Inspired by memories of Saturday dinner at her Oma’s house and fueled by a deep love for food, award-winning Chef Natalie Trevino embarked on a culinary adventure that brought The Roughian, a culinary style inviting connection, storytelling, and the joy of shared experiences, to Corpus Christi.

Chef Natalie Trevino recalls the earliest days of her childhood, where her fascination with food guided her every move. While other children were content with their toys, Natalie was drawn to cartoon scenes where the little animals were eating. But it wasn’t so much the eating that fascinated her, it was the art of creation and cooking the food.


She also recalls time spent in her Oma’s garden as a child, where the lush surroundings of the prolific garden became a backdrop for a simulated cooking show. Oma's workbench transformed into a stage for Natalie to concoct imaginary dishes with the greenery passing for Oregano or a Watercress salad, while sharing her culinary dreams with the fence pickets, emulating the cooking shows she watched on TV.

This innate connection to food, this impulse to create, to talk to an audience, and to share, has always been at the core of Natalie's being, shaping her journey from childhood play to the tables she sets today.

The concept of a dinner party began when her Oma was diagnosed with Celiac disease at 79, and she lost the ability to eat her favorite foods. As the chef in the family, Natalie took on the role of being Oma’s personal cook. To bring back those Saturday nights that Oma relished going to her favorite restaurants, Natalie would create many gluten-free food options, decorate the table with flowers, and serve wine to mimic the dinners Oma loved so much.

“When dessert came, she couldn’t finish it after eating so much,” Natalie explains. “She would take the rest home and save it for coffee. We called it a ‘schnecken.’”

After Oma passed away, Natalie was overcome with sadness and coupled with the frustration from being unable to find a job in the city, and recovering from a major illness, it felt as though Natalie had hit rock bottom.  

During her recovery period, Natalie also spent a lot of time consuming culinary content on Pinterest, YouTube, and cooking shows to pass the time, but soon realized that life was too short and she needed to work towards her dreams.


She was confident of her talents and her worth as a chef, and just needed someone to give her a chance, so she decided to create a dinner party and send out an invitation to multiple people. Natalie promoted the event on social media, sent invitations to friends, family, and people she hadn’t seen from high school, hoping for the best. This dinner party was special, not only because it was helping Natalie cope with her sadness and embark on her culinary dreams, but also because it was held at her Oma’s house.  

The turnout was incredible, but on the day of the dinner party, Natalie panicked and felt that she needed to tell her guests what they were eating. She wasn’t keen on it at first, because she was afraid she would trip upon her words, but now, it’s her favorite part of dinner service at The Roughian because she can see people’s reactions when they hear the story behind each meal.   

“Learning the history and origin story of all the dishes we eat is one of my favorite parts of dinner service,” explains Natalie. 

Taking this leap of faith allowed Natalie to reignite that spark in her that had faded during her time of grief. She was the class clown and was voted most humorous in high school. Always a fun and bright person, Natalie’s star had disappeared, but now she was starting to shine brightly again.  

Everything Natalie experienced translates into the stellar experience provided at a Roughian dinner party.


When she talks about The Roughian, Natalie’s passion is evident. “Everything that I am is in these four walls – truly,” she explains. “I’m happy that people love it and keep coming back.” 

The food served at The Roughian is fundamental based. The culinary school Natalie attended uses the method of Augustus Escoffier, the father of cooking from France, and he focuses on technique – not recipes. Once those techniques are down, everything else can be variable. Although Natalie fell in love with French cooking, she was raised eating brisket and breakfast tacos, so her menu offers traditional French cooking with a fun play from South Texas flavors.

Traditionally, The Roughian was known for its reservation-only, pop-up dinner service that brought an elevated dining experience to groups of people in locations that were only revealed the night before the event. To meet the growing demand of dinner parties, it has expanded into a space of its own, a “home” where guests attend dinner and brunch events with a curated multi-course meal. 


When guests reserve a dinner party at The Roughian, they’re treated like guests in Natalie’s home. The dining setup is designed like community seating, so guests choose their seat and get to meet new people. There is a glass of water at each place setting, and bartenders arrive, taking orders for wine. At 7:00 p.m., Natalie and her team enter the dining room to prepare and serve the first course. Then, Natalie rings the bell and introduces herself, before explaining the story behind the course.  

The menu features a multi-course meal of carefully curated dishes, including seasonal cuisine, followed by coffee and a schnecken – just like Oma would have.

Currently, The Roughian hosts reservation-only supper club on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, including walk-in brunch on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., but Natalie is hoping to soon expand those offerings to include a Saturday brunch.

To learn more about Natalie and The Roughian, visit: