With restaurants opening each month, and new chefs at the helm of them, Austin’s food scene is flourishing more than ever. If you’re planning a visit to the growing culinary city, or just trying to keep up with the hot dining scene stewing in the Texas capital, here are four Austin-based chefs who should definitely be on your radar.
It’s hard to believe it was only 2009 when Bryce Gilmore opened his first venture, Odd Duck Farm to Trailer, a mobile kitchen dedicated to crafting a menu around the region’s seasonal produce. A year later, he debuted , a more meat-centric gastropub.
In 2013, Gilmore partnered with colleagues he’d met while working at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Little Nell in Aspen, and together they opened as a brick-and-mortar concept. That year, Gilmore was nominated as a semifinalist for a James Beard Rising Star Chef award. (He’s been a finalist for the organization’s Best Chef: Southwest honor for the past four years.)
Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas
After meeting while working for Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook at Son of a Gun in L.A., Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas decided to join forces as co-chefs in their own restaurant venture, Olamaie, bringing together their collective experiences at incredible restaurants like Five-Stars The French Laundry and , Four-Star and Osteria di Passignano in Tuscany.
Since Olamaie opened in August 2014, the refined Southern restaurant and its chefs have received a seemingly endless series of accolades, including a James Beard semifinalist nomination for Best New Restaurant last year and the title of 2015 Best Restaurant in Austin by the Austin-American Statesman.
Last year, Nonas was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year award; this year, he was a finalist for the same recognition. All honors aside, we’re just glad these two chose Austin to call home; the city’s culinary scene has certainly reaped the benefits.
After gaining experience at acclaimed eateries like and , Kevin Fink began fine-tuning his first restaurant. opened on Rainey Street this fall, turning heads for its inventive dishes made exclusively from local produce and protein, a dedicated flour milling program and a larder filled with shelves of next-level fermentation experiments.
Patio garden boxes provide space to grow some herbs and vegetables in house, while a unique dim sum-inspired program affords Fink the opportunity to serve limited amounts of special plates at dinner. Emmer & Rye has already earned glowing reviews from the likes of The Austin Chronicle and Austin-American Statesman. We’re salivating at the thoughts of what else is to come from Fink and his talented team.