Checking In With The Chefs

What do our talented chefs have planned for the upcoming holiday season and beyond? From new projects and well-deserved accolades to mouth-watering recipes, take a look at some of the things that the 2013 AFWF chefs have been cooking up over the past few months.

Shawn Cirkiel
Courtesy of Flickr

Chef and owner of Parkside and Olive & June, Shawn Cirkiel is opening a new restaurant inside the downtown Austin Radisson Hotel and Suites to replace the former TGI Fridays. The restaurant will be representative of Texas and the southwest by featuring cuisine inspired by Cirkiel’s childhood family trips to Northern Mexico. Some of the enticing menu items will include homemade mole, ceviche and fish grilled over Texas oak. Cirkiel expressed his excitement about the project sharing, “it was a very unique situation in a pretty special spot.”


Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki
Courtesy of Twitter

“I just need fire to make things happen,” said open-flame aficionado Rene Ortiz. Since leaving their posts at La Condesa and Sway, both Ortiz and Sawicki have been busy conquering new culinary challenges like large, open-air events and 34 pounds of sweet potatoes. Their future plans are under wraps, one of which includes the mysterious Cochi Superstar.

[Eater Austin]

Sweet Memories from Dark Rye

For Laura Sawicki, inspiration lies in “creating little, beautiful landscapes and works of art with each dish.” In a recent video from Dark Rye, Sawicki explains the many stages of her creative process that help her share what she loves most in the world – cooking.

[Dark Rye]

Marc Murphy
Courtesy of Kingside Gallery

The classic American diner is back in all of its glory. On that note, Marc Murphy has added another hotspot to his growing arsenal of NYC restaurants. This latest venture, Kingside, can be found at the brand new Viceroy Hotel on 57th Street. This trendy joint is characterized by checkerboard floors, red leather stools, tiled walls and a menu full of American staples — with a side of Italian flair.

[Eater New York]

Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan
Courtesy of Facebook

Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of Houston’s The Pass and Provisions were recently honored at the 13th annual Houston Culinary Awards for their contributions to the local culinary scene. They took home awards for both ‘Best New Restaurant’ and ‘Restaurateur of the Year.’ Congrats guys!


Susan Feniger
Courtesy of SAVEUR

Extending their West Coast presence, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken have found a spot in Sin City for their latest Border Grill location. The Mexican restaurant will take over a first floor space in the Forum Shops at Caesars, currently occupied by P.J. Clarke’s. This will be their second Las Vegas location, in addition to two California outposts. Pro tip? The restaurant’s rendition of the Bloody Mary accompanied by cucumber ice cubes can cure even the cruelest Vegas hangover.

[Eater Las Vegas]

Graham Elliot
Courtesy of Instagram

Graham Elliot has had quite the year. He curated Lollapalooza’s Chow Town food court, closed his sandwich chain Grahamwich, and announced a new restaurant in Greenwich, Connecticut. Primary Food & Drink will be Graham’s first non-Chicago restaurant, although plans for projects in both LA and Las Vegas are still brewing. With this new endeavor, Elliot is hoping to create a vibe “comfortable enough that people come back, so it’s more of a late neighborhood spot than a giant destination.”

[The Daily Meal]