Culture Map Tastemaker Awards Hit Dallas

Dallas foodies and cocktail savvy folks united under one roof last week at the Culture Map Tastemaker Awards at The Empire Room. We swung by the event to talk with Alexander Muse and the Culture Map crew about why these awards are so awesome! Oh and we can’t forget the delicious food we tasted or the unique beverages consumed.

So over a margarita I chatted with Mister Muse – who gave me the low-down on all things Tastemaker.

(LZ) What are the Tastemaker Awards?

(AM) The Tastemaker Awards are an annual celebration of the talent in Dallas’ food and drink community, as selected by their peers. Our mission is to shine a spotlight on the people making the city’s restaurant scene special and honor their innovation, energy and creativity. We do these events in Austin and Houston as well – next year we plan to launch nationally.

Most of the categories carry over to the next year; we do add a new category each year as we see fit. For example, this year we had a Best Burger category, although I don’t expect to do that every year.

Are the Tastemaker Awards confined to Dallas?

Although our nominees are primary located in Dallas proper, the celebration extends to the neighboring suburbs and Fort Worth. For example, one of our Restaurant of the Year nominees is in McKinney; one of our Chef of the Year nominees mans a kitchen in Fort Worth. Of course we do these events in Houston and Austin as well. 

Who selects the Tastemaker winners?

The editors select the nominees, and that list is validated by a panel comprising the previous year’s winners and other experts in the restaurant industry. We also select an avid foodie reader to help select the winners. Once the nominees are finalized, we send a ballot to our panel to vote. The only category not determined by the panel is Best New Restaurant. That champ is decided by our readers in an online tournament.

Who are the 2015 Tastemaker Award winners?

Restaurant of the Year: Gemma

Chef of the Year (tie): Graham Dodds, Hibiscus, and Tim Byres, Smoke

Best New Restaurant: Clark Food & Wine Co./C’Viche (these are sister concepts on Greenville Avenue but were represented as one)

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Sarah Snow, The Grape

Best Burger: Off-site Kitchen

Bartender of the Year: Eddie “Lucky” Campbell

Bar of the Year: Parliament

Brewery of the Year: Revolver

Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Cane Rosso

I highly encourage you to go check some of these amazing spots out! 

Lauren Zeien

Lauren spent a year in Chicago's 1871 technology incubator after years climbing the jungle gym of hospitality groups. Lauren's fast paced thinking and lifestyle lead the quick-witted marketer to fulfill the need and turn her attention to propel companies to success - thus creating The Strategy Artists. When not kicking booty with her company you can find her socializing with new people, jogging Katy Trail, cheering her favorite football teams and enjoying all the city has to offer.