The Houston Rising Stars Award Winners and Why They Shine
2011 Houston Rising Stars Chefs
David Grossman, Branch Water Tavern
Manabu Horiuchi, Kata Robata
Jeramie Robison, Cinq at La Colombe d’Or
Randy Rucker, Bootsie’s
Chris Shepherd, Catalan Food and Wine
Seth Siegel-Gardner, Kata Robata
Community ChefRandy Evans, Haven
Sustainability ChefJamie Zelko, Zelko Bistro
RestaurateurBryan Caswell, Little Bigs, Reef, and Stella Sola
Pastry ChefsVanarin Kuch, Tiny Boxwoods
Chris Leung, Bootsie’s
MixologistBobby Heugel, Anvil Bar & Refuge
SommelierSean Beck, Backstreet Café, Hugo’s, and Trevisio
We admit it; we’ve been remiss. During the nine years we’ve been seeking out Rising Stars across the country, this was our first trip to Houston. But when members of the close-knit Houston chef community reached out to us last year, championing their fellow chefs on our site and through Twitter, we realized something special was happening in Houston, and we wanted to see and taste it. We made Houston our first stop for the 2011 Rising Star itinerary—before Chicago, Portland, and our home town, New York. When we arrived we didn’t know what to expect, but we quickly discovered why Houstonians eat out more than any other urban population in the country.
We tasted savory dishes, desserts, cocktails, and wine pairings from more than 60 of Houston’s talented chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers. Only 13 earned the title of Rising Star. So what makes them shine? Creativity, ambition, exquisite presentation, and a stellar dish or drink.
Every Rising Star has a quality that make it clear to us that he or she is going to be a future leader of the culinary industry. Put simply, they’re not just coasting in the vast Houston restaurant scene—they’re defining it. So without further ado, here's an introduction to the 2011 Houston Rising Stars: who they are, why they shine, and how they're shaping the future of American cuisine.