Despite this morning's chill, Eater Houston is heating up. In honor of Valentine's Day, we're launching Eater Houston's 2nd Annual Hottest Chef Competition. Unlike previous years, when the voting was spread out over the course of a week, this year the competition will take place over one, action-packed day. 35 reader-nominated chefs will battle it out for the coveted title through hourly polls. By 5:30 p.m., one lucky nominee will be crowned the Hottest Chef in Houston.
Each poll will run for 60 minutes. The two chefs that get the most votes from each round will go on to the semifinals, and the top two from that heat will duke it out for the title of Hottest Chef. That lucky winner will then battle it out with the hot chefs from all of the other Eater cities for the title of Hottest Chef in America. So, national glory is at stake here, people. Make your votes count.
If you want lists of prix-fixe menus or thoughts about which foods are sexy, look elsewhere. Today is all about celebrating hot chefs and having a little fun. Don't worry, if Justin Yu announces that he's leaving Oxheart to open a taco truck, we'll be on that, too. But, in general, the news of the day will return tomorrow, which will forever be known as the day after Hottest Chefs Day. You'll find the full lineup of chefs below.
Round 1: Amanda McGraw, Tiny Boxwoods; Chandler Rothbard, Roots Bistro; Ernesto Villarreal, The Grove; Grant Gordon, Tony's; Monica Pope, Sparrow Bar + Cookshop; Philippe Gaston, Cold Cove Bar; Ryan Hildebrand, Triniti
Round 2: Brandon Young, Moon Tower Inn; Erin Smith, Blacksmith; Gabe Medina, Soma; Jeff Axline, Brooklyn Athletic Club; Matt Marcus, Eatsie Boys; Mercedes Gomez, 1252 Tapas Bar; Philippe Verpiad, Etoile
Round 3: Hugo Ortega, Hugo's; Jamie Zelko, Zelko Bistro; Kaz Edwards, Uchi; Kevin Bryant, Eleven 11; Lisa Carnley, The Cajun Stop; Matt Pak, Koagie Hots; Tyler Malson, Line & Lariat
Round 4: Dagan Lynn, 024 Grille; Jennifer Hill, Katsuya; Joseph Zerwas, Behind the Bash Catering; Lance Fegen, BRC/Liberty Kitchen; Maurizio Ferrares, Quattro; Patricia Alvarez-Burdette, Crescent Moon Wine Bar; Ronnie Killen, Killen's Steakhouse
Round 5: Jay Peek, Gordon Street Tavern (Alvin, TX); Olivier Ciesielski, L'Olivier; Richard Knight, Feast; Ruth Lipsky, Stick It Truck; Stacy Simonson, Chez Nous; Terrence Gallivan, The Pass & Provisions; Travis Lenig, Liberty Kitchen.