Following graduation from Oberlin College, Stephen Austin moved to France to study under the French Masters, from Chef Joel Robuchon at Jamin, to Great Chefs Guy Savoy at his namesake restaurant, and Georges Blanc at La Mere Blanc.
He then returned to New York to work under Great Chefs David Burke at River Café and Gilbert La Coze at Le Bernardin. In 1994, Chef Austin moved down to Atlanta as opening executive chef of Chef Gilbert’s Brasserie Le Coze.
Later that year, he started work on his own restaurant, but in the meantime worked for friends who owned the Horseradish Grill. The following year in 1995, he opened his Hedgerose Heights Inn and shortly thereafter, Great Chefs, who were supposed to film him at Brasserie Le Coze, finally caught up to him to tape him preparing dishes for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the South. Condé Naste Traveler called Hedgerose Heights Inn one of the 50 Best Restaurants in America in 1996.
In 1997, Chef Austin heeded the call to get out of the kitchen and into more culinary management. He joined Brinker International until 2002, when he became head of business dining for ARAMARK. He left them in 2014 to become manager of Eurest, for the Compass Group North America.