The Tastemaker Awards is CultureMap's annual event celebrating the best in local food and drink.
The 2020 version is a little different from years past. We won't be hosting an in-person tasting as we have in prior years. But we're still honoring the best bars, restaurants, and chefs.
The category of Chef of the Year honors those who run the kitchen or own their own restaurants.
Thanks go to our panel of judges, consisting of Tastemaker Award winners and local F&B experts, who narrowed down the list to 10 finalists.
The winners will be announced at our Virtual Awards, taking place on July 30.
Here are our 10 nominees for the 2020 Tastemaker Awards Chef of the Year:
Felipe Armenta - The Tavern, Pacific Table, and Press Cafe
Armenta came from a restaurant family based in San Angelo, but spread his wings, cooking in Los Angeles then Fort Worth, where he opened The Tavern on South Hulen Street in 2011. He has since opened Pacific Table, Press Café at Trailhead in Edwards Ranch, and Cork & Pig Tavern.
Johnnie Hoang - Hoang's Noodle House
Onetime food truck graduated to a storefront operating inside a Shell gas station in North Richland Hills. A former IT professional, Johnnie Hoang serves food you wouldn’t normally see in a gas station restaurant, including fried lobster tail atop garlic noodles; meatball or chicken dry pho; shrimp and beef ribs over jasmine rice; and a salmon salad ladled with raspberry vinaigrette.
Peter Kreidler - Kimbell Art Museum
Kreidler has been at the Kimbell since 2016. Prior to joining the museum, he was chef at Swiss Pastry Shop in Fort Worth. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Kreidler worked at Craft Restaurant in Los Angeles, Boulevard in San Francisco, Neighborhood Services in Dallas, and Clay Pigeon in Fort Worth.
Tim Love - Lonesome Dove, Love Shack, Gemelle
With restaurants spanning the nation from Seattle to Knoxville, Love's roots remain in Texas, where he is chef and owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Queenie's Steakhouse, Gemelle, Atico, and Love Shack, as well as the storied White Elephant Saloon. He's easily Fort Worth's most famous chef and a regular on food television shows.
Stefon Rishel - Wishbone & Flynt
The famously Mohawked Rishel first rose to local fame at Max's Wine Dive, then at Sak's restaurant in Houston and Texas Bleu Steakhouse in Keller before landing at W&F. He's in his element, turning out dishes such his PB&J chicken wings with spicy Thai peanut sauce, and pepperjack Tater Tots with creme fraiche and caviar.
Carlos Rodriguez - Fuego Burger
Rodriguez displayed the art of a burger at his cherished restaurant Salsa Fuego before it closed in 2018. He re-emerged at this gas station at 5595 FM 1187, near the south Fort Worth suburb of Rendon, named for his trademark burger with green chiles. He's also doing tacos, gyros, a fried chicken sandwich, and brisket.
Denise Shavandy - Cafe Modern
Shavandy joined Cafe Modern in 2016, following a career that included eatZi's, Central Market, The Pegsasus, instructor at TSTC Culinary Institute in Abilene; and executive chef at Central Market in Southlake. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she also won on an episode of the Food Network show Chopped.
Richard Triptow - Wicked Butcher
Triptow started his cooking career in Aspen, then came to Dallas to work for The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. He's also worked at the Lakewood Country Club, Mandalay Four Seasons, and as a personal chef for private clients. He joined DRG Concepts in 2014 and oversaw their downtown Dallas restaurants Dallas Fish Market and Dallas Chop House.
Donatella Trotti - Nonna Tata
Donatella Trotti grew up in northern Italy, where she was exposed to great food in a family that cooked. She moved to the U.S. to work for Versace, then opened Nonna Tata restaurant in 2006. She has brought genuine and contemporary Italian cuisine to Fort Worth.
Dayne Weaver - Dayne's Craft Barbecue
Weaver is the owner and pitmaster of Dayne's Craft BBQ, which he built by offering barbecue at monthly pop-ups, which he advertised on social media before opening a permanent spot. He takes a time-consuming, detail-oriented approach in making his barbecue.