A Chef Cashes In

Big restaurant win: Houston chef named one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America

Big win: Houston chef named one of 10 best in America

chris shepherd underbelly
Chris Shepherd keeps collecting the awards, this time earning himself F+W's "Best New Chef" nod. Photo by © Julie Soefer

So, Chris Shepherd is having a good week . . . Not only did the current James Beard finalist get featured on CBS This Morning, but he's also managed to score himself one of the nation's most sought-after culinary awards.

Food + Wine magazine put Shepherd on its annual "10 Best New Chefs" list, highlighting him as a "devout locavore borrowing flavors from his city’s diverse immigrant population."

Food + Wine magazine highlights Shepherd as a "devout locavore."

The Underbelly owner joins nine other rising stars like Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio and Jason Vincent of Chicago's Nightwood. Past honorees on the list, which first launched in 1988, include foodie celebs like Tom Colicchio and Michael Symon as well as Houstonians like Monica Pope, Bryan Caswell and Scott Tycer.

Though the award is offered to chefs who have operated their own restaurant for five years or less (which fits Underbelly), Shepherd has been a fixture on the Space City food scene for nearly a decade — first at Brennan's and later at the celebrated Catalan on Washington.

Food + Wine will honor its fresh batch of new chefs during a special dinner in New York at Madison Avenue fave Pranna Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Shepherd will have to wait another month to find out if he's secured the James Beard award for Best Chef Southwest. That winner will be announced May 6 at a gala event hosted by actor Stanley Tucci.