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Best New Chefs

Why Justin Yu Loves Chicken Feet

Best New Chef 2014 Justin Yu

Photo © William Hereford

Chef Justin Yu of Houston's Oxheart is one of Food & Wine's amazing 2014 Best New Chefs. Here, he reveals his current obsessions.

Chicken Feet

My aunts Josephine Yeung and Betty Louie used to own a Cantonese restaurant called House of Louie in the L.A. suburbs. I grew up in that place. I really liked the chicken feet. One reason is the interaction with them—you have to spit out the little, tiny bones. I have a big thing for that kind of cartilage texture.

Records and Turntables

We’re a musically influenced kitchen. We have a turntable in the dining room. I’m an unabashed fan of pop music: the Bee Gees, Earth, Wind & Fire. We also have a lot of donated albums. A customer ordered an A Tribe Called Quest album for us because we didn’t have it. The music here is insanely eclectic, and the songs affect the mood of the cooks.

Rothko Chapel

I hang out at the Rothko Chapel, in Houston. Rothko’s canvases look like they’re straight black or brown, but as you stare at them, you realize that they’re filled with color and little details. Being able to think like that is important to a chef. It’s the details that make a dish yours, and make it special.

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