The list honors up-and-coming chefs and culinary professionals who represent the vanguard of the city’s contemporary dining scene.
According to StarChefs’ website, all Rising Stars have fewer than 10 years of experience in the culinary industry and are under the age of 40. Additionally, they are nominated by the StarChefs Advisory Board – which is made up of acclaimed chefs – as well as previous Rising Stars Award Winners, the Starchefs team and local food media.
The organization has recognized up-and-coming industry professionals in four select markets each year since 2003, and Atlanta was last featured in 2012. Featuring 23 chefs and restaurant professionals, the list includes eateries of all sorts, from traditional restaurants to bakeries to coffee shops.
“Dining in the South is in beautiful flux, and bustling, international Atlanta is at the center of that change,” the website says. “The chefs and tastemakers pushing forward this city of 5.7 million are grafting their own heritage and style onto Southern ingredients and traditions—whether it’s a funky-fresh Thai salad made with sweet Georgia peppers, French pastry that substitutes pecans for almonds, or boiled peanuts making appearances in conceptual fine dining.”
Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate was honored the quality and attention to detail that the owners, Atlanta locals Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt, pay to their products. The couple runs their business in Krog Street Market, where they produce their own chocolate bars using only cacao and organic cane sugar.
Another Atlanta-based business, East Pole Coffee Co., earned recognition for its business model as a roastery and coffee bar combined with a barista training center. Jared Karr opened the brick-and-mortar store in 2017 between Buckhead and Midtown, but now offers coffee for wholesale and nationwide delivery.
Other featured restaurants include La Calavera Bakery in Decatur, The General Muir in Atlanta and several others.
According to StarChefs, these restaurants all represent a growing food scene within the city.
“The Atlanta restaurant community is not only adapting and affecting change, it’s leading the way,” the site said. “Chefs are feeding new neighborhoods, the concept restaurant is evolving, and restaurant groups—big and small—are growing gangbusters, all in the name of better food and drinks for their city.”