Biga on the Banks
James Beard Award Nominee for “Best Chef | Southwest” 2000 – 2011
Bruce Auden, a native North Londoner, is well known for his adventuresome, original and creative menus. Recognized early in his career as one to watch among the new rising stars of regional cuisine, Auden brought a worldly fusion of influences to his brand of nouvelle American cuisine. One reviewer declared Auden’s dishes “extraordinary creations that play havoc with tradition.” His pitch-perfect style brings a lighthearted touch to serious gastronomy, earning his restaurants a loyal fan base of foodies and non-foodies alike for over twenty-five years.
When Biga’s enthusiastic audience finally outgrew its limited table space, Auden teamed with business partners Peter Selig, Perny Shea, and Don Thomas to open the premiere contemporary-regional fine dining restaurant on the River Walk.
Since launching to rave reviews in 2000, accolades for Chef Auden and Biga on the Banks have consistently emanated from tastemakers such as Texas Monthly, Gourmet, and other high profile publications. Biga maintains the highest Zagat rating of any fine dining restaurant on the River Walk. And, Chef Auden has been honored with multiple nominations to the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef / Southwest Award, including the most recent in 2011.
In 1991, Auden opened his first chef-owned restaurant, Restaurant Biga. Wife and artisan bread baker Debra Auden launched LocuStreet Bakery in the same cozy location, contributing to a happy culinary marriage of the high-toned and the rustic. In its first year, Biga earned a spot on Esquire’s “Best Bars and Restaurants” list. Nation’s Restaurant News named Biga to its“Fine Dining Hall of Fame,” 1996. At the peak of its popularity, luminaries of the cooking world Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child and others were guests.
In 1985, Auden moved from Houston to the San Antonio market and promptly put the Fairmont Hotel’s restaurant, Polo’s, on the culinary map, serving “the most provocative food in the city” (Texas Monthly, 1987). Honors and awards for the ambitious new restaurant kept coming, including a spot on Esquire Magazine’s “Best Bars and Restaurants” list in 1991.
Still “six foot one and whippet-thin,” as pegged by Patricia Sharpe of Texas Monthly in 1987, Chef Auden maintains his chops (and his fighting weight) by pouring his creative energy into Biga on the Banks. Chef Auden and wife Debra have four beautiful children and live, garden, and raise various pets at the edge of the Hill Country in Fischer, Texas.
Opened in 2000, Biga on the Banks is the premiere contemporary-regional fine dining restaurant on the San Antonio River Walk. Perfectly situated near downtown’s upscale hotels and entertainment venues, Biga offers patrons sweeping views of a quiet, cypress-shaded bend in the River. Contemporary chic interiors offer a relaxed ambience, the perfect showcase for Chef/Owner Bruce Auden’s award-winning New American cuisine.
Chef Auden is joined on the management team by Biga partner Perny Shea. Ms. Shea is Director of Special Events, and leads Biga’s private dining team. She brings her warm personal style and strong management expertise to the party, helping to make Biga the preferred private dining destination on the River Walk for corporate events, wedding celebrations, and special occasions.
Bruce Auden, Chef/Owner
Martin Stembera, Chef de Cuisine, Partner
Amy Delbridge, Pastry Chef