Stella San Jac, an Austin-American inspired restaurant located on the corner of San Jacinto Boulevard and Fifth Street, today officially announced Chef Michael Cerrie as the restaurant’s executive chef.
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Cerrie moved to Austin in 2014 to serve as the executive chef of Stella San Jac, where he will serve an eclectic Southern menu that embodies the music, flavors and culture that define Austin.
Inspired by his great grandmother, “Nonni,” and family fish fries, Cerrie attributes his cooking style to an inherited appreciation for great food served simply.
“Nonni was born in Sicily and came from a large family,” said Cerrie. “We would grow every vegetable you could in Pennsylvania. Whether it was an animal or a plant, Nonni taught us to respect the food we ate, as well as the time and effort we spent growing it. I will never forget the lessons I learned from her as a child.”
Cerrie has been in the kitchen for more than 25 years and has prepared food for celebrities, movie stars, dignitaries as well as live on Good Morning America with Emeril Lagasse. In 2013, Cerrie was inducted as Chef Rôtisseur into the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest international gastronomic society that celebrates the practice of choosing, cooking and eating fine cuisine and wine.
Cerrie spent the last six months working with a tasting panel to rigorously perfect the menu for the restaurant.
“Every week we were honest with ourselves in that the food had to be approachable and delicious. The key phrase that still sticks in my head is ‘simple is hard,’” said Cerrie. “When there are literally only three-to-four ingredients on a plate, there is nothing to hide behind. A cook has to nail the execution of everything and source his ingredients from the best local farms. We have food that is simply prepared, approachable, tasty, a lot of fun, and easy on the eyes.”
Stella San Jac’s produce is sourced from several of Austin’s favorite local farms including Oak Hill Farms, Cooper Farms and Labranza Farms to ensure the freshest ingredients are used.
Some of Cerrie’s favorite menu items include Beet Chips, Blueberry Sweet Bread French Toast, Gulf Shrimp and Lump Crab Roll, Pearl Cous Cous and Oil Cured Tomato as well as classics with a twist like Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potato Mash and Green Apple Slaw. Of particular pride is the #16 Biscuits, named after the number of batches Cerrie tested to perfect its recipe.
“We are so proud to have Chef Cerrie at the head of our table,” said David Dickinson, general manager of Stella San Jac. “He’s found a way to really capture the spirit of Austin through flavor, texture and presentation. We can’t wait to welcome in travelers and locals alike for an exceptional and unique dining experience.”
“Austin is a young, vibrant and eclectic city – much like my cooking style. It’s exciting to be here,” said Cerrie. “It feels like we are all part of something that will definitely grow to be bigger than it is today.”
Stella San Jac will be open Sunday through Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. The restaurant will also serve guests daily in its unique lounge space between the hours of 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. The restaurant is now taking reservations via OpenTable and by phone at (512) 792-5648. To learn more information about Stella San Jacinto visit www.StellaSanJac.com.
About Stella San Jac
Stella San Jac is a Southern-style restaurant located on the ground floor of The Westin Austin Downtown at 310 East Fifth Street in Austin, Texas. Stella San Jac offers an eclectic Austin-American menu creatively constructed to be approachable, healthful and locally inspired. Open Sunday through Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 11 p.m., Stella San Jac and its unique lounge have the capacity to serve 150 guests. To learn more, visit www.StellaSanJac.com.