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A James Beard Award Nomination to COVID to Saving a Fort Worth Treasure

Chef Bria Downey has worked in some of the best kitchens this Fort Worth has to offer. From sous-chef at Piattello, where she helped the team become one of Texas Monthly’s 2017 Best New Restaurants in Texas, to Executive Chef at the Clay Pigeon, where she led her team to win CultureMap’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year. At age 28, she became the first woman ever to win Fort Worth Magazine’s Top Chef. Most importantly and recently she was Nominated for the James Beard Rising Star Chef 2020, just weeks before Covid-19 and the inevitable lockdown happened.

TasteMaker Awards when Bria won Best Restaurant

As life sometimes goes, one of the biggest achievements so far in her career was followed up by one of the lowest points in her career. She never would have imagined that kind of rollercoaster but it didn’t stop her from cooking.

Celebrating her James Beard nomination at The Amber Room with Chef Stefon Rishel, Chef Michael, Angel Rodriguez, Christopher James Fields, and friends Jessica Light and Amanda Yunger with Cristian as bartender.

Luckily during the lockdown she had local chef friends who were there to support her and help guide her in the right direction. Chef Kevin Martinez was there to lend her the Yatai Food Kart where she got to serve my community one soup at a time. Chef Sarah and Chef Matt at Hot Box Biscuit Club let her hop in their kitchen and whip up pozole and French onion for their curbside to-go. Chef Stefon Rishel from Wishbone and Flynt (and multiple other spots coming soon) has always been a great support system to bounce ideas off of and was the first person to call and congratulate her on her nomination.

Chris Reale, Lou Lambert, and Bria Downey in Roy Pope Grocery prior to it’s re-design

Most recently, Bria has been working on a new project with Lou Lambert and Chris Reale – Roy Pope Grocery. This grocery store is being re-opened in a completely reimagined way in the next few months with the vision of this trio with Bria as the Culinary Director. “They see that FTW needs a place like this, a place where the butchers knows your favorite cut, our Sommelier Mikey remembers which rosé you got last time, and the groceries are walked out to your car,” she states. Keeping in mind with the “homey” feel that Roy Pope has had in the past, they are revamping this restaurant to cater to the Fort Worth locals who depend on a quality place to buy good food, made by a local favorite.

To read more details on the new Roy Pope Grocery and to view the full article on Bria as October’s Fort Worth Woman of the Month CLICK HERE.