Three Texas chefs grabbed spots on Food & Wine’s prestigious Best New Chefs in America list, which was announced April 3. The honorees are Yoshi Okai of Otoko in Austin and Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of Mixtli in San Antonio.
Both restaurants have been prominently featured in Texas Monthly. In February, we named Otoko to our list of the ten best new restaurants in the state, writing, “Four days a week, a dozen or so lucky souls wend their way to an aerie above South Congress Avenue. Awaiting their arrival are young sushi chef Yoshi Okai and his merry band, ready and eager to slice the best fish in the city. . . . Two menus are offered: on Wednesdays, globally sourced sushi and sashimi; other nights a mix of fish and meat.”
A February review in our dining guide said: “Mixtli, a paragon of Mexican restaurants (in spite of being housed in a box car on a railroad spur), offers dinners of eight or nine small courses, chosen to highlight one region or facet of Mexico.”
Food & Wine’s 2017 list also includes restaurants in Orcas Island (near Seattle), San Francisco, Portland, New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. Texas has been a major presence on the national culinary magazine’s recent lists. In 2016, Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye in Austin was selected. In 2015, Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas of Olamaie in Austin made the finals. In 2014, the Lone Star honorees were Justin Yu of Oxheart in Houston, Paul Qui of Qui in Austin, and Matt McCallister of FT33 in Dallas. Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston took home the honor in 2013.
On April 4, the winners will be celebrated at Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs party in New York. They will also will be featured in the July issue and will be showcased at the Food & Wine Classic, a food festival in Aspen, June 16–18. In a press release, Food & Wine explained that their editors develop the list following a months-long selection process. They solicit nominations from restaurant critics, food writers, and other experts around the country. Then F&W editors travel incognito to test the food.