Adam Gonzales: Gonzales is the founding chef and co-owner of Austin's popular Tex-Mex restaurant chain Serranos, which is well-known for mesquite-grilled specialties. The Serranos location at Symphony Square has hosted the judges for the Hot Sauce Festival every year the festival has been held in nearby Waterloo Park. After his appearance in the new cooking demo tent, he'll be welcomed at the judges table.
Robb Walsh (host and head judge): Walsh was one of the founders of the annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival when he served as Food editor of this publication in the early Nineties. He lives in Houston and reviews restaurants for the Houston Press. He has authored several books on Texas cooking and has won James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards.
Paula Disbrowe: Food writer and city girl Disbrowe covered all kinds of stories for major food magazines and newspapers until an assignment at a Texas dude ranch brought with it a career change to working cowgirl chef. Her first cookbook, Cowgirl Cuisine: Rustic Recipes and Cowgirl Adventures From a Texas Ranch, was borne out of that experience. Disbrowe now lives in Austin and regularly collaborates with chefs as a cookbook author.
David Garrido: European-born Garrido began his cooking career under Southwestern cuisine pioneers Stephan Pyles and Bruce Auden. For many years, Garrido was executive chef of the Jeffrey's restaurants in Austin and Washington, D.C., and he's also co-owner of O's Campus Cafe on the UT campus. Formerly executive chef of Chuy's Comida Deluxe, he opened Garrido's (360 Nueces, 320-8226, www.garridosaustin.com) in the spring of 2009.
Alan Lazarus: Executive chef and co-owner of the highly acclaimed Vespaio and South Congress hot spot Enoteca Vespaio next door, Lazarus has long been recognized as one of Austin's top toques. After more than 35 years of cooking in Austin, one of his newest interests is organic gardening, raising herbs and tomatoes to be featured in his popular restaurants.
Jay McCarthy: Former San Antonio chef McCarthy is now executive chef of the Beaver Creek Chophouse in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, but he still finds time to teach beef cookery to visiting international chefs on behalf of the Texas Beef Council. A native of Jamaica, McCarthy is co-author (with Robb Walsh) of Traveling Jamaica With Knife, Fork & Spoon: A Righteous Guide to Jamaican Cookery.
Rebecca Rather: This native Texan is the pastry chef and owner of the nationally known Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe on Main Street in Fredericksburg. She is the author of two award-winning cookbooks, The Pastry Queen and The Pastry Queen Christmas. Her new book, Pastry Queen Parties: Entertaining Friends & Family, Texas Style, comes out this fall.
Tyson Cole: Chef Cole studied under sushi masters in New York and Tokyo before opening his wildly successful multicultural restaurant Uchi in Austin several years ago. Cole has garnered national attention as one of the Top 10 Best New Chefs of 2005 in Food & Wine magazine and as a competitor on the Food Network's Iron Chef. He has been voted the Best Chef in Austin by the readers of the Austin Chronicle four years in a row.