The 28th installment of Revival Tune-Ups Guest Playlist Series comes from one of the most lauded Austin chefs of the last two decades. Philip Speer is a long-time friend of the shop who is equally enthusiastic about his Ducati and BMW motorcycles, cooking, and healthy living.
A James Beard-nominated chef, Philip rose to fame with the Uchi team in 2005. The degree of creativity that came out of those years with Uchi and Uchiko put Austin on the culinary map as it had never been before.
That level of success inevitably brings challenges, and the restaurant industry is not for the weak. The hours are brutal; you are surrounded by alcohol and drugs, and the drive to maintain is as intense as anything most people will experience. Philip was not immune, and the lifestyle became too much, ultimately forcing him to leave the Uchi crew to focus on his health.
Instead of allowing those challenges to derail his life, Philip turned them into a platform to support the industry he loves by advocating for sobriety. His path of recovery led to an all too brief venture into French cuisine at the fantastic Bonhomie and the launch of My Name Is Joe, a coffee trailer that employed folks who needed a chance to get clean.
In 2019 he opened one of Austin's most talked-about new concepts, Comedor. A year into the project, COVID-19 brought massive hurdles, but Philip pivoted and created Assembly. The move allowed his team to keep working and reinvented the meal kit with local and organic components for your family or group to virtually gather and create in their own kitchens.
If you ask Philip which of his accomplishments he is most proud of, founding Comedor Run Club and being the Austin Chair of Ben's Friends is undoubtedly at the top of the list. What started as a way to focus on his sobriety has grown into an important support mechanism for others in the industry who struggle with substance abuse, addiction, depression, and mental health.
So go support Philip at Comedor or order Assembly and turn up his playlist as you learn how to be a top chef. You can also give him a follow on Instagram @philipspeer.
"We do recover, maybe through luck, definitely through work, day by day, we do get better." - Philip Speer.