This month, StarChefs wrapped up the year with its final Rising Stars awards in the home of culinary camaraderie: Austin, Texas. Our team flew south to celebrate the most inventive, dedicated, and community-driven chefs, restaurateurs, bakers, and beverage professionals of San Antonio and Austin. The chefs of ATX are hustling hard to Keep Austin Weird—in a good way.

The week’s events were electric. We started our tour of the town catching up with Rising Star Winner Chef Michael Fojtasek at Olamaie, one of the best spots in Austin for traditional Southern cuisine, delicious cocktails, and an upscale vibe. His Boiled Peanuts dish is divine, and it truly pops on a bright white plate (we’d love to see it on Ting by Figgjo).

It wouldn’t be a satisfying trip to Austin without visiting our customers, so we headed over to Uchiko for dinner. We indulged in our body weight’s worth of sashimi and crudo as we Oooh and Aaah’d at the beautiful Steelite Craft presentation on the tabletop.

The Honorees Dinner that evening was a special event, where the mentors of the Rising Star winners cooked some of their favorite dishes al fresco at Contigo. We were particularly taken by co-owner Andrew Wiseheart’s “Iberico Two Ways” – paired perfectly on Steelite’s Anfora Crete Tray.

We kicked off Day Two visiting local ceramicist Keith Kreeger at his studio. There is something truly mesmerizing about watching a plate being formed on a potter’s wheel – we may have overstayed our welcome, but we left rejuvenated with fresh ideas for our clients. Stay tuned for more news on LMT’s exclusive partnership with KK in 2018!

That night, the main Gala event was spectacular. Kevin Fink and Page Pressley of Emmer & Rye served up their White Sonora Cascarelli, shown below on Kreeger’s original Gramercy line. We could have had ten bowls if this didn’t happen to be a food show.

We celebrated Rising Star Restaurateur Chad Carey of Empty Stomach Restaurant Group in San Antonio, who has a funky eye for design and a passion for dinner-and-drink-ware that matches ours (check out the frozen daiquiri, for example, at Hot Joy below). Fred Bonaccorso, President, joined us to present Chad with The Restaurateur Award.

Thank you Austin and San Antonio for sharing your best talent with us at StarChefs this month. What an honor it was to celebrate these up-and-coming industry leaders! We can’t wait for 2018.

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