Executive Chef & Partner
A born storyteller, Houston native Kate McLean began her culinary career with stints at restaurants in Colorado, Hawaii, and France. After her return to Houston, her career took her on a life changing path at Tony’s where she met her culinary mentor & muse, Tony Vallone. Working with him side-by-side Kate worked as sous chef and was promoted to executive chef in 2013. The first female chef to have ever been assigned that position, she and Tony pursued a passion for formal dining, impeccable service, and the non-starter caveat to only using the best ingredients. Their mantra – “first in season, first at Tony’s.”
Taking leave from the kitchen in 2017, Kate followed her other love of writing and penned stories for the Houston Press, Houston City Book, Houston Chronicle and in partnership with GOW Media produced and co-hosted a weekly podcast, titled Pre-Shift with Kate and Brossa, which highlighted the behind-the-scenes intricacies of the restaurant industry.
In 2022, Donna Vallone, Tony’s wife, and Lauri Vallone Mazzini, their daughter, invited Kate to rejoin the team as they carve out Tony’s next chapter. She leapt with both feet back in—returning as Executive Chef and Partner at Tony’s.
Today she is equal parts chef and writer inspired to share & tell personal stories through her food.