Last week Austin’s restaurant community got itself a high-profile win when Uchiko’s Paul Qui was named “Top Chef.” Now Eater National‘s second annual “Hottest Chef in America”–that’s hot as in sexy, (“appearance is literally the only criteria,” wrote Eater Austin‘s Andrea Grimes)–has gone to an Austinite as well.
Sort of. Winner Kurt Ramborger is actually from ViUDA Bistro in Buda, the rural town-turned-Cabela’s location fifteen miles south of Austin. He beat out 32 other chefs from Austin to reach the final national round of seventeen, which also included Jill Bates of Fearing’s in Dallas and Vanessa O’Donnell of Ooh La La Dessert in Houston.
The redheaded, knife-wielding Ramborger, who goes by nickname “the Irish Chef,” is also legally deaf. His campaign included sign language videos like this one describing his journey, from a dishwashing job at a vegetarian cafe to, many years later, his trouble finding work in Austin when he first arrived first California (ViUDA’s Paul Rutowski ended up hiring him for a catering business):