40, restaurateur, San Antonio
What Stephan Pyles, Dean Fearing, and Robert Del Grande were to the last generation—the state’s biggest-brand celebrities in the fine-dining arena—this Alamo City native may well be to the next. A broadcast journalist by training (he has a degree in radio-TV-film from the University of North Texas, in Denton), Weissman got his start as a foodie on a lark: While freelancing out of the NBC News bureau in Mexico City, he began cooking meals for visiting reporters, one of whom told him he ought to consider changing professions. Whatever the message was—“You’re a fine cook” or “You’re a lousy journalist”—he got it. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, he worked in restaurants in France and New York and then returned to his hometown in 1998 to open Le Rêve, a chic French bistro that has won accolades in and out of Texas. He has since opened, also in San Antonio, Sip, a coffee shop; Sandbar, a casual fish house and market; and Big’z Burger Joint. Coming next: a true Parisian cheese shop, set to open this year, and—maybe—a restaurant of undetermined genre he hopes to develop in the soon-to-be-renovated Pearl Brewery building. Our mouths are watering already.