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Star Chefs is a culinary trade organization that, along with fostering a sense of community among cooking professionals, hands out a well-researched, future-glimpsing awards program called Rising Stars. I’m a huge fan of this program. Unlike more established awards programs that tend to retread year after year, the Rising Stars winners are usually just that. Rising. On the cusp of big things.

I covered the event in 2007 where guys like Michael Anthony, Craig Hopson, Chris Santos, Damon Wise and Akhtar Nawab earned recognition. They also called out Japanese chefs Masato Shimizu and Yosuke Suga (hardly household names, but a big deal to some in that world). Star Chefs is ahead of the curve, that is for sure. And reviewing the below list of winners — who will be feted at a gala  tonight — reveals some familiar names, but others not so. All should be watched. We know the other awards programmers will be. 

Justin Bazdarich Speedy Romeo                                               
Justin Hilbert Gwynnett St.                                                      
Joseph Ogrodnek and Walker Stern Battersby                           
Angelo Romano The Pines                                                      
Dale Talde Talde                                                                     

PJ Calapa Ai Fiori 
Leah Cohen Pig and Khao
Matt Lightner Atera   
Justin Smillie Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
Michael Toscano Perla

Abram Bissell The NoMad      

SUSTAINABILITY CHEF                                                                                         
Evan Hanczor Parish Hall

Ashley Brauze DB Bistro Moderne
Malcolm Livingston II wd~50
Katy Peetz Blanca     

Aurélien Dufour Daniel Boulud Restaurants     
Zachary Golper Bien Cuit                   

Joe Carroll, Fette Sau                                                             

Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman The Meatball Shop      

Noah Bernamoff Mile End Delicatessen

Thomas Pastuszak of The NoMad                                           
Emilie Perrier of Ai Fiori Altamarea Group                

Jeff Bell PDT 
Jillian Vose Death and Co.

Candidates include the head brewers from 508 Restaurant and Bar, Birerria, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, Bronx Brewery, Rockaway Brewing Company and Singlecut Beersmiths.

GUEST CHEF                                                                        
Hillary Sterling The Beatrice Inn

VIP CHEF      
German Calle Petrossian Restaurant New York