Hometown Glory

Two locals up for Best New Chef: The national obsession with Houston restaurants continues

Two locals up for Best New Chef: National obsession with Houston food

Coltivare Ryan Pera
Ryan Pera earns praise for Coltivare's massive garden. Coltivare/Facebook
Pax Americana Adam Dorris
Pax Americana chef Adam Dorris shows up a 90-day, dry-aged, bone-in ribeye.  Pax Americana/Facebook
Coltivare Ryan Pera
Pax Americana Adam Dorris

The national spotlight continues to shine on Houston's culinary scene. Less than a month after being named America's best city for food snobs and only a week after two Houston chefs were named finalists for a James Beard Award, Food & Wine magazine has tapped two Houston chefs to compete for its People's Best New Chef competition.

Ryan Pera (Coltivare & Revival Market) and Adam Dorris (Pax Americana) are the local representatives from the Southwest region, which is one of 10 in the contest. The winner is selected in an online vote. To be eligible, a chef has to have been operating his or her own restaurant for fewer than five years. 

In the accompanying write-up, the magazine praises Pera for using items from Revival and Coltivare's 3,000 square-foot garden. Dorris, who was recently recognized by GQ's Alan Richman, earns praise for "transforming Texans’ ideas of what dinner can be with dishes such as Gulf tilefish with braised kale, smoked ham and cauliflower and pecorino crema."

Last year, Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan (The Pass & Provisions) and Justin Yu (Oxheart) were both nominees for the award, which was ultimately won by Denver chef Steven Redzikowski. Food & Wine named Yu one of its prestigious editorial selections for Best New Chef, just as it did Chris Shepherd in 2013. No Houston chefs earned the award this year, but Austin chefs Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas of Olamaie did.

The polls opened Wednesday and voting lasts until April 8. The chef who gets the most votes wins, so make them count.