West Texas Book Festival

Chef Biographies



Tim Byres

Tim Byres is co-owner and Chef of Dallas' acclaimed restaurant, Smoke. Returning to his roots and the basics of his culinary education, Tim pulled from his experiences of growing up in California, the traditions of the old-world kitchens in Belgium and the front-porch folklore and backyard bar-b-que recipes he found on his recent travels across the U.S. Named as one of the Best Chefs in DFW by the Dallas Morning News and the People's Best New Chef by Food and Wine magazine, Byres has been also asked to speak by leaders in the environmentally sustainable community in reference to his "bloom where you are planted" approach to cooking with what is available to us both locally and regionally.

Tim Byres

Cindy Burch

In 1992 Cindy Burch and her husband opened a little restaurant in the back of her mother’s gift shop on the historic town square of Waxahachie, Texas. To their delight, they found their 30 seat tearoom was filled with customers that loved their food and many more waiting to be seated. Within months her husband quit his full time job to take over the business end of things, while she began preparing as much food as possible each morning with a sweet little lady who would tirelessly appear each day to bake homemade pies, cakes and cobblers.

Southeast of the town square, the Dove’s Nest Restaurant now occupies the saddle and tack room in their 12,000 square foot building, and serves New Southern Cuisine to over 100 hungry mouths daily. They have received three and one half stars in the Dallas Morning News, coined the phrase, "It’s Worth Flying South” in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and most recently, Texas Monthly Magazine voted them one of the top ten best small town restaurants in the state. They have also been reviewed in both Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens magazines, along with multiple appearances on Good Morning Texas and Good Day Dallas, promoting their cookbook.
Cindy Burch

Sharon Sayre Riley

Sharon Sayre Riley has been involved with the restaurant business in Abilene since 1985, when she and her father opened Cahoots Catfish and Oyster Bar...a successful seafood restaurant that Sharon owned until 2002. In 2000 Sharon opened Lytle  Land and Cattle Company, a full service steak and seafood restaurant that has won  Best Restaurant in the Abilene Reporter News Reader's Choice  several times through the years. On her own after 2002 and being involved only with Lytle Land and Cattle Company, Sharon missed the barbecue business and opened a new restaurant, "Sharon's Barbeque". Sharon's Barbeque has won Best Barbeque for several years. Sharon expanded her catering operation in 2012 and opened Sharon's Catering

Sharon has served on numerous boards in Abilene including the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, Abilene Chamber of Commerce, Western Heritage Classic, Taylor County Expo Center, United Way, and others. Sharon was honored in 2008 as one of the first three people to be inducted into the Abilene Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.

Sharon Riley

Robb Walsh

Robb Walsh is the author of Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook. He is also the co-founder and Board Member of Foodways Texas, and a consulting partner in Houston's El Real Tex-Mex Cafe. Walsh has been a restaurant critic for the Houston Press, a food columnist for Natural History magazine, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Chile Pepper magazine.




Robb Walsh

Events | Featured Authors
Cookbook Gala | Culinary Cuisine Luncheon
Boots & Books Luncheon
A.C. Greene Award | Around Abilene
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