Photos by Megan Bradford

Simply put, I love my city.

But, San Antonio is far from simple.  To generalize my gratitude for this beautiful place to a mere cliché found in bold print on your typical tourist T-shirt would be doing my hometown a serious injustice. To me, San Antonio is a facilitator of culture, a haven to be different, and most importantly a home to all. It harnesses a balance of new and unique, as well as traditional and historical. This town recognizes the semblance of beauty in the tarnished and promise in the overlooked.

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In a world so fixated on the future in hopes that it offers “bigger” and “better,” San Antonio marvels at its own diverse history and incorporates it into its own modern, unique flare. Such displays in the raw take the form of local businesses, restaurants, museums, memorials, city parks, and so much more. Residing among this culturally innovative melting pot of originality and spunk are the people who made it so. 

Today I was reminded of how precious these people are to the dynamic of our community and city as a whole.

From a young age, my mother had always expressed to me the importance of stories and people choosing you to share them with. She’d say it was “a gift of time and a treasure that people wanted to share a piece of their soul with you.” 

My story today begins how all-noteworthy stories naturally do – revolved around food. I love my city; I really do, but even more so due to my love for food (seriously, its embarrassing how much control food has over my emotions).

In my search for must try local restaurants, I stumbled across the gem that is Rebelle. Recipient of Best New Restaurant by Pat Sharpe of Texas Monthly, Top 10 Best Restaurants in San Antonio Magazine, and ranked #6 in Express News for 100 Top restaurants in San Antonio for 2016, Rebelle is run in Texas’ only Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel, The St. Anthony located in the heart of downtown SA. (Told you this city was awesome). 

I coordinated an interview with head Chef Stefan Bowers with the intention of investigating all the hype. What I was not expecting was to instead find an establishment that epitomized the San Antonio vision, facilitated by a passionate dreamer.

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Chef Stefan Bowers

Andrew Goodman, a fan of Chef Bowers’ work at SA restaurant 20Nine, saw a potential in Bowers that resulted in a partnership of two successful establishments, one being Rebelle, and another to be opened in the next five months. This naturally instilled faith in community and the promise recognized in the local prospects is a San Antonian attribute unparalleled to any other city in the state of Texas.

Together the two incorporated the history of the original cattlemen hotel owners into the naming of the restaurant and added their own French twist with the name Rebelle (in typical San Antonio fashion).

From there, a separate entity of creative expression is found not only in the form of traditional American food mixed with new world flavors, but also in the eerie yet mysterious and romantic ambience intended for those looking for a more meaningful dining experience.

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But beyond the vision of instilling a renewed faith in the culinary scene in San Antonio is just another local resident with a story. Califiornia native, Chef Stefan Bowers served our country for five years in the Navy (where he met his wife DanCee) before he pursued his passion of cooking and settled down in DanCee’s hometown—you guessed it—San Antonio, TX.

To wrap up my hour with Stefan, I asked if he had any words of advice to aspiring chefs or anyone pursuing their dreams. His reply was short and sweet: “Don’t quit.” It is that exact mentality that reminds me of the strength, tenacity, and maybe even a little crazy that is encompassed by my community and what continues to set us apart.

So to you, Stefan Bowers, thank you for sharing a piece of your soul with me and proving my vision of this city true.

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