Have a foodie fantasy. That is to say, put yourself in Shawn Cirkiel’s shoes. The chef worked in culinary hotspots throughout the country, from Manhattan to Napa, before making his mark deep in the heart of Texas. Cirkiel’s Austin restaurants—parkside, the backspace, and olive & june—have made him a local hero, and rising star in American cooking.

We were lucky enough to take a tour of Cirkiel’s stomping grounds, getting the inside scoop on where to grab a great doughnut at 7:30 a.m., and where to kick back and enjoy a smooth Cuervo tequila on a hot Texas night. Click above for more of his story.