Austin's favorite new chefs need your help once again! On the heels its Best New Pastry Chef competition, Food & Wine Magazine has announced its second ever People's Choice Best New Chef competition. And out of 100 nominees nationwide — ten nominees from ten distinct regions — three Austin favorites have made the cut.
Not surprisingly, leading the Austin pack in representing the Southwest Region is newly-crowned Top Chef, Paul Qui (Uchiko/East Side Kings), who is accompanied by Top Chef comrade Andrew Curren (of 24 Diner and Easy Tiger fame) and North Loop's Ned Elliot (Foreign & Domestic).
Nominees for the competition are recognized for being "up-and-coming innovators who have run their own kitchens for five years or fewer." While Food & Wine narrowed down the pool to 100 U.S. chefs, the winner's circle will be determined by you, the larger dining public. Voting runs Monday, March 5 through Sunday, March 11.
Qui is enjoying some serious publicity. In addition to winning Top Chef: Texas, he was a StarChefs.com Austin/San Antonio Rising Star and is nominated for the 2012 Tastemaker Chef Award.
On Monday, March 12, Food & Wine will reveal the finalists from each region as well as the overall winner, who receives a feature in the July 2012 issue of the magazine.
As Austinites, we already know why Qui, Curren and Elliot shine, but here's what Food & Wine is saying about Austin's the three nominees:
Why he's amazing: Because he’s risen through the ranks of one of Austin’s most ambitious restaurants to create his unique, modern take on Japanese food.
Must-try dish: Karaage, fried chicken with green apples and pickled watermelon rind.
Why he's amazing: Because he’s running a 24-hour diner but still grinds his own hamburger meat and whips the cream for milk shakes by hand.
Must-try dish: Roasted banana-and-brown sugar milk shake.
Why he's amazing: Because he’s making elegant, upscale food in a down-and-dirty Austin spot.
Must-try dish: Crispy beef tongue with horseradish-yogurt sauce, microgreens and shaved watermelon radishes.
You can scope out the full list of nominees for the 2012 People's Best New Chef Competition here. And most importantly, you can start voting now.
Consider it an amuse-bouche for a foodie-centric spring in Austin (the 2012 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards take place on April 12, followed by the inaugural Austin Food & Wine Festival on April 27 - 29).