During three decades as an active foodservice entrepreneur Bill Stephens wrote over 1,000 weekly wine and food columns for Harte-Hanks, Murdoch, and Hearst newspapers. His food and wine features appeared in Wine News, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, and Chef. His short story “The Decanter – A Christmas Carol” is the only fiction ever published in Wine News.
Stephens has traveled the world and written many travel features in The San Antonio Express News (circ. 300,000). He has published in Field and Stream, and his short story, “Toby Tire’s Erratic Curve Ball,” was published in Texas A&M University English Department’s “Big Tex(t)” Ezine.
A passionate amateur cook and wine aficionado for most of his early life, Bill Stephens “always wanted to have a restaurant.” During his many years traveling and selling equipment to the world’s largest construction projects, he made it a point to dine in the finest restaurants on four continents. At age thirty he forsook the comforts of the corporate life, and opened My Place Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.
Now, twenty-five years after he sold My Place to someone who “always wanted a restaurant,” (the new owner failed and closed the restaurant in less that one year), My Place is still remembered as an institution by his customers. Stephens successfully diversified into other types of food service.
At one point during his three-decade tour of duty in active food service, he concurrently owned and operated a leading San Antonio white tablecloth restaurant, three airline in-flight kitchens, three employee feeding facilities, catered a dinner train, and his company was third largest off-premise caterer in South Texas.
Stephen’s catering clients included Texas governors, presidential candidates, the family of the King of Saudi Arabia, The Prince of Wales, Pope John Paul II, Tom Jones, Neal Diamond, Willie Nelson, and many other notables.
He has traveled extensively in the wine growing areas of Australia, France, Spain, South America, Germany, and The United States. He developed and imported his own wine brands from California, Australia, and New Zealand, and also developed and marketed his own brands of beer (Sportz Beer) and tequila (Don Sergio Tequila).
Stephens served as a wine competition judge in the Sonoma Harvest Fair, The Sonoma County Wine Festival, and the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition. He has lectured many times at The Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, and served many consecutive years as broadcast auctioneer for South Texas public television stations’ fundraisers. Stephens also served as Executive Chairman of The San Antonio Express News Wine Festival (www.sawinefest.com).
His fun loving approach to wine and food makes him sought after as a speaker and for cooking demonstrations for civic and social groups and TV talk shows. He has food-styled for television commercial clients from Burger King and Budweiser to Plantation Poultry and Roegelein Provision Company.
He graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in engineering and studied postgraduate economics and creative writing at Trinity University, San Antonio. He is a past President of the San Antonio Restaurant Association, past Director of The Texas Restaurant Association, founder of the Cordon Bleus Brothers, an anonymous organization dedicated to feeding the homeless, and the 25th inductee into the Dallas Morning News/Texas Department of Agriculture “Who’s Who in Texas Food and Wine.”
Stephens is a avid outdoorsman and has hunted and fished from Alaska to Mexico. He and his motorcycle gang, Los Compadres, have ridden their Harleys from border-to-border and coast-to-coast in the USA and ridden over 12,000 miles in Mexico.
He lives in San Antonio, Texas. His company, Bill Stephens Associates, is an active restaurant consulting firm specializing in independent restaurants. (www.independent-restaurant-consultants.com).