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'04 Tastemaker Awards

F&W names the 35 most fearsome talents in wine and food, all 35 years old or under: maverick artisans, renegade importers, ingenious activists, visionary entrepreneurs and one brilliant guy who knows more than anyone about Chinese restaurants in L.A.

1 Andrew Murray

SANTA BARBARA WINE MAVERICK
Santa Barbara is one of California's hottest wine zones, due, in large part, to extraordinary talents like Andrew Murray of Andrew Murray Vineyards. The 32-year-old makes intense but elegant Syrahs, Grenaches and Viogniers that Robert M. Parker, Jr., says are "well worth seeking out." He's also experimenting with screwtops; by 2008 they'll seal all his wines (805-686-9604). —Kiri Tennenbaum

2 Jason Denton

ITALIAN-FOOD EMISSARY
In 1998, Jason Denton, 34, launched New York City's wine-bar trend at his tiny restaurant, 'ino, using one panino press and 10 carefully chosen wines by the glass. The formula, which combines an authentic and inexpensive Italian experience with a fun environment and top-quality ingredients, worked, and Jason has gone on to become one of the city's most successful young restaurateurs. In the past few years, Jason teamed up with Mario Batali (for whom he'd worked as a waiter at Po) to open the Roman trattoria Lupa and the boisterous pizzeria-enoteca Otto. In 2003, Jason and his brother Joe, 29, debuted 'inoteca, a bigger version of 'ino with a menu of Italian small plates. Like 'ino, it's authentic, inexpensive, fun—and a hit ('inoteca; 212-614-0473). —Ratha Tep

3 Steven Shaw

E-FOOD IMPRESARIO
A typical day on eGullet.org: Members debate Sydney's best places to eat, swap Ethiopian recipes and, in the case of Steven Shaw, the site's director, critique New York City's haute Per Se restaurant. Shaw, 35, monitors everything from eGullet's roughly 33,000 discussion topics to its debut Web-journal documentary on the opening of Grant Achatz's Alinea restaurant in Chicago. Founded in 2001, eGullet now has more than 15,000 food-obsessed fans on six continents. The site offers more than 60 cooking classes, an online food magazine and Q&A sessions with culinary stars such as Anthony Bourdain—a breadth of coverage that Shaw believes is perhaps eGullet's greatest strength. —Rob Willey

4 People's Grocery

URBAN FOOD ACTIVISTS
West Oakland, California, is a low-income zone where the residents usually worry more about how much food costs than about whether that food is locally grown or organic. But the activists who founded People's Grocery—Oakland residents Leander Sellers, 25, and Brahm Ahmadi and Malaika Edwards, both 29—are selling their neighbors fruits and vegetables that are inexpensive, pesticide-free and grown on small regional farms or, through a youth entrepreneurship program, in urban gardens. In September 2003, after two years of selling from street stands, the nonprofit launched its Mobile Market, a refurbished postal truck that parks at public schools and churches and that now serves 100 households. People's Grocery will further expand its neighborhood's healthy food selection with a cooperatively run natural-foods store (510-763-0328). —R.T.

5 Richard Brierley

MIDAS-TOUCH WINE AUCTIONEER
When British-born Richard Brierley, 31, first went to Bordeaux 11 years ago, it was to study politics, not to drink wine. A summer job—leading Moët & Chandon cellar tours—changed his mind. After working at Sotheby's, Brierley took over Christie's New York wine office in 2001 and shifted sales toward big-ticket bottles with quantifiable success: The average lot price rose from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,500. In one of Brierley's best moments, Doris Duke's collection, which included 17 bottles of 1921 Dom Pérignon, sold for $3.75 million (Christie's; 212-636-2000). —R.T.

6 Amy Evans

BBQ BIOGRAPHER
With a mini-disc recorder, a ready appetite and a 1978 Ford pickup, Amy Evans is compiling a culinary history of the American South, one interview at a time. As associate director of the Southern Foodways Alliance's Oral History Initiative, Evans, 33, travels through the South finding subjects—waitresses, pit masters, tamale makers—whose memories chronicle disappearing Southern life. She's building an archive of materials from photos to audio recordings and making them available on the Web. "Amy is creating a record of a time, a place and a people," says her boss, food historian John T. Edge. "And in 40 years we'll want to know about it" (southernfoodways.com). —Elizabeth Alsop

7 Tres Fromme

GARDENING GURU
When 98-year-old Longwood Gardens began showing signs of wear, Tres Fromme decided to do more than just repair the conservatories' leaky roofs. Instead, he incorporated brilliant new designs into the 1,050-acre property in Chester County, Pennsylvania. While preserving the classical aesthetic of the gardens' founder, Pierre du Pont, former chairman of both DuPont and General Motors, Fromme, 33, drew inspiration from modernist and postmodernist designers and architects like Mies van der Rohe. For the East Conservatory redesign, for instance, Fromme is bringing hedges indoors and adding a small canal with black-dyed water that reflects the colorful plants (610-388-1000 or longwoodgardens.org). —R.T.

8 David Katz

SPIRIT SEER
After five years of working in finance in Moscow, and then returning to search out the best vodka, David Katz, 31, had a brainstorm: He decided to develop a vodka with the full flavor of Russian vodkas and the smoothness American drinkers prefer. His recipe uses a blend of wheat and rye spirits distilled five times and water softened by five types of purification, from sand filtration to ultraviolet light. His ZYR vodka, which is made outside Moscow, has a lemon-zest aroma and a sweet aftertaste; it's so smooth it can be sipped neat—the way Katz prefers—and it's served at places like New York's Jean Georges and Brasserie Perrier in Philadelphia (zyrvodka.com). —R.T.

9 Ryan Black

RAIN FOREST FRIEND
Make smoothies, help save the Brazilian rain forest? Ryan Black, 29, and his company, Sambazon, are doing just that with their nutty açaí-berry purees. By paying South American farmers to put aside two acres of land for each acre of berries they harvest, Sambazon has helped preserve 50,000 acres. Fans like Andre Agassi also love the purees' superhigh antioxidant levels, which top even blueberries' (877-726-2296). —R.T.

10 Carl Chu

CHINESE FOOD SCHOLAR
Los Angeles has some of the world's best and most diverse Chinese food outside China, but it's spread out over 4,000 square miles. With his 2003 sleeper hit, Finding Chinese Food in Los Angeles, Carl Chu, 31, has proved to be one of the country's most avid food anthropologists, combining culinary studies and restaurant criticism. In exploring everything from the best places for Shandong hand-pulled noodles to the role of lamb in Islamic-Chinese cooking, the Taiwanese-born Chu bridges what he calls "American's perception of 'Chinese food' and what the Chinese actually eat." Chu recently released Chinese Food Finder, a revised edition of the L.A. guide, and is working on New York City and San Francisco versions. He's also planning a book on how Chinese recipes have been adapted in places like Trinidad (lots of rum) and Mexico (lots of lime). —R.W.

11 Katrina Markoff

CHIC CHOCOLATIER
In 1998, Katrina Markoff sold her wasabi-spiked truffles and other strange, beautiful confections from a 225-square-foot store in Chicago. Now, Markoff, 31, has added a Vosges Haut-Chocolat boutique in New York City, with others opening in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and London, and a catalog that sells such things as chocolate-brown-leather jackets (vosgeschocolate.com). —R.T.

12 Tim Healea

SOURDOUGH SELF-STARTER
The first time Tim Healea, 32, made sourdough starter, he brought it on the subway to his Manhattan cooking school so he could tend to it. Seeking more favorable bread-making condi-tions, he went to Portland, Oregon, to be the first intern at Pearl Bakery in 1998; within a year, he was promoted to head baker. Although he spends most of his time on the premises, turning out crisp ciabattas and walnut-packed raisin breads, he does occasionally leave the bakery: In 2002, his team won a silver medal at Paris's prestigious Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie competition (503-827-0910). —R.W.

13 Benjamin Hammerschlag

AUSTRALIAN-WINE SEEKER
To sell his first 1,000-case shipment of Australian wine, Benjamin Hammerschlag went door-to-door to Seattle restaurants and wine shops. In a month, he sold every last bottle. Five years later, it's still hard for Hammerschlag, 33, to keep up with demand, though his portfolio of small producers in the southern Australian countryside has expanded to 85 labels. His Seattle-based company, Epicurean Wines, brings in concentrated, delicious, inexpensive bottlings like Piping Shrike Shiraz ($14; epicureanwines.com). —Ruby Cutolo

14 Maximilian Riedel

CRYSTAL CRUSADER
When 27-year-old Maximilian Riedel, the 11th-generation glassmaker at Riedel Crystal, became executive vice president of U.S. operations in 2000, he made a bold change in his family's tradition-bound company. He lopped off the stems for his "O" line of varietal-specific wineglasses, creating unorthodox wine tumblers that fit in dishwashers and stack easily. In another maverick move, he designed a restaurant-only collection that's more affordable and sturdier than Riedel's classic Vinum line, with thicker glass and shorter stems. Launched in 2001, it's now practically ubiquitous in restaurants in California and New York (riedel.com). —R.T.

15 Greg Harrington

MEGASOMMMELIER
Being wine director for Stephen Hanson's 14 restaurants, including Fiamma locations in New York City, Scottsdale and Las Vegas, entails buying $5 million worth of wine a year from all over the world. But Greg Harrington, 34, has already overseen wine programs for both Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse ("Emeril is the only person who told me I didn't buy enough wine," he says), and spent more than $2.5 million on 1982 Château Pétrus for the opening of Las Vegas's Bellagio resort. Next up: a high-end wine store he'll open in the spring in Manhattan (212-529-0900). —Kate Krader

16 Jack Lamb

LOCAL-HERO RESTAURATEUR
The restaurants that Jack Lamb, 35, and his wife, Grace Lamb, own are very different—but they share the same template: Both are jewel-box-size spaces in Manhattan's East Village offering fabulous food on the Lambs' family china. Jewel Bako and Jewel Bako Makimono combine unusual sushi with a sleek modern decor. Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar serves riffs on Big Easy classics. This fall, the Lambs open Jewel Bako Robata, serving Japanese grilled dishes in, of course, a tiny East Village dining room (212-979-1012). —R.T.

17 Martha Putnam

FARMERS' ADVOCATE
When Maine farmers talk about "Martha," they don't mean Stewart. As director of the nonprofit Farm Fresh Connection, Martha Putnam, 31, helps more than 50 small meat, vegetable and fruit purveyors find outlets, making many deliveries, like the ones to Bowdoin College, herself. With access to so many farms, Putnam can offer choices—between, say, creamy Elba potatoes for mashing and starchy Katahdins for chowder—that most larger distributors don't (207-761-0345). —R.W.

18 Marko Karakasevic

VODKA VISIONARY
When Marko Karakasevic, 31, realized that people weren't drinking much grappa, he decided to try something different at his family's California distillery, Domaine Charbay. In 1998, with his father, Miles, the master distiller, Marko released a line of vodkas that were among the first to use fresh fruit, such as grapefruit, instead of flavorings and sweeteners. In 2002, under Marko's initiative, Charbay launched a smooth unflavored vodka, an F&W 2003 Spirit of the Year; it has just introduced its first rums—triple-distilled in copper, and Tahitian vanilla (800-634-7845). —R.T.

19 Joel Gott

FOOD AND WINE POPULIST
Not many winemakers also own great burger stands (not to mention car washes). But Napa's Joel Gott, 33, has made it his mission to bring excellent food—and jug wine—to the masses. Among the properties Gott co-owns are the burger joints Taylor's Automatic Refreshers in St. Helena and San Francisco's Ferry Building, and the barbecue truck Smoke Ing., which travels through the South Bay. Remarkably, Gott also produces some of the country's most delicious Zinfandels, both for his higher-end Joel Gott label and for Three Thieves, which has exponentially raised inexpensive-jug-wine standards. Now Gott is set to do the same for boxed wines. His new Bandit Bianco, a light white sold in paper cartons, costs about $6 for a liter (gottwines.com). —R.T.

20 Dany Levy

ARBITER OF COOL
Dany Levy, 32, has shown the impact of e-mail: Former AOL president Bob Pittman recently invested a rumored $3.5 million in her company, DailyCandy, which sends short, witty e-messages about fashion trends, new restaurants and more to its cult followers (dailycandy.com). —R.T.

21 Wanja Michuki

AFRICAN TEA QUEEN
Wanja Michuki's epiphany came four years ago in a Manhattan Starbucks: "I saw tons of Kenyan coffee but no sign of my country's tea." So the Kenyan native, now 30, started the Highland Tea Company last year in partnership with her mother, buying from small farmers struggling to make money from their crops. The teas are available at specialty-food stores, restaurants such as New York City's Vong and upscale teahouses, like Seattle's Teacup. Next year, Michuki will start a corporate-responsibility program, distributing school supplies and helping establish orphanages in Kenya (highlandteacompany.com). —Carla Ranicki

22 Heidi Hanson

PBS PROSELYTIZER
Five years ago, Heidi Hanson couldn't name a celebrity chef except for Julia Child. Now Hanson, 33, has spent quality time with many of them, or at least those committed to sustainable food sources. For her award-winning PBS series, Chefs A' Field, Hanson films chefs hunting for ingredients—like Seattle's Tom Douglas checking out mussels with shellfish farmer Ian Jefferds. Hanson was even praised by Child, who lauded the show's "refreshing focus" (chefsafield.com). —K.T.

23 Patrick Mata

SPANISH-WINE ÜBERSCOUT
Patrick Mata, who grew up working on vineyards in Spain, didn't speak any English when he came to America six years ago for college. Now 26, Mata, who co-owns Olé Imports in Westchester, New York, is perfectly bilingual—and dedicated to teaching Americans about overlooked Spanish labels. He brings in more than 60 boutique Spanish wines, many from up-and-coming regions like Yecla, in the southeast. A fledgling winemaker, Mata is also launching Bellum, a late-harvest red from Yecla, which debuts this fall (917-335-7462). —Lindsey Whitton

24 José Andrés

APPROACHABLE AVANT-GARDIST
It's hard for most chefs to have one successful restaurant. José Andrés co-owns seven places in the Washington, D.C., area, including the six-seat Minibar at Café Atlántico, with avant-garde dishes like a caramel orb called the "light bulb of flavor." Recently, the Spaniard, 35, founded a food think tank to develop recipes for an expanded Minibar, slated for 2005 (joseandres.com). —R.W.

25 Maureen Cunnie

CHEESE MASTER
It took Maureen Cunnie 31 years to get interested in making cheese but only two years to win a major award for it. Cunnie, 35, came to Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, California, in 2001 as an apprentice; after three months, she took over for the lead cheesemaker and began producing spectacular cheeses, like the rich Red Hawk, a washed-rind triple-crème that took top honors at the 2003 American Cheese Society competition. Cunnie tends to each of the Creamery's 3,500 cheeses made by hand each week, and she plans to acquire a second cheesemaking location with a cave, or aging facility (707-789-2604). —E.A.

26 John Doyle

CIVIC-MINDED CANDY MAN
Credit John Doyle with making chocolate consumption an act of civic virtue. A former line cook, investment banker and career counselor, Doyle, 35, now runs John and Kira's Jubilee Chocolates, a Philadelphia company that uses confections to promote small organic farms and garden projects at area schools. A self-taught chocolatier, Doyle and his wife and partner, Kira Baker, founded the company in 2001. Their silky truffles are often flavored with local ingredients, like mint grown at an inner-city school. One of Jubilee's new lines relies on Hudson River Valley-grown produce, like lemon verbena. Doyle, whose goal is to use seven percent of profits to fund field trips and garden projects for local schools, is lobbying his corporate clients to follow his example (800-747-4808 or jubileechocolates.com). —R.W.

27 Tyler Florence

THE HOME COOK'S HERO
Tyler Florence is one of Food Network's biggest draws, thanks in large part to his show, Food 911. In each episode, Florence, 33, literally walks into someone's kitchen and teaches her how to do anything from use a pepper grinder to cater a church buffet. He's now hosting How to Boil Water. Next year he'll open a European restaurant and market in Manhattan and publish his second cookbook, Eat This Book. —R.C.

28 Alpana Singh

WINE PRODIGY
"My idea of a cellar isn't in the basement; it's on the kitchen counter," says Alpana Singh, 27, the sommelier at Chicago's Everest and currently the youngest Master Sommelier in the U.S. This relaxed approach has made Singh, who also hosts the restaurant TV show Check, Please!, a local celebrity (wttw.com/checkplease/). —R.T.

29 Jing Tio

VIP SHOPKEEPER
At his culinary boutique, Le Sanctuaire, in Santa Monica, California, Jing Tio, 31, is creating a shopping experience for the elite. The store carries hard-to-find products, like hand-forged sushi knives from Kyoto; a VIP room will showcase items like chef Marc Meneau's $600 book on food and history (310-581-8999). —R.W.

30 David & Capucine Gooding and Elaine McCleary

ARTFUL GLASSMAKERS
Tableware designers don't often find inspiration in a beer glass from a Renaissance painting. But Juliska, the Connecticut company led by David and Capucine Gooding, 33 and 29, and Elaine McCleary, 30, creates thin-bowled wineglasses and tumblers influenced by European art from the 14th to 17th centuries (203-316-9118). —R.T.

31 Ryan Magarian

HIGH-SEAS MIXOLOGIST
Most bartenders make a roomful of people happy with their drinks. Cocktail consultant Ryan Magarian, 31, is delighting thousands. Magarian has spent the last year developing Holland America's first signature cocktail program, emphasizing hand-pressed fruit and using savory ingredients to invent creative drinks like the Sage gimlet. Magarian, who works for Seattle-based Kathy Casey Food Studios, has recently revamped the bar offerings for Merritt Hospitality, whose 22 properties include the Sonoma County Hilton (206-784-7840). —R.W.

32 Matt Madison

FARM-FRESH RETAILER
When Matt Madison began selling shiitake mushrooms at Cincinnati's Findlay Market in 1996, there were only two other farmers there. So Madison, now 35, decided to expand into less common crops, like black raspberries. Demand became so great that he's since opened three Madison's Produce stores around town, all selling picked-that-day organic fruits and vegetables from his land or other local farms—and there are now 24 other farmers at Findlay Market (madisonsproduce.com). —L.W.

33 Eric Ryan & Adam Lowry

SOAP STARS
Eric Ryan, 31, and Adam Lowry, 30, were once noncleaners ("Don't ask," says Lowry, about his former hygiene habits). Then, four years ago, the duo launched Method, distinctively packaged, environmentally friendly household products that have turned hand and dish soap into a lifestyle statement. Lowry, a chemical engineer, developed the line using gentle, often naturally derived ingredients, such as essential oils like grapefruit and lavender. The products smell good, and the rounded bottles, from designer-of-the-moment Karim Rashid, are pretty enough to leave out. Method's newest items include laundry detergent and dryer sheets in packaging adorned with graphics by designer Andy Spade (methodhome.com). —R.T.

34 Jonah Sachs & Louis Fox

ADVOCACY ANIMATORS
Movies about the evils of factory meat farming aren't usually blockbusters. So it's inspiring that The Meatrix—a clever animated spoof featuring trench-coat-clad livestock—is the most-watched advocacy ad in Internet history. Created by graphic designers Jonah Sachs, 29, and Louis Fox, 30, of the Washington, D.C., design firm Free Range, the online spot has been seen more than 6 million times since its November 2003 release (themeatrix.com). —R.W.

35 The Hebberoys

SUPPER CLUBBERS
Three years ago, Portland, Oregon-based Michael and Naomi Hebberoy, 28 and 29, respectively, served their first Family Supper in their living room. Now the wildly popular dinners take place five nights a week in a warehouse space, but dishes like tagliatelle with pancetta and parsnips are still served family-style and the $23 payment is based on the honor system. The Hebberoys continue to play with tradition at their new Portland restaurant, Clark Lewis, where guests can choose the size of their portions (ripepdx.com). —R.T.

Produced by Ratha Tep, Rob Willey and Kate Krader.

Published November 2004
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