StarChefs NY Rising Stars: Your Go-To List of Must-Try Food & Drink

If you want to get a taste of New York’s up and coming culinary scene, make StarChefs’ Rising Stars Awards your ultimate guidebook, and their Rising Stars Gala Tasting your must-attend event. Since 2003, the Rising Stars Award has recognized the best emerging chefs, sommeliers, bartenders and artisans across major US cities, and the recently announced New York City list showcases some of NYC’s most diverse, bold and stylish talent.

Rising Stars Award winners in the Game Changer category Chefs Angela Rito and Scott Tacinelli of Don Angie. (Image courtesy StarChefs)

“If opening a New York City restaurant is the ultimate goal, this class of Rising Stars proves it’s possible,” wrote Antoinette Bruno, StarChefs’ Editor-in-Chief, in an email to CulEpi.

With a fierce independent streak and despite the odds, they’re running exciting, soulful restaurants on their own terms. ~ Antoinette Bruno, StarChefs

One of those exciting restaurants is Win Son, serving Taiwanese-American fare lead by Chef Trigg Brown who told CulEpi, “We have an incredible team of good people at Win Son so it really just makes me proud to be partnered with Josh Ku and to be working with folks like Jesse Shapell, Erica Hall, Calvin Eng, and Monique Alden, along with all the other BOH and FOH team members.”

Win Son’s BK Egg Bomb, made with Wagyu tartare, scallion pancake, oyster sauce, shiitake powder and egg. (Image courtesy StarChefs)

Winning a rising star award is a humbling reminder to keep my head down and continue working hard. ~ Chef Trigg Brown of Win Son in NYC

Included in the list is my own boss, Simone Tong, chef and owner of Little Tong Noodle Shop, much to the excitement of myself and our coworkers! I’ve seen for myself how hard Chef Tong and the rest of these professionals work – the long hours, the tough decisions, the careful fine-tuning of every little detail. The winners certainly deserve the recognition and get a promising sign of what’s to come in their careers.

Little Tong’s Gilded Chicken Dumplings with truffle chicken broth, royal trumpet mushrooms and arugula. (Image courtesy StarChefs)

“I’m honored and very happy,” Tong told me when I asked how she felt about her award.

I hope that this will bring more people to try our food so we can give them happy memories. That really is the goal, otherwise my work doesn’t mean as much. ~ Chef Simone Tong of Little Tong in NYC

StarChefs will host a tasting gala and awards ceremony at Capitale on February 19th, where the winners will present the hungry and thirsty crowd with their most noteworthy dishes and drinks. Tickets start at $100 and a portion of proceeds will be donated to Careers Through Culinary Arts Programs.

Full List of 2019 New York Rising Star Award Winners


Eric Bolyard – Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Trigg Brown – Win Son

Matt Conroy – Oxomoco

Chintan Pandaya – Adda

Nico Russell – Oxalis

TJ Steele – Claro

Simone Tong – Little Tong Noodle Shop

Justin Skribner – Benno

A pairing by Chef Eric Bolyard and Somm Caleb Ganzer at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels: fingerling potatoes, egg yolk vinaigrette and bottarga breadcrumbs paired with Catarratto, Porta del Vento, Sicily, Italy, 2017. (Image courtesy StarChefs)

Pastry Chefs

Isabel Coss – Cosme

Eunji Lee – Jungsik

Manuela Sanin – Eleven Madison Park

Pastry Chef Manuela Sanin at work at Eleven Madison Park. (Image courtesy StarChefs)

Hotel Chef

Mike Reilly – The NoMad

Community Chef

Mavis-Jay Sanders – Brownsville Community Culinary Center

The Brownsville Community Culinary Center kitchen team, including Rising Stars winner Mavis-Jay Sanders. (Image courtesy StarChefs)

Concept Chef

Lucas Sin – Junzi Kitchen

Game Changer

Angie Rito & Scott Tacinelli – Don Angie


Max Blachman-Gentile – Café Standard

Joey Pepper – Folksbier Brauerei

Sahra Nguyen – Nguyen Coffee Supply

Poppy-Sesame Miche by Baker Max Blachman-Gentile of Café Standard. (Image courtesy StarChefs)


Caleb Ganzer – Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Natalie Johnson – Loring Place

Guest Sommelier

Gabriella Davogustto – Clay

The Aztec Negroni by Stacey Swenson of Dante, including Montelobos Mezcal, Campari, Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Rubino and Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao. (Image courtesy StarChefs)


Aidan Bowie – The Office

Stacey Swenson – Dante


Sean Feeney – Misi & Lilia

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