Once again, Texas is represented Food & Wine’s prestigious Best New Chefs in America list. This time it’s Kevin Fink, of Austin. His restaurant, Emmer & Rye, also made Texas Monthly’s list of the ten best new restaurants in Texas that we published in March. At that time, we wrote: “There’s local and then there’s local. At Emmer & Rye, starry-eyed food fanatics grow exotic mushrooms in raised beds beside the restaurant, grind non-GMO heirloom grains for breads and pastries, and butcher pigs and lambs in the kitchen instead of buying them ready-cut into chops and roasts. . . . . The heart and mind behind the operation belong to 31-year-old Kevin Fink, who spent time at the French Laundry, in California, and Noma, in Denmark.”
The winners will be featured in Food & Wine’s July issue and will also be showcased at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 17–19.
Texas has been a major presence on the national culinary magazine’s recent lists. In 2014, the Lone Star State honorees were Justin Yu of Oxheart (Houston), Paul Qui of Qui (Austin), and Matt McCallister of FT33 (Dallas). And in 2015, Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas of Olamaie (Austin) made the finals.
The magazine’s press release explained the selection process, stating that their editors “choose the Best New Chefs after a months-long selection process. The editors solicit nominations from restaurant critics, food writers and other trusted experts around the country, searching for talented, creative chefs who have been in charge of a kitchen for five years or fewer. The editors then travel incognito to taste the food.”
Food & Wine’s 2016 list, announced April 4, also includes David Barzelay of Lazy Bear (San Francisco); Michael Gulotta of MoPho and Tana (New Orleans); Edouardo Jordan of Salare (Seattle); Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club (San Francisco); Brad Kilgore of Alter (Miami); Iliana Regan of Elizabeth and Bunny, the micro bakery (Chicago); Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls (Washington, D.C.); Jeremiah Stone & Fabián von Hauske of Contra and Wildair (New York City); and Kris Yenbamroong of Night + Market and Night + Market Song (Los Angeles).