KATY MAGAZINE | July 2019 By Natalie Cook Clark
Casey Castro moved to America to attend law school, but his emerging passion for different types of cuisines set him on a different path. Today, Castro owns Astor Farm to Table in Katy, and proudly serves as the restaurant’s chef.
At Astor Farm to Table, Chef Casey Castro features dishes influenced by the flavors of Argentina, Venezuela and South Africa. The Mason Road restaurant welcomes customers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu showcases prime meats and fresh seafood prepared with marinades and sauces incorporating ingredients from all over the world.
Well-known in Katy
Many Katy residents recognize Castro as the owner of Fitness Bootcamp 4U. The physically-fit trainer motivates his clients to reach their fitness goals. Castro employs that same determination and drive with his cooking, and the restaurant.
Photo Courtesy: Fitness Bootcamp 4U Facebook Page
"I grew up in South Africa cooking with my mom and auntie."
Castro was raised in South Africa with his mother who worked as a private maid and a cook for a family there. He learned that food was in his blood. and some of his fondest memories were in the kitchen where he learned how to cook from scratch with his mom and aunt.
"We didn't have a lot but my mom always managed to make the food very tasty," says Castro.
Following His Dream
Castro talked to his wife Fernanda about opening a restaurant to incorporate dishes from his background.
"My wife inspired me to open this restaurant."
"I love different food and culture so meeting my wife and living in Katy I was able to try a lot of different cuisine. I enjoyed a lot the Argentinian and the Venezuelan cuisine," says Castro.
Castro opened an Argentinian cafe and bakery, but after eight months, the business struggled. Castro brought in an assistant chef and they started serving Venezuelan cuisine as well.
South African Babotie
"My customers started requesting South African food," says Castro. “Katy has places that claim they are South African cuisine but they aren't. I want to bring true, authentic flavors of South Africa to Katy."
In order to prepare the most authentic South African dishes, Castro needed to go to the best source he knows.
Argentinian Parrillada Grill
Mom Shares Authentic Recipes
Casey called his mom and said: "I have a restaurant and my customers are requesting my South African cuisine. I could not think of anyone that cooks better than you, so can I get all the recipes?"
His mother laughed and thought he was a little crazy. But after much discussion, and practicing the recipes together via video Skype, Castro added his mother’s dishes to the Astor Farm to Table menu.
The Castro Family: Junior, Juan, Fernanda, Casen, Casey and Pía
Castro has created a special dining experience in Katy. A place where customers can just feel that he's put so much love and work into the restaurant. Castro hopes to continue growing his business and the experience he offers diners.
"We want to make a difference."
Castro can't add award-winning chef to his accomplishes just yet but he says, "as small business owner, papa and mommy business coming from Africa and open a business in America where the community love and support is more than anything I can ask."
"I've managed or waited at restaurants for over 10 years but now being the one man show and the chef is a challenge," says Castro. "But a challenge I'm enjoying."
"We want to make a difference where you come in as customer and leave as family," says Castro.