Misti Norris, chef and owner of Petra and the Beast, in Dallas, is one of Food & Wine’s ten best new chefs in America. The prestigious annual list, released Tuesday, is yet another honor for Norris, whose restaurant landed at number seven on Texas Monthly’s round-up of the best new restaurants in Texas for 2019, published in March.
In lauding Norris’s culinary ethos, Food & Wine waxed poetic, applauding her for “digging into her ancestral archives to perfect her Cajun charcuterie, and then—why not?—choosing to throw wildflowers into the curing liquid, like Ophelia with a meat grinder.” In our write-up, we cited her hallmark techniques of foraging, fermenting, and whole-animal cookery and described the humble, idiosyncratic East Dallas space where she practices her craft, a small dining room adorned with bundles of dried herbs and baskets of bleached bones.
Norris has also been nominated for best chef in Dallas in the CultureMap’s 2019 Tastemaker Awards, with winners to be announced April 25.
Food & Wine’s list this year—its thirty-first—makes a special point of recognizing the contributions of women and people of color to America’s culinary culture. “This is what food looks like right now,” restaurant editor Jordana Rothman writes, “at the edge of a decade of transformation in American restaurants. An age in which fine dining loosened up; in which the food world recognized the limitations of a Eurocentric culture and came to understand what it was missing without kimchi and nam prik and jerk; in which critics wondered, blindly, where all the women and people of color were hiding, then found them in plain sight, aprons knotted, heads down, sometimes twice as good but half as seen . . . and so here we are, at the tail of one decade and the head of another, this next one more thrilling, more radical, and more inclusive for its spirit of revolution—and because of that infinitely more delicious.”
The chefs named to the 2019 list comprise six men and four women hailing from California to New York and from Washington, D.C., to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Texas has been a frequent presence in Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs lineup since it began in 1988. Texas made the list in six of the past seven years, and overall, twenty-five Texas chefs (representing twenty-two restaurants) have been selected. Here’s the list in case you’re curious:
- 2019: Misti Norris (Petra and the Beast, Dallas)
- 2017: Yoshi Okai (Otoko, Austin), Diego Galicia and Rico Torres (Mixtli, San Antonio)
- 2016: Kevin Fink (Emmer & Rye, Austin)
- 2015: Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas (Olamaie, Austin)
- 2014: Matt McCallister (FT33, Dallas), Paul Qui (Qui, Austin), Justin Yu (Oxheart, Houston)
- 2013: Chris Shepherd (Underbelly, Houston)
- 2011: Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine, Austin)
- 2009: Bryan Caswell (Reef, Houston)
- 2005: Tyson Cole (Uchi, Austin)
- 2003: David Bull (Driskill Grill, Austin) and Scott Tycer (Aries, Houston)
- 2001: Will Packwood (Emilia’s, Austin)
- 1998: Danielle Custer (Laurels, Dallas)
- 1997: George W. Brown Jr. (Seventeen Seventeen, Dallas)
- 1996: Monica Pope (Boulevard Bistrot, Houston)
- 1994: Michael Cordúa (Churrascos, Houston)
- 1990: David Holben and Lori Finkelman Short (both at the Riviera, Dallas)
- 1988: Bruce Auden (Polo’s, San Antonio) and Robert McGrath (Four Seasons, Houston)