Participating Chefs

Aaron Franklin

  • Franklin Barbecue, Loro
    Austin, TX

Events: Hi, How Are YouCoupe de Grille

Kudos: James Beard Award Best Chef: Southwest, Texas Monthly #1 Barbecue Restaurant in Texas




Adam Sappington

  • The Country Cat
    Portland, OR

Events: Night CourtAl Fuego

Served time at: Wildwood Restaurant

Kudos: James Beard Award Best Chef: Northwest Semi-finalist 2012-2014, Food Network Chopped Season 23 Winner

Abraham Conlon

  • Fat Rice
    Chicago, IL

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Silks, Norman's, Augustine's

Kudos: BA's Hot Ten '13, Jean Banchet (Best New Restaurant '13, Restaurant of the Year, '15), JBF Finalist Best Chef Midwest '16, '17




Alejandro Escalante

  • La Casa de los Tacos
    Mexico City, Mexico

Events: Cisco's Takeover

Served time at: Coming Soon

Kudos: Author of Tacopedia,

Alex Stupak

  • Empellón
    New York, NY

Events: Cisco's Takeover

Served time at: Alinea, wd~50, Clio

Kudos: Food & Wine Best New Chefs, Iron Chef Victory





Andrew Wiseheart

  • Contigo
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Angele, La Toque, Contigo, Chicon

Kudos: 2012 Starchefs Rising Star Award, Eater Austin’s "Chef of the Year" '14, CultureMap Austin’s “Chef of the Year 2015”, 3 consecutive nominations for The People’s Best New Chef: Southwest from Food & Wine '13, '14 & '15.

Andy Ricker

  • Pok Pok
    Portland, OR

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Chez Moustache, Vendetta's, Del-Cor Pizza, Calamity Jane's

Kudos: Thailand Culinary Ambassador, James Beard Award Best Chef: Northwest 2011, LaMoille Union High School 4th Place Cross Country Race

Ashley Christensen

  • Poole's
    Raleigh, NC

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Beasley's Chicken & Honey, Chuck's Burgers, Fox Liquor Bar, Death & Taxes

Kudos: James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast '14, JBF Outstanding Chef Semifinalist '16, '17, Eater Chef of the Year '17




Ben Runkle

  • Salt & Time
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: The Fatted Calf

Kudos: Southern Living Magazine 50 People Shaping the South 2015

Billy Durney

  • Hometown Bar-B-Que
    New York, NY

Events: Hi, How Are YouAl Fuego

Served time at: Coming soon

Kudos: Michelin Bib Gourmand Eater Top 38, Featured Guest Chef at Nashville’s Music City Food and Wine, Charleston Food and Wine, NYC Wine & Food, James Beard House, Fire it Up (Maui, HI), Holy Smokes BBQ (Sweden), Kingsford Invitational '15, Beniot Bistro




Bryan Weaver

  • Butcher & Bee
    Charleston, SC

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Irving Street Kitchen Superba Snack Bar




Callie Speer

  • Holy Roller
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Parkside, Swift's Attic, Hotel Van Zandt

Kudos: Food & Wine People's Best Pastry Chef nominee 2013, Culturemap Austin Pastry Chef of the Year, 2015

Casey Wilcox

  • Central Standard
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Kuneho, Justine’s Brasserie, Uchi

Kudos: Coming soon




Chad Dolezal

  • The Hightower
    Austin, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: The Hightower, El Arbol

Kudos: Texas Monthly Best New Restaurants


Chris Shepherd

  • Underbelly
    Houston, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Brennan's of Houston, Catalan Food and Wine

Kudos: James Beard Award Best Chef: Southwest, Food & Wine Best New Chef

Daniel Vaughn

  • Full Custom Gospel BBQ
    Dallas, TX

Served time at: The Mill Restaurant at Buehler's Fresh Foods, O'Henry's, Casa de Vaughn

Kudos: 2 National Magazine Award nominations, Won the Barbecue Editor of Texas Monthly Sweepstakes

David Norman

  • Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Bouley Bakery, Grand Central Bakery, French Culinary Institute, TriBakery

Kudos: Dessert Professional Top Ten Bread Bakers in America, Sunset Magazine Best Sourdough in the West

Doug Adams

  • Bullard
    Portland, OR

Served time at: Coming soon

Kudos: Coming soon

Elias Cairo

  • Olympia Provisions
    Portland, OR

Events: The Giddy UpCoupe de Grille

Served time at: Stumps Alpenrose Wildhause, Castagna, Olympia Provisions

Kudos: 12 Good Food Awards, 2 Sophie Awards

Erind Halilaj

  • Il Brutto
    Austin, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Obicà Mozzarella Bar, Hotel Principe di Savoia, AC Hotel Marriott Milano, Excelsior Hotel Gallia

Kudos: Coming soon




Fermin Núñez

  • Suerte
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Launderette, La Condesa, Uchiko

Kudos: Coming soon




Fiore Tedesco

  • L'Oca d'Oro
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Gramercy Tavern, Roberta's, Franklin BBQ

Kudos: Eater Austin Chef of the Year 2016, "Most Fashionable" Troy High School Senior Class 1997, Eater Austin Best New Restaurant 2016

Ivan Orkin

  • Ivan Ramen
    New York, NY

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Original shops in Tokyo, Lutece Mesa Grill

Kudos: NYT 2-stars Chef's Table Participant (Netflix)




Jason Alley

  • Comfort, Pasture, Flora and The Paulie
    Richmond, VA

Served time at: Hardee’s, 1848 House, Blue Ridge Grill, ENO, Eurpoa Café and Tapas Bar

Kudos: Coming soon




Jason Dady

  • Jason Dady Restaurants
    San Antonio, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Stars Bar and Dining, Beringer Estate Winery, Joe's Crab Shack

Kudos: Express News Best Chef San Antonio, James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur Semi-Finalist 2012

Jason Purcell

  • Garrison at Fairmont
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Farmshop, Bouchon, Aureole

Kudos: Zagat’s Most Anticipated Austin Restaurants, Tasting Table’s Best New Restaurants to Try




Jason Stude

  • Boiler Nine Bar + Grill, Second Bar & Kitchen
    Austin, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Second Bar + Kitchen, The Crossings, Lake Austin Spa Resort

Kudos: Lamb Jam Austin 2017, NACE Culinary Excellence Award 2009, Food Network Chopped Champion 2013

Jesse Griffiths

  • Dai Due
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Vespaio, Tocai

Kudos: Bon Appétit Best New Restaurants in America 2016, James Beard Book Awards Finalist 2013

John & Kendall Antonelli

  • Antonelli's Cheese Shop
    Austin, TX

Events: Hi, How Are You

Served time at: Coming Soon

Kudos: Best Cheese Shops in America Travel + Leisure Magazine, The Best U.S. Cheese Shops The Gourmet Retailer

John Tesar

  • Knife at The Highland Dallas
    Dallas, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Mansion on Turtle Creek, RM Seafood, Spoon, Knife

Kudos: Four-time James Beard nominated, Esquire Best New Restaurants in America for Spoon and Knife

Joshua McFadden

  • Ava Gene's
    Portland, OR

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Franny's, Lupa, Momofuku, Blue Hill

Kudos: James Beard Best Chef: Northwest Nominee, Bon Appétit Best New Restaurants

Justin Brunson

  • Old Major
    Denver, CO

Served time at: Zengo, Luca D’Italia, Mizuna, Fruition

Kudos: Coming soon




Justin Yu

  • Theodore Rex
    Houston, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Coming soon

Kudos: Coming soon




Kevin Fink

  • Emmer & Rye
    Austin, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: 13 Gobbi, Noma, French Laundry

Kudos: Food & Wine Best New Chef 2016, Bon Appétit Top 50 Best New Restaurant 2016

Kristen Kish

  • Arlo Grey at the LINE Austin
    Austin, TX

Served time at: Stir Boston, Menton

Kudos: Winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 10

Laura Aidan

  • Prohibition Creamery
    Austin, TX

Events: Hi, How Are You

Kudos: Zagat most anticipated restaurant openings in the U.S. 2016, Austin Monthly Best of 2016, Time Out Austin 2017 Bar Awards Finalist, Time Out most exciting global bar trends 2017, appearances in The WSJ, Marie Claire, CNBC, Paste, Bravo TV, SevenFifty, Austin Way, Austin Woman, Austin Monthly




Laura Sawicki

  • Launderette
    Austin, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Craftbar, La Condesa, Sway

Kudos: Food & Wine Best New Pastry Chef 2012, James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Semifinalist 2013, 2016 and 2017

Matthew Rudofker

  • All of the Momofuku Restaurants
    New York, NY

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Daniel, Vetri, Cru

Kudos: James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Nominee, Forbes 30 Under 30

Matty Matheson

  • MUNCHIES, Dead Set on Life
    Toronto, Canada

Events: Munchies & Friends

Served time at: Parts & Labour, Group of 7 Chefs

Kudos: Coming soon




Michael Fojtasek

  • Olamaie
    Austin, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Abacus, Per Se, Lincoln, Son of a Gun

Kudos: Food & Wine Best New Chef 2015, Austin American Statesman #1 2015, James Beard Best New Restaurant Semi-Finalist 2014

Miguel Vidal

  • Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
    Austin, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Ranch 616, Fish 54

Kudos: Texas Monthly Top Tacos in Texas & The Top 25 New and Improved BBQ Joints in Texas, YETI Brand Ambassador


Paula Disbrowe

  • "Any Night Grilling"
    Austin, TX

Kudos: Spent two years as a senior editor at Southern Living, where she remains a frequent contributor. Serves as the food editor for Texas Co-op Power, and a contributing writer for Texas Highways and The Local Palate. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, NYT, and Delta Sky. Author of six cookbooks, including “Any Night Grilling” for Food52 (March 2018). Her forthcoming book, "Thank You For Smoking" will be published in 2019.





Peter Cho

  • Han Oak
    Portland, OR

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Spotted Pig, The Breslin

Kudos: James Beard Best New Restaurant nomination 2017, Food & Wine Best New Chef 2017, Eater Best New Restaurant award

Philip Speer

  • Bonhomie
    Austin, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Uchi, Bank Jean-Georges, Jean Luc's Bistro

Kudos: James Beard Best Pastry Chef Nominee 2012, 2014, StarChefs Rising Pastry Chef 2012


Rebecca Masson

  • Fluff Bake Bar
    Houston, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Le Bristol Hotel, Daniel, The Red Cat

Kudos: Southern Living Best Bakeries in the South, Food & Wine Best Cupcakes in the US

Renee Erickson

  • The Walrus & The Carpenter
    Seattle, WA

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Coming soon

Kudos: James Beard Award for '16 Best Chef NW, Bon Appetit's Hot 10, EATER38 Best Essential Restaurants in America Winter '18, 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle '18, '17 Community Builder Award from Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal




Rico Torres & Diego Galicia

  • Mixtli
    San Antonio, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Azul Condesa, Atelier Crenn, Moto, Rico Caters

Kudos: Food & Wine Best New Chef 2017, featured in Texas Monthly, USA Today, Travel Channel

Sam Jones

  • Sam Jones BBQ
    Winterville, NC

Events: Hi, How Are You

Served time at: 3rd Generation Pitmaster at Skylight Inn BBQ

Kudos: Skylight Inn BBQ received a James Beard award for "Americas Classics" in '03, "TOP 10 Pitmasters in the South" by Southern Living 2012




Sarah McIntosh

  • Épicerie
    Austin, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Bouchon, Ad Hoc

Kudos: Austin Woman - December 2014, Zagat 30 Under 30



Stephen Gerike

  • National Pork Board
    Des Moines, IA

Served time at: Mohonk Mountain House, The Annapolis Hotel, and The Maryland Inn

Kudos: Coming soon




Stephen Bonin

  • Geraldine's
    Austin, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Epicerie, The Driskill Grill, Odd Duck

Kudos: Coming soon




Steve McHugh

  • Cured
    San Antonio, Texas

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Restaurant August, La Provence, Lüke

Kudos: James Beard Best Chef: Southwest Nominee 2016, Esquire Best New Restaurant Runner-up 2014, Bon Appétit Best New Restaurants in America 2014

Tatsu Aikawa & Takuya Matsumoto

  • Kemuri Tatsu-ya
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Urasawa, Musashino Sushi Dokoro

Kudos: Bon Appétit Best New Restaurants in America, Time Out Best Ramen in America

Todd Duplechan

  • LENOIR
    Austin, TX

Events: Night Court

Served time at: Danube, Tabla

Kudos: Statesman #1 Restaurant in Austin, Bon Appétit 50 Best New Restaurants 2012

Tyson Cole

  • Hai Hospitality
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Musashino, Uchi

Kudos: Food & Wine Best New Chef 2005, James Beard Award Best Chef: Southwest 2011, James Beard Semi-Finalist Outstanding Chef 2016

Yoshi Okai

  • Otoko
    Austin, TX

Events: Coupe de Grille

Served time at: Uchi, Uchiko, Qui, East Side King

Kudos: Food & Wine Best New Chef 2017, Texas Monthly Where to Eat Now 2017, Austin Monthly Best New Restaurant 2016

Zach Hunter

  • The Brewer's Table
    Austin, TX

Events: Al Fuego

Served time at: Mugaritz, Atera, Uchi, Qui

Kudos: One of twelve Chef de Cuisine's featured at The Future of American Food conference at Grace, Executive Chef of The Brewer's Table, Imbibe 75 list for 2017