Proving once again that Austin has a Justin Bieber-like hold on culinary chroniclers' heartstrings, chefs from the capital city scored four of the ten slots in Food & Wine's online "The People's Best New Chef" competition.
For the first time ever, Food & Wine's adding a democratic element to its annual anointing, asking food lovers everywhere to register votes for the favorite new chefs in 10 regions. The chef who collects the most votes wins.
The poll web site doesn't detail what defines "Southwest," but Texas chefs are up against toques from Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. DFW is represented twice: Tim Byres of Smoke and Casey Thompson of Brownstone -- who surely can't qualify as a new chef forever -- both earned a nod.[jump]
The most obvious snub? There's not a single Houston chef on the list, although the magazine made room for Austin's Andrew Curren, James Holmes, Bryce Gilmore and Jesse Griffiths, the latter two of whom are so Austin they don't have static kitchens: Gilmore helms a food truck and Griffiths manages a roving supper club and farmer's market tent.
Like all online polls, the winner will no doubt be the chef who runs the most aggressive social media campaign, soliciting fans to log multiple votes. Eater yesterday revealed Girl & The Goat's Stephanie Izard, best known for her turn on Top Chef, was early out of the gate, using her web site to drum up support before the contest was officially announced.
Voting ends on March 1.