Eat the Vote

Local chefs nominated for Food and Wine award

laV's dream team, including nominated executive chef Allison Jenkins (r). Vilma Mazaite (center), director of wine, was recently named Food and Wine's Top Sommeliers of 2015 (photo by John Anderson)

If there’s one thing that Sarah Palin and we agree on, it’s that “We need a foreign policy that distinguishes America's friends from her enemies.” Wait, that’s not it. It’s that voting is fundamental to our democracy. That’s why we are doing our civic duty and voting for Food and Wine’s People’s Best New Chef.

The venerable magazine has been naming their most favorite-ist upcoming chefs for years, but before now have never poured one out for the proletariat. After a secret process that we can only imagine involved some amount of eating and drinking, they have narrowed the list down to several regions, each with a handful of finalists.

In the Southwestern category, Texas dominates with seven of the ten nominees. Four of that group hail from Austin. F&W cites Allison Jenkins (laV) for her “rustic yet refined Mediterranean cooking.” Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas (Olamaie) were recognized for their “passion for classic Southern cooking, locavorism and innovation.” Alexis Chong (recently departed from Sway) is “setting Austin’s taste buds on fire with her terrific Thai dishes,” and Andrew Wiseheart (Gardner, Contigo) impresses with “thoughtful vegetable preparations” and “terrific rustic meat dishes.”

They join Dallas’ Omar Flores (Casa Rubia) and Houston’s Adam Dorris (Pax Americana) and Ryan Pera (Cultivate Pizza & Garden, Revival Market). Alexander Figura (Denver’s Lower48 Kitchen), Steven Redzikowski (Boulder’s Oak at Fourteenth, Denver’s Acorn), and Briar Handly (Park City’s Handle) are also on the list. You can vote for them if you are really lame (or just really respect their mad culinary skills), but the cool kids know how to keep it local. Polls are open today through April 8.

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Food and Wine, Alexis Chong, Allison Jenkins, Andrew Wiseheart, Michael Fojtasek, Grae Nonas

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