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The People's Best New Chef

The People's Best New Chef: Southeast Contenders

The People's Best New Chef: Southeast

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

Nathan Allen

Photo © Emma Nash

Nathan Allen

Restaurant: Knife and Fork (Read a review)

Location: Spruce Pine, NC

Why He's Amazing: Because he moved from L.A. to a former mining town where he's serving creative, super-local food with a Provençal bent.

Culinary School: Johnson & Wales University (Providence)

Background: AOC, Restaurant at the Getty Center (Los Angeles)

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Justin Burdett

Photo © Stephanie Butler/Rayen Studios Photography

Justin Burdett

Restaurant: Ruka's Table (Read a review)

Location: Highlands, NC

Why He's Amazing: Because he's serving technique-driven modern cuisine inspired by traditional Southern cooking in a tiny North Carolina town.

Culinary School: Self-taught

Background: Five & Ten (Athens, GA), Miller Union (Atlanta), Market Place (Asheville, NC)

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Katie Button

Photo courtesy of Cúrate

Katie Button

Restaurant: Cúrate (Read a review)

Location: Asheville, NC

Why She's Amazing: Because she's channeling the skills she gained through her envy-inducing background to make authentic Spanish tapas.

Background: Internship at El Bulli (Roses, Spain); Jean-Georges (New York City), The Bazaar by José Andrés (Los Angeles)

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Adam Evans

Photo © Richie Aprino

Adam Evans

Restaurant: The Optimist (Read a review)

Location: Atlanta

Why He's Amazing: Because his upscale fish-shack dishes addictively combine simple yet bold flavors, often with a Southern accent.

Culinary School: Self-taught

Background: JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Craftbar (Atlanta); Craft (New York City); La Petite Grocery, Ralph's on the Park New Orleans)

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Kim Floresca & Daniel Ryan

Photo © Kim Floresca

Kim Floresca & Daniel Ryan

Restaurant: [ONE] (Read a review)

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Why They're Amazing: Because after working together in some of the world's most acclaimed kitchens, they're cooking up sublimely inventive food—like wild onion madeleines and savory pumpernickel macarons—at their very own spot.

Culinary School: Floresca: Golden Gate University (Roseville, CA); Ryan: Baltimore International College

Background: Both: Internships at El Bulli (Roses, Spain) and Mugaritz (San Sebastián, Spain); The Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena, CA); Floresca: Per Se (New York City); Tru (Chicago); Ryan: Adour, Eleven Madison Park (New York City); Alinea (Chicago)

More on Kim Floresca
More on Daniel Ryan

Asha Gomez

Photo courtesy of Cardamon Hill

Asha Gomez

Restaurant: Cardamom Hill (Read a review)

Location: Atlanta

Why She's Amazing: Because her Southern American riffs on southern Indian cooking—using local ingredients like green tomatoes in bhajia (fritters), and peaches in chutney—is attracting Americans and natives of India alike.

Culinary School: Self-taught

Background: Neem Tree Spa, Spice Route Supper Club (Atlanta)

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Josh Keeler

Photo © Karson Photography

Josh Keeler

Restaurant: Two Boroughs Larder (Read a review)

Location: Charleston, SC

Why He's Amazing: Because his laid-back yet delicious approach to whole-animal cooking has made his restaurant an instant success.

Culinary School: The New England Culinary Institute (Essex Junction, VT)

Background: El Vez, Parc (Philadelphia); Monza (Charleston)

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Philip Krajeck

Photo © Andrea Behrends

Philip Krajeck

Restaurant: Rolf and Daughters (Read a review)

Location: Nashville

Why He's Amazing: Because his European upbringing and hours logged at some of America's top restaurants are reflected in his rustic Mediterranean food—especially his terrific house-made pastas.

Culinary School: Self-taught

Background: Fish Out of Water (Santa Rosa Beach, FL), Joël (Atlanta)

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Matthew Lackey

Photo courtesy of Flyte World Dining and Wine

Matthew Lackey

Restaurant: Flyte World Dining and Wine (Read a review)

Location: Nashville

Why He's Amazing: Because at age 28, he already has combined his farm-kid background with degrees from two culinary institutions to become a champion in the South's local-ingredient movement.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY), Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale (Scottsdale, AZ)

Background: True Food Kitchen (Scottsdale); McCrady's, Husk (Charleston, SC)

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Annie Pettry

Photo © Josh Meredith, Original Makers Club

Annie Pettry

Restaurant: Decca (Read a review)

Location: Louisville, KY

Why She's Amazing: Because without ever even visiting Louisville, she left San Francisco to cook at Decca, where she's adding global flavors (like saffron and marcona almonds) to local ingredients (like sweet potatoes and Marksbury Farm Market beef).

Culinary School: The French Culinary Institute (New York City)

Background: The Moss Room (San Francisco); Savoy, The Admiral (Asheville, NC); Quality Meats (New York City)

More on Annie Pettry

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