Erin Smith opened Feges BBQ with her husband Patrick Feges in March 2018. With their combined fine dining experience and Patrick’s barbecue expertise, Feges BBQ offers a new approach to barbecue combining traditional flavors and modern interpretations of classics.
Erin graduated from Texas Tech University in 2005 with a degree in Biological Sciences and a double minor in Spanish and Chemistry. She immediately started applying her science background in an unexpected way when she began her culinary career at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduating at the top of her class, she took a position at New York City’s acclaimed Per Se restaurant, working under the culinary leadership of Thomas Keller and Jonathan Benno. Following that, Erin held positions with Italian Wine Merchants and Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York before returning to her native Houston in 2010 to serve as executive chef of Plonk!Beer & Wine Bistro. She consulted on the opening of Montrose’s Blacksmith, developing an award-winning menu for the craft coffee bar before taking over as culinary director for Blacksmith’s parent organization, Clumsy Butcher. In that role she oversaw both menu and staff development at The Hay Merchant, Anvil Bar & Refuge and The Pastry War while continuing to manage the culinary side of Blacksmith.
In 2014, Erin was named executive chef of the new JW Marriott Downtown where she managed the property’s signature restaurant Main Kitchen as well as in-room dining and banquet operations. In May 2016, she competed in an episode of the Food Network series Chopped, beating out three rival chefs to win the high-visibility competition. Before opening Feges BBQ, Erin worked as a sommelier at wine bar Camerata to hone her front-of-house skills.
In 2017, Erin co-founded I’ll Have What She’s Having, a female-led organization focused on mentorship, healthcare, and community for Houston’s hospitality industry. She served as the Board Secretary for 7 years and helped the organization establish by-laws, file for 501c3 status, and grow in membership and fundraising during that time.
In the fall of 2023, Erin was selected to participate in the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program taught through Cornell University. The program concluded in early December, leaving Erin with new skills and resources that will surely serve her well as she continues to grow her business and pursues other professional endeavors.