With one voting weekend left in Food & Wine's People's Best New Chef online poll, the Southwest category's shaping up as a three-way contest, with DFW darlings Casey Thompson and Tim Byres leading the pack.
As of this morning, Thompson and Byres were locked in a vise-tight race, with Thompson trailing leader Byres by three-quarters of a percentage point. Bowman Brown and Viet Pham of Salt Lake City's Forage are currently in the third spot, with 18 percent of the vote.
A few of the contest's geographical divisions seem to have already settled on winners, barring a last-minute voting rush. The top vote-getters in New York City, the Pacific and the Northwest lead their competitors by at least 10 daunting percentage points. But, in most regions, two or three chefs are continuing to battle for the win.
Regional winners will face each other for the People's Best New Chef title. The first round of voting ends on Tuesday.
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