Awards season has arrived with the 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, our annual event honoring the best in local food and drink. It's the premiere food celebration, combining nods to top chefs and restaurants with a tasting party featuring sips and bites.
Over the next few weeks, we'll spotlight nominees in all categories of food and beverage, from best bartenders to the best restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth.
We'll honor them at a celebratory party on May 4 from 7-10 pm at The Fashion Industry Gallery, with tastings and an announcement of the winners, voted on by a panel of their food & beverage peers, and emceed by F&B pro Jason Roach. Tickets to the event are already on sale, for $60 to $125 (for VIP), and can be purchased here.
While we count down to the big party, we'll get to know the nominees in an editorial series leading up to the event.
Our first installment profiles the category of Rising Star Chefs. These are the up-and-comers, the chefs who are newly established in their own kitchens or restaurants, or who've made local waves for their food.
Meet the nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year:
Anthony Hsia - Ellie's
Executive chef at fine-dining restaurant at Hall Arts Hotel
Hsia says he began his culinary career "by accident," when he was dining at a friend's restaurant in Germany and jumped into the kitchen after a chef walked out. Before joining Ellie's as executive chef, he helped open the W Taipei, a luxury hotel in Taiwan, and has worked at The Fairmont in San Jose and Singapore, the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, and in the Catering Division for Google Headquarters.
Corrin Ellis - Tango Room
Executive chef at Design District steakhouse from Tim Headington
California native attended Xavier University of Louisiana in pre-med before switching to the food & beverage industry, working for the SBE Hospitality group of Beverly HIlls at concepts such as Cleo, a Mediterranean restaurant at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood. After cooking at The Henry in West Hollywood, she got transferred to do the same for its sibling in Uptown Dallas. She's also punched the clock for Unco (HG Sply Co.) and for the Yardbird Group.
JP Mancha - Poco Fiasco
Executive chef at Italian restaurant from Harwood Hospitality Group
Mancha trained at Cordon Bleu and has worked with acclaimed chefs at restaurants such as Bijoux, Small Brewpub, The Cedars Social, 18th & Vine BBQ, and CT Provisions. He joined Harwood in December 2021 and has served as executive chef at Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar, helped reopen Dolce Riviera in May 2022, and helped launch this pizza concept, inspired by the great pizzerias of Brooklyn. He's also part of the private events team at Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens.
Justin Mosley - Meridian
Executive chef at Brazilian restaurant in The Village
Mosley previously worked with mentor chef and Meridian founder Junior Borges at FT33 and Mirador, and helped revamp the menu at Meridian into its new fixed-price format in the main dining room, featuring a four-course meal in which diners can select three or four choices in each course for $735, with an optional wine pairing for $40.
Kashawn Cruell - Carbone Vino
Chef de cuisine at Italian restaurant from New York-based Major Food Group
A graduate of CUNY New York City College of Technology Hospitality Administration, this New York transplant has been working with chef Mario Carbone at his Major Food Group organization since he was 17, including The Grill, Carbone, Sadelle's, and The Parm (where he got written up by the New York Times), and now Carbone Vino in Dallas. He also helped his fiancee Paige Muller launch Boxed Bites, a charcuterie gift company.
Mike Matis - Fearing's
Chef de cuisine at renowned Ritz-Carlton Dallas restaurant from chef Dean Fearing
A native of Virginia and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Matis worked in the Washington, D.C. restaurant scene before heading overseas to serve as Sous Chef of Conte-Gouts in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also worked at Khong River House in Miami, and was previously executive chef under Chef Stephan Pyles at Stampede 66. At Fearing’s, he launched Fearing’s and Friends, a dinner series bringing in local Dallas chefs for sold-out collaborative dinners.
Mike Stites - Cry Wolf
Chef de cuisine at highly rated East Dallas restaurant from chef/owner Ross Demers
A native of Corpus Christi, Stites gained valuable life experience that included serving in the Army and selling cars before transitioning into the restaurant industry, starting with an externship from Le Cordon Bleu at SER in the Anatole. He's worked in sterling kitchens including Stephan Pyles' Flora Street, Roister in Chicago for Grant Achatz, Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty, Gemma, and Carte Blanche, before landing at Cry Wolf.
Sophia Schoenstedt - Gemma
Chef de cuisine at acclaimed American bistro on Henderson Avenue
Minnesota native was a prodigy, completing an online program with Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Certificate of Culinary Arts while still in high school. She earned an associate's degree at Minnesota State University and graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education Culinary Arts before joining Union Square Hospitality Group, working in New York and Hawaii at restaurants such as Maialino Mare and Marta. She's also a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Health & Wellness coach.
Terance Jenkins - Restaurant Beatrice
Executive chef at Louisiana-inspired restaurant from chef Michelle Carpenter
New Orleans native is a sought-after consultant who started his career making gumbo at the famed Commander's Palace. He was most recently chef/owner of Bon Temps Events in Houston, and has led kitchens at AmberJax, Screen Door, and Cedars Social, as well as tenures at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Rex’s Seafood, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Whole Foods, where he oversaw composting and locavore practices, and is a member of El Centro Food and Hospitality Institute’s Hall of Fame.
Tony Ibarra - The Village - Anise
Executive chef at apartment complex restaurant installation
Ibarra grew up in El Paso, attended Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, and has worked at critical favorites such as Petra and the Beast, FT33, CBD Provisions, Small Brewpub, Proof & Pantry, and Nana.