs to watch in the state of Texas. Rucker credits his mom for getting him interested in the art and celebration of food. He knows that without her he wouldn’t be the cook he is today. “Food is simply an interpretation of the moment or the season and should be taken seriously but having fun with your food is something everyone enjoys. I run my kitchens with the highest level of integrity and passion because with out those two factors you have nothing!” Rucker sources out the best and only the best from local and nationwide farmers and ranchers ensuring the guest the best possible experience. Randy gained his respect for raw ingredients at fairly young stage in his career. Using modern techniques such as sous-vide (cooking under second closure) cooking, liquid nitrogen applications and the use of hydro-colloids has created a new avenue for discovery and exploration.
Rucker’s professional experience begin in Rhode Island where he attended Johnson & Wales University and then migrated west to what he says was the most defining moment in his career. Rucker spent time in Big Sur, California working with chefs like Matt Millea and Craig Von Foester which developed his passion for raw ingredients such as artichokes, sea urchin and wild mushrooms. After a couple of years in California he returned to Houston and excepted a job as chef de cuisine for John Sheely at Riviera Grill in the Sam Houston Hotel (now the Alden) and spent time with Mark Cox as his sous chef at Mark’s American Cuisine. Rucker then made the trip to the capital of Texas, Austin, to work as sous chef at Zoot Restaurant before making the move back to Houston to work with Tim Keating at Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Rucker has also been lucky enough to spend some time in some of the nation’s best culinary kitchens such as Tru Restaurant in Chicago and Clio Restaurant in Boston. In December of 2005 Rucker opened, laidback manor, with his hero and mother, Bootsie. At laidback manor, Rucker received numerous awards and accolades from national press including Food Arts Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, and he was awarded best new chef, best chef and best new restaurant from local publications.
Since the close of laidback manor Rucker has spent time with Cordua Restaurant Group as corporate R&D chef and operated an underground supper club dubbed as “tenacity” which opened the door to his present position as chef of The Rainbow Lodge in the Heights area of Houston. Recently, he was rewarded with the first four star review in almost 9 years from Alison Cook at The Houston Chronicle and also received four stars from Modern Luxury Magazine. At The Rainbow Lodge, Rucker was given the opportunity to have an onsite garden & citrus grove which molded the way he cooked on a daily basis. Rucker is currently the Executive Chef at Bootsie’s Heritage Cafe in Tomball, TX where he has received rave reviews. He is also in the process of opening a second restaurant in Tomball, restaurant connate.