National food publication Food & Wine released its 2019 list of "Best New Chefs," and one, just one, Texas chef made the list: Dallas' own Misti Norris, owner of acclaimed restaurant Petra & the Beast.
The magazine issues the list once a year, to honor the field's rising stars. This year's list includes 10 chefs from around the country, from Seattle to Puerto Rico, and not really everywhere in between.
"Consider the chefs we celebrate here the culmination of this decade of radical change," the introduction says.
"This is what food looks like right now at the edge of a decade of transformation in American restaurants," the magazine says. "An age in which fine dining loosened up; in which the food world recognized the limitations of a Eurocentric culture and came to understand what it was missing without kimchi and nam prik and jerk; in which critics wondered, blindly, where all the women and people of color were hiding, then found them in plain sight, aprons knotted, heads down, sometimes twice as good but half as seen."
Oooh a dig against the critics. Bold move, Food & Wine.
As for Norris, they applaud her "digging into her ancestral archives to perfect her Cajun charcuterie, and then—why not?—choosing to throw wildflowers into the curing liquid, like Ophelia with a meat grinder."
The magazine approves of her "farm, forage, fermentation, fire"' ethos, which they say was "honed in kitchens like Anthony Bombaci's Nana, Matt McCallister's FT33, and David Uygur's Lucia," where she learned the basics of whole-animal butchery, before touting her fried chicken feet with beets, pork tongue ragù with "perfect mafaldine noodles," and her charcuterie, which they say is worthy of a special trip.
"Our charcuterie is a bit out there," Norris tells them, who dedicates about 85 percent of every local hog that comes in to her charcuterie experiments. "I'll cure meat with teas made with wild greens and flowers. It’s about pushing my boundaries and teaching myself through trial and error."
Norris is having her moment. Is it a coincidence she was nominated as a Rising Star Chef in CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards way back in 2015? Or that she's nominated for Best Chef in the 2019 Tastemaker Awards? Food & Wine, we see you.
Norris is not only the only Dallas chef to make the list, she's the only chef in Texas. Prior Best New Chefs from Texas include McCallister, Austin chef Paul Qui, and Houston chef Justin Yu, who all made the cut in 2014; and Austin chefs Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas, who were on the list in 2015.