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The People's Best New Chef

The People's Best New Chef: Southwest Contenders

The People's Best New Chef: Southwest

At F&W, we name America’s 10 most brilliant up-and-coming chefs every year. Now we want to know who you think is the most talented new chef in America.

California, Great Lakes, Gulf Coast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, New York Area, Northwest & Pacific, Southeast, Southwest

Mat Clouser

Photo © Kelsey Orr

Mat Clouser

Restaurant: Swift's Attic (Read a review)

Location: Austin

Why He's Amazing: Because he's bringing light, imaginative (and spot-on) small plates like charred edamame with chile oil and pop rocks to Austin's meat-centric restaurant scene.

Culinary School: The New England Culinary Institute (Montpelier, VT)

Background: Vespaio, Uchi, Kenichi, Jeffrey's, Haddingtons (Austin)

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Omar Flores

Photo © Mike Itashiki

Omar Flores

Restaurant: Driftwood, Casa Rubia (Read a review)

Location: Dallas

Why He's Amazing: Because with his deft hand at both raw and cooked dishes, he's given Dallas both its best seafood restaurant ever as well as a stellar new Spanish tapas spot.

Culinary School: New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM), the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

Background: Abacus (Dallas)

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Terrence Gallivan & Seth Siegel-Gardner

Photo © Julie Soefer

Terrence Gallivan & Seth Siegel-Gardner

Restaurant: The Pass & Provisions (Read a review)

Location: Houston

Why They're Amazing: Because they're turning out tasty, thoughtful American food in two restaurants (one rustic, one refined) under a single roof.

Culinary School: Gallivan: The New England Culinary Institute (Burlington, VT); Siegel-Gardner: Self-taught

Background: Both: Maze, Alto (New York City); Gallivan: The Modern, August, (New York City); Siegel-Gardner: Aquavit (New York City); C-House (Chicago); Kata Robata (Houston)

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More on Seth Siegel-Gardner

Matt McCallister

Photo © Kevin Marple

Matt McCallister

Restaurant: FT33 (Read a review)

Location: Dallas

Why He's Amazing: Because he's attracting crowds to his first solo venture with his modern locavore dishes.

Culinary School: Self-taught

Background: Stephan Pyles (Dallas)

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Frederick Perez

Photo courtesy of Frederick Perez

Frederick Perez

Restaurant: Del Mar al Lago (Read a review)

Location: Salt Lake City

Why He's Amazing: Because he's serving up incredible ceviche and his takes on other classic Peruvian dishes in landlocked Utah.

Culinary School: Le Cordon Bleu (Las Vegas)

Background: J&G Grill (Park City, UT); Trader Vic's (Las Vegas)

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Paul Qui

Photo © Jody Horton

Paul Qui

Restaurant: Qui (Read a review)

Location: Austin

Why He's Amazing: Because while solely based in Austin, he learned Japanese techniques, subtlety and flavor balancing, which, along with his Filipino heritage, he's now applying to American ingredients in wonderfully unpredictable ways.

Culinary School: Le Cordon Bleu (Austin)

Background: Uchiko, Uchi (Austin)

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Steven Redzikowski

Photo © Justin Lee

Steven Redzikowski

Restaurant: Oak at Fourteenth, Acorn (Read a review)

Location: Boulder, CO; Denver

Why He's Amazing: Because after starting his career at Le Cirque at age 21, he's raising the bar on the Colorado food scene with his two seasonally focused restaurants—one centered around a unique oak-fired oven and grill (Oak), the other a super-hip shared-plates spot (Acorn).

Culinary School: Schenectady County Community College (Schenectady, NY)

Background: Little Nell (Aspen, CO); Cyrus (Healdsburg, CA); Frasca Food & Wine (Boulder); Jean-Georges, Le Cirque (New York City)

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Andrew Wiseheart

Photo © Knox Photographics

Andrew Wiseheart

Restaurant: Contigo (Read a review)

Location: Austin

Why He's Amazing: Because at his restaurant—inspired by a south Texas hunting lodge—he's preparing terrific rustic dishes, like ox tongue sliders with pickled green tomato.

Culinary School: Le Cordon Bleu (Austin)

Background: Brix (Yountville, CA); La Toque, Angèle (Napa); Olivia (Austin)

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Justin Yu

Photo © Paul Sedillo Photography

Justin Yu

Restaurant: Oxheart (Read a review)

Location: Houston

Why He's Amazing: Because he's leaving Texans speechless with his delicious, artistic renderings of vegetables.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY), University of Houston

Background: *17 (Houston); Green Zebra, Spring, C-House (Chicago); Ubuntu (Napa)

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Brian Zenner

Photo © Joy Zhang

Brian Zenner

Restaurant: Belly & Trumpet (Read a review)

Location: Dallas

Why He's Amazing: Because a passion for food that began with childhood travels with his family to Kenya, Asia and France is in the global flavors of his small and large shared-plates menu—and Dallas is loving it.

Culinary School: Texas Culinary Academy (Austin)

Background: Oak, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas); Matchbox Lounge, Fenouil (Portland, OR)

More on Brian Zenner

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