Houston loves star chefs like Aaron Bludorn, who is married to Papas

Houston loves a celebrity chef. Every few years, a new culinary talent emerges with the star power of a professional athlete or pop singer.

When the French-inspired, American-style Gulf Coast restaurant quietly opened in 2020 in the Montrose space formerly occupied by Pass & Provisions, Bayou foodies collectively wondered: “What—or in this case, who—bloodorne?”

It turns out that Bloodorn is a person and a place. Aaron Bluedoorn is a native of the Pacific Northwest who got his start as a dishwasher and cook on Bainbridge Island. He polished his skills at the Culinary Institute of America and trained under Michelin-starred chefs Douglas Kane and Daniel Boulud in New York. He met Victoria Pappas while working as an Executive Chef at Café Boulud. Their cute encounter was revealed rom-com way. She is from a royal family in a Houston restaurant and has attended the International Culinary Center in Midtown Manhattan. After accepting a position in the Boulud Operations team, Pappas fell in love with the handsome young chef.

Now Pappas Bludorn is Operations Manager and mother to the couple’s two children under the age of two.

Bludorn chef/owner Aaron Bludorn and Truth BBQ pitmaster/owner Leonard Botello teamed up for an exclusive collaborative dinner benefiting World Central Kitchen at Bludorn Thursday, May 12, 2020. Pictured: Duck pastries, locusts, peas, and an American sauce.

Dave Rossman / Contributor

Brilliant Chef in Houston

Restaurant Bludorn recently had a guest role on “Top Chef Houston”; Blodorn, the chef, and Bloud were guest judges.

When Children’s Memorial Hermann decided to host a lavish, multi-course dinner at a private residence in River Oaks, Health System’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Amalia Stanton, had one name on its list: Aaron Bludorn.

“She wanted to have the ‘Bright Stars’ in Houston: their fetal care department and the best chef,” said Melissa Juno, event host.

Chef Aaron Bluedoorn with dancer Nazeer Mohamed at the annual Raising the Barre event that brings together Houston's top chefs with the head dancers of the Houston Ballet Company in Bludoorne on Sunday, April 24, 2022.

Chef Aaron Bluedoorn with dancer Nazeer Mohamed at the annual Raising the Barre event that brings together Houston’s top chefs with the head dancers of the Houston Ballet Company in Bludoorne on Sunday, April 24, 2022.

Dave Rossman / Contributor

Pappas Bloodorn had given birth to their son the day before the party. Chef Blodoorn arrived just in time to do a final check on the catering and say a few words. His appearance caused a frenzy of selfies with the chef.

“The idea of ​​community engagement has always been a big deal to me,” he said. “The chef community has become more and more prominent in the past 20 years. We have a responsibility as public figures to do more with our platform.”

Boulud and Marcus Samuelsson, author and chef at Red Rooster, have introduced Bludhorn to jobs through the Culinary Arts Program, which provides the inner-city public school with support via professional culinary programs.

Bludoorn Community Projects

Giving back is his way of thanking you for the success of his restaurant, says Bludoorne. Not everyone made it, either.

His first charity dinner in Houston benefited the Southern Smoke Foundation, the brainchild of chef Chris Shepherd. This initial dinner chain raised about $30,000 for fellow hospitality workers; The event caught fire. All seats sold out quickly.

And they are fun. “Day in and out can get a little boring,” Bludoorne admitted. “Events like this give us something to look forward to.”

Shepherd was initially selected to host the 2022 Houston Ballet Raising the Barre dinner in the newest restaurant concept. When construction delayed its opening, Barry’s co-chair Lily Cullen immediately thought of Bluedoorn.

People enjoy a party hosted by Melissa Juneau in support of Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital with a dinner prepared by Chef Aaron Bluedorn, Friday, May 6, 2022, in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

People enjoy a party hosted by Melissa Juneau in support of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital with a dinner prepared by Chef Aaron Bluedorn, Friday, May 6, 2022, in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle photographer/staff

At this event, professional dancers are paired with celebrity chefs to create a unique four-course meal.

Bluedoorn said he had never expected such a warm reception when he first moved to town, although he is grateful and even a little shy about the fan base that followed.

“I wasn’t expecting everything. I was afraid to see what people would think because I’m not from Houston. My wife, so that helped me,” he said. “I didn’t want to be known as the guy who was moving to Houston to teach people how to eat. I wanted to be part of the community first and foremost.”

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