May brings the return of the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, in which we celebrate two of the things we love most in this world: food and drink. The annual program honors the top talent in the Austin-San Antonio restaurant and bar industry.
We started the Tastemaker Awards in Austin in 2012. Now, with our expansion into San Antonio, we're toasting the talent in both towns.
Here’s how it works. We collaborated with two panels of experts, including previous Tastemaker Award winners, to come up with a list of nominees in Austin and San Antonio. The panels selected winners in every category, except for Best New Restaurant, which will be determined by you, our trusty readers, in a bracket-style competition in May.
In Austin, those categories include Rising Star Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Chef of the Year, Bartender of the Year, Sommelier of the Year, Bar of the Year, Brewery of the Year, Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year, and Restaurant of the Year. For this inaugural year in San Antonio, we have Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year, in addition to Best New Restaurant.
The best part is that the program culminates in a party on May 17, where we'll honor the nominees and announce the winners for both cities. Of course that includes savoring — like we did last year — tastes from the to-be-announced participants. Tequila Herradura is our presenting sponsor, so there will be tastings and special tequila cocktails mixed by our Bartender of the Year contenders.
This year the event takes place at Bullock Texas State History Museum in the heart of Austin. Celebrity chef Tim Love will serve as emcee for the night, presiding over a short ceremony to bestow honors on the Tastemaker Award winners.
New for 2016, we are offering early admission to anyone willing to pay a wee bit more. That ticket price, to get in 30 minutes early, is $60. General admission is $50, and a special young professionals ticket (35 and under) is $40. (Yes, we will be checking ID’s!) More complete event details can be found here.
So buy your tickets now, and we’ll see you on May 17. Between now and then, we will celebrate all of the nominees in a special editorial series. Stay tuned to learn more about these restaurant and bar superstars.