Sept. 13, 2022 – Speer described it as a “hazy cycle” of working and partying that was encouraged by restaurant managers and owners because of how it kept staff tight-knit and locked in. A hard day’s work was often rewarded with free alcohol. Then, Speer and his colleagues would head to nearby industry bars to carouse with other restaurant folks. The merry-go-round would come to a halt only when someone got hurt or arrested, Speer said, but it never stopped for long.

Over the years, Speer got a number of wake-up calls that his behavior was tied to something deeper than his profession. He racked up multiple DWIs. His marriage failed, along with other relationships. He didn’t always do his best at work. 

He ignored the red flags until he couldn’t any longer. One night in October 2014, just days after the opening of his new Austin restaurant, St. Philip, Speer rolled over his car while intoxicated and crashed into a live gas main. He was found unconscious in the grass, still wearing his chef uniform, according to news reports.


[ninja-popup ID=12216]