Since 1995, StarChefs has been one of the restaurant industry’s leading magazines, recognizing successful culinary programs and chefs, sharing best practices and giving readers a behind-the-scenes look into the kitchens. Four times a year, StarChefs publishes special Rising Stars magazines to examine the culinary scenes in different cities, and it’s Nashville’s turn to be in the spotlight!
The editorial team visits different markets to choose outstanding hospitality professionals to recognize. The Rising Star Awards honor chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, restaurateurs and artisans who supply products to local cuisines. The 76th class of rising stars represents the second round of awards for the city and the first since 2014, when Nashville was part of a larger Tennessee/Kentucky feature.
To celebrate these talented professionals, StarChefs is sponsoring a Rising Stars Restaurant Week from May 11 to May 25, making it, I guess, about 15 restaurants. Selected Rising Stars will showcase a particular dish or menu item (TBA) at their establishments to give customers an idea of why they made the list.
Although too old and experienced to be a stud (just kidding!), chef Matt Bolus of The kitchen 404 will organize a bonus stop in its restaurant during the two weeks of celebration. In partnership with venison exporter Cervena, Bolus has created a special dish and will be donating $5 to the Nashville Food Project for each plate sold during the promotion.
Chief Michael Gibson of The deer at BentoLiving Chestnut Hill has teamed up with the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission for another bonus stop on the tour, so go for it!
According to the official announcement, here are your 2022 StarChefs Rising Stars for Nashville.
Brian Baxter of Catbird Headquarters; Michael Hanna of Saint Vito Focacciaria; Leina Horii and Brian Lea of Kisser; Jake Howell of Peninsula; Audrey’s Colby Rasavong; Pamela Stevenson of Henrietta Red
Presented by S. Pellegrino
Julio Hernández de Maiz De La Vida
Celebrates a chef whose leadership boldly moves the restaurant industry forward, whether through boundary-pushing cuisine, an innovative restaurant format, or a groundbreaking business idea.
Presented by Jade Range
Chad Newton & Gracie Nguyen from You Are Here Hospitality
Bartender Hayley Teague of Hathorne
Recognizes professionals who are deeply connected to the local culinary community, dedicate their time to community outreach, and are ultimately a catalyst for involving members of the culinary community in important initiatives.
Keaton Vasek and Michael Werrell of Audrey, The Continental, Joyland and June
Presented by Beam Suntory
Laura Unterberg of Fox Bar & Cocktail Club; Kenneth Vanhooser of The Wolf and The Optimist
Jon Kearns of The Joseph Nashville
Baker Alyssa Gangeri of Butter Milk Ranch and Urban Grub
Butchers Wesley Adams and Patrick Davidson from Bare Bones Butcher
Brewer Nate Underwood of Harding House Brewing Co.
Sake brewer Byron Stithem of Proper Sake Co.
Presented by Vitamix Commercial
Sean Brock of Audrey, The Continental, Joyland and June
Nashville’s Class of 2022 Rising Stars voted anonymously for a Mentor Award winner. The award is given to a chef who supports and inspires young restaurant professionals in their community.
In a statement, StarChefs Managing Partner Will Blunt said, “Nashville is fertile ground for residents and transplants seeking a better quality of life and more opportunities in the [food and beverage] industry. The steady stream of tourism and economic growth, with its wide array of eager diners and eager palates, means both creative freedom and fuel for an industry that continues to maintain its tightly knit and supportive small-town vibe.
Congratulations to all of the winners and plan to visit their workplace during the two week celebration to congratulate them in person.