Adam Dorris

Years after hosting his popular Ghetto Dinner pop-ups at dive bars, this young chef, who impressed with his charcuterie programs at Stella Sola and Revival Market, finally has a place of his own with Pax Americana, where he brings together global influences and Houston chutzpah to create a maddeningly modern menu that’s at once esoteric and accessible.

Brandi Key

If there were a prize for Best Multitasker, we’d award it to this woman, who’s managing to juggle three amazing young restaurants—Coppa Ristorante, Coppa Osteria, and the new Punk’s Simple Southern Food—while putting her personal stamp on the delicious food and keeping the service on point.

Hugo Ortega

Speaking of multitasking, the venerable veteran added a new restaurant to his portfolio this year—a portfolio that already includes longtime local favorites Hugo’s and Backstreet Café—with the impressive Caracol, showcasing his boundless imagination for seafood. 

Ryan Pera

This chef’s insistence on using as many local, home-grown, or homemade products as possible—including his own house-cured meats, preserves, and other goods from Revival Market, which he runs with partner Morgan Weber—has translated into massive success for the duo’s full-scale restaurant, Coltivare.

Ja’Nel Witt

This Hell’s Kitchen winner had a massive task ahead of her when asked to transform the menu at Corner Table, but she did so spectacularly, creating a lineup of delicious dishes that—trendy or not—demonstrate that paleo-friendly cuisine can hold its own, even at fine-dining establishments. 

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