This year’s Eater Young Guns semifinalists are here. Among the long list of the country’s 50 best up-and-comers in the food and drink worlds across the country, there are two Austin names: Foreign & Domestic’s co-owner and co-chef Sarah Heard, and McGuire Moorman Hospitality’s executive pastry chef Ashley Ginsberg. This is Heard’s second semifinalist nomination, and Ginsberg’s first.
Numerous colleagues and friends nominated the 29-year-old Heard because of her passion and commitment to food and women in the industry. One wrote in their nomination:
Sarah is a dedicated hard working chef, first of all, and second, the biggest supporter of other female chefs. [...] She’s so organized and thoughtful in everything that she does even while being in the weeds. Sarah taught me a lot of things that I apply in my own career. Sarah’s ego is nonexistent, and that’s something to be said for this generation of chefs. I couldn’t have more respect for her.
Ginsberg started off in the pastry department for Vietnamese restaurant and French bakery Elizabeth Street Cafe two years ago. The 28-year-old chef was then promoted to executive pastry chef, also overseeing the pastries for the rest of the McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group’s restaurants: fine dining Jeffrey’s, stylish cafe Josephine House, barbecue restaurant Lamberts, seafood spots Perla’s and Clark’s, wine bar June’s All Day, and tiki burger spot Pool Burger. Her culinary resume includes L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas and A Voce in New York City.
Heard was last nominated during her work at Suzanne Court Catering, and she’s come a long way since then. She and her partner purchased North Loop restaurant Foreign & Domestic from founder Ned Elliott last fall. She also worked as the executive sous chef at The Mansion at Judges Hill (it’s now Hotel Ella), Parkside, Olive & June, La Condesa, and others.
Also nominated this year are San Antonio chefs Alexana Cabrera and Cassie Ramsey of Mixtli, who are the chef de partie and sous chef respectively. The restaurant’s co-owner and co-chef Diego Galicia said that Cabrera exhibits “a passion for spreading Latin cuisines that she has proudly shown to guests each night.” Of Ramsey, he wrote that she is “leading the culinary edge of San Antonio while exploring the rich history and heritage of traditional Mexican cuisine.
For Young Gun consideration, all nominees have to be under the age of 30 years old or have worked in the industry for less than five years. This year’s Eater Young Guns judging committee included chef Callie Speer of Holy Roller. The finalists will be announced in June.
While last year’s class didn’t include an Austin name, San Antonio pitmaster Laura Loomis was named a Young Gun finalist in 2017. Previous Austin Young Gun finalists include former Barley Swine/Odd Duck executive pastry chef Susana Querejazu, beverage director of now-no-longer-restaurant Qui Rachel Delrocco, and Bufalina’s Steven Dilley,