Major: Culinary Arts
Job Title: Executive Chef/Owner, The Weissman Restaurant Group
Location: San Antonio, TX
After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Andrew Weissman immediately headed to France to train under Master Chef Jacques Thiebeult. He then worked as a stagier at Restaurant Bernard Andrieux, Hotel de la Poste and at the world-renowned Restaurant Troigros in Roanne before heading back to the U.S. to help open Le Cirque 2000 in New York City.
In 1998, the San Antonio, TX native returned home and opened Restaurant Le Rêve (The Dream) with his wife and business partner Maureen. “I started Le Rêve with $43,000. Within six years Gourmet magazine recognized it as the sixth-best restaurant in the country and Texas Monthly named it the Best Restaurant in Texas,” recalls Andrew. After being open for 11 years with a consistent three-month wait list, the Weissman’s decided to close. “We were never home and I didn’t want my kids growing up without a dad around,” explained Andrew.
Today, the four-time James Beard Foundation nominee for Best Chef Southwest is the executive chef and owner of the Weissman Restaurant Group with a stable of restaurants in San Antonio including Osteria Il Sogno, The Sandbar Fish House & Market, The Luxury, Big’z Burger Joint, Sip Brew Bar & Eatery, and Moshe’s Golden Falafal named after his youngest son. New on the horizon is Signature by Andrew Weissman, a fine dining restaurant at La Cantera Resort & Spa; and a chicken sandwich shop called Max n’ Ella’s Chicken Shack, named after his other two children.
A consummate businessman, Andrew doesn’t spend money on advertising but relies instead on word of mouth. In choosing locales for his restaurants he likes second-generation locations. “I’m able to go somewhere someone else may have failed in,” he says. “There is an opportunity there in the amount of money you have to pay landlords. I always try to go somewhere I can negotiate down the rent and bring an original concept into an area like Olmos Park—one of San Antonio’s up-and coming food corridors. It’s five blocks from my house and I find that very life-enriching. This can become a very walkable part of our city and I want to be a part of that. And my neighbors are my clientele.”
The success of all his restaurants is a testament to one of Andrew’s key strengths—a love of good food, no matter how humble or exalted. “While I would love to be in the kitchen cooking, my role is now more of a restaurateur,” says Andrew, “which allows me time with my family.”