Born in the early 1950’s in Pittsburgh, PA., Jeff Blank was raised in Houston and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in hotel and restaurant management. While working at the Lakeway Resort in Austin, Texas., he met Great Chef Gert Rausch. They opened the Wineskin Restaurant in Snowmass, Colorado.,in 1973 and five years later, with no snow nor diners, they closed it. The lesson …never own a restaurant that is dependent on the weather.
Chef Jeff went on to work the next three years in San Antonio, and Chef Gert opened Austin’s Courtyard Restaurant. In 1984, Chef Blank moved to Austin, and tied up with Chef Rausch to open Hudson’s on the Bend. Great Chefs caught up with both chefs in 1986 and taped Chef Blank for their Great Chefs of the West series for sponsor Billy Arhos of KLRU-TV and the other 300+ PBS stations
In 2002, Billy Arhos and Terry Lickona who started and ran Austin City Limits, reached out to Chef Jeff Blank to help spearhead the Austin City Limit Music Festival’s food court. He invented a wrapped chicken in a tortilla and then popped into a paper drink cone and called it the “Hot’n’ Crunchy Chicken Cone”. In 2013, he opened the Mighty Cone, with different variations, in downtown Austin.
Hudson’s on the Bend still operates on the shores of Lake Travis, and Chef Jeff Blank still conducts cooking classes when time permits.