How do we come up with the list of chefs we'll consider as Next Hot Chefs?
Sometimes it’s a matter of buzz, like the way everyone we knew kept talking up Josh Henderson’s new Bar Noroeste. (Thank you Chef Shannon Martincic, who makes one hell of an eggplant guacamole.)
Other times it’s the quality of the nominations—as when experienced diners and trusted insiders clued us into super-solid kitchens and the folks who make them that way. (Apropos of which, say hello to Trove's Kris Kim.)
And then there are the times it just hits us over the head with the sheer force of duh—as when we happen to be dining at Sushi Kashiba and there at the bar, among Shiro Kashiba’s fleet of 20-year veterans, toils one boyish pro who appears to know as much as they do.
Meet James Saito—who, like our remaining two picks (find out who they are here) enjoys the benefit of apprenticing with a bonafide superstar. This, however, means nothing to a critic unless the proof shows up in the food—which it did. In spades.
In fact, nobody gets to wear the mantle of Next Hot Chef unless we here in Seattle Met’s restaurant critic department have given them a thorough, appropriately anonymous, vetting.
So without further ado...meet the Next Hot Chef Class of 2016. And know how good they must be to earn such a title, in a town as overflowing with young culinary talent as Seattle is.