Best Chef Comeback (2003)
Matthew Antonovich, Sipango
He was a founding partner of Sipango, which in the mid-1990s was perhaps the hottest restaurant in Dallas. But after cashing out some five years ago, Matthew Antonovich trekked a bumpy road, sustaining a bruising at III Forks, a bounce on Chuck Norris' defunct Lone Wolf Cigar Bar, a fizzled restaurant project with former Mansion maître d' Wayne Broadwell and the fast and furious crash of his own restaurant, Antonovich's Tuscan Steak House. But just as he was about to hit the most bizarre pothole in this trek--selling residential real estate in Kentucky--he landed back in Dallas on a lark and did a guest-chef stint that led to Sipango redux. Now, after striking a deal with his former Sipango partner Ron Corcoran, Antonovich is taking another taste of his former glory, albeit as a leaner, wiser, cooking machine. And God knows he needs a good meal after that long strange trip. So do we.