There are non-Austin chefs competing for Food and Wine’s Best New Chef, but for the purposes of this conversation we’ll limit ourselves to the Austin contingent.

Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo puts out one of Austin’s finest (and bloodiest on demand) burgers, and is handy with a cleaver when it comes butchering time. If you like dogs and children then this is your spot. We visited Uchi often back when Paul Qui was in the kitchen; haven’t been to his eponymous restaurant in East Austin but if we ever win the lotto we’ll be ramping up for a visit.

Mat Clouser of Swift’s Attic has left us shell-shocked after a handful of visits since the restaurant opened. Part meat market (bustling little pickup scene in the bar zone) part date-night restaurant; Swift’s is where we go when we want a cold draft beer and a few small plates of bizarrely delicious new American cuisine.

Food and Wine magazine’s been around since the late 70s. While we no longer subscribe we’re not opposed to leafing through one if the occasion presents itself. As a star maker however they have few peers as their monstrously successful Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado has launched dozens of cooks into the stratosphere.

What does the winner of their Best New Chef receive as a prize? Their website offers no clues. Tote bag? Lifetime subscription? A vigorous “Good job chef!”

Either way it doesn’t hurt to vote

photo of Mat Clouser via Greg Bass

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